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Toilets, toilets, and toilets.

SpendingSpoonsSpendingSpoons Posts: 16Member Connected

Hello, my name is Sarah, I’m 31 and I’ve just joined the forum. I have a variety of chronic health issues including fibromyalgia, arthritis and dissociative seizure disorder as well as depression and anxiety (it’s quite a list – I know). I’ve joined today in the hope that some of you may be interested in helping me with my dissertation project.

I am a third year anthropology student at Goldsmith’s College, University of London and I’m interested to know what people’s experiences are of using disabled toilets. As someone with so called invisible disabilities (they are not very invisible to me!) I struggle using disabled toilets at times for fear of being questioned about whether I should be using the space.

My dissertation is examining how bodies become judged by others when those bodies enter disabled spaces such as public toilets. I want to argue that societal attitudes about disabled bodies create contested spaces where people become questioned over their bodies not fitting with the ‘image’ of disability. It’s a topic I am very passionate about and I am getting lots of exciting feedback from the university as this seems to be something no one has written about before.

If anyone would be interested in telling me about their experiences, whether you are disabled, a parent, a carer; please feel free to reply to me. I will not use ANY information in this thread or anywhere else on the forum without your express permission – If anyone wants to chat about any issues they’ve faced when using disabled public toilets but not want to have their words used in my project; that is absolutely fine – I would like this to be a helpful project for everyone, it’s not just about my work.

I can also chat to people in private either via email or in person if you’re in the [removed by moderator]? I know it can get a bit personal talking about toilets and I don’t want to make anyone embarrassed or uncomfortable.

I’m happy to chat about toilets if you are =) Just call me the toilet lady!

Toilets Toilets Toilets! Tell me all your toilet stories =)

Contact: [removed by moderator]





Replies

  • Deb_ScopeDeb_Scope Posts: 170Administrator Scope community team
    edited February 24
    @SpendingSpoons Welcome to our community.

    We hope that our community talks to you about their toilet experiences, but we will have to remove your email address.

    Our community guidelines, which you can read https://www.scope.org.uk/online-community-guidelines here, don't allow personal emails unless there is an official approach for your research.  We have also moved your conversation to the events, research as it would appear you are interested in seeking information.

    We hope you enjoy the community.

    Kind regards
    Debbie
    Debbie
    Online Community Manager
  • SpendingSpoonsSpendingSpoons Posts: 16Member Connected
    Thank you for the clarification and apologies for not following the guideline properly - I will make sure I do this in the furture.

    Best Wishes,
    Sarah
  • Ami2301Ami2301 Posts: 5,271Community champion Disability Gamechanger
    I have to mention one disabled toilet in particular, in the local mall I have used 2 different types of disabled toilets. One was a standard with the required adoptions but the second one, ohmygod! I have never been so impressed in my life! There was so much space, the required adaptions and....an adult sized table to be changed on, a self standing hoist and a ceiling hoist!  Extremely impressed!
    You're a fighter. Look at everything you've overcome. Don't give up now!
  • SpendingSpoonsSpendingSpoons Posts: 16Member Connected
    edited February 24
    Yes, I have noticed that not all disabled loos are created equal. Can I ask, have you ever felt judged by others for using disabled toilets? As if people are questioning whether you should be using them?
  • Ami2301Ami2301 Posts: 5,271Community champion Disability Gamechanger
    Nobody has ever questioned me, I am a wheelchair user and everywhere I go I always take my walking frame
    You're a fighter. Look at everything you've overcome. Don't give up now!
  • SpendingSpoonsSpendingSpoons Posts: 16Member Connected
    So would you say that for you, your experience of disabled toilets is based much more on whether they are accessible and the standard of functionality?
  • Ami2301Ami2301 Posts: 5,271Community champion Disability Gamechanger
    Definitely
    You're a fighter. Look at everything you've overcome. Don't give up now!
  • SpendingSpoonsSpendingSpoons Posts: 16Member Connected
    I'm learning more and more that accessability is a bit of an illusion... its almost like on the surface thses facilities seem suitable and therefore people think the issue becomes solved once a toilet is built. But many many toilets do not meet the needs of many and are in fact more disabling.

    I'm reading a theory by a disability historian who believes that the more 'inclusion' and 'accessability' is thought to have been achieved by society, the more excluding it is. He believes that by including disabled people what you are actually doing is asking them to meet a 'norm' or standard and when a disabled person asks for inclusion they are saying they want to be 'normal' - when in fact there is no such thing as 'normal'. He argues that disability needs to be seen as a natural part of human nature, not something that needs to be 'included' - because it already exists, separate from different bodily experiences.

    I'm just curious. Would you agree with that?
  • TraceyFalconTraceyFalcon Posts: 24Member Courageous
    Hi @SpendingSpoons have you finished your dissertation now? Ive only just come across this and as a newly disabled person have lots of thoughts about disabled loos!!
  • SpendingSpoonsSpendingSpoons Posts: 16Member Connected
    Hi @TraceyFalcon, I'm almost done with the research side of my dissertation but would love to include your thoughts before I complete it.

    I'm really interested in people's experiences of using disabled loos - good or bad. I'm interested in attitudes towards disabled bodies and what happens when those who have disabilities use disabled spaces such as toilets.

    Please feel free to message me privately if you would prefer that or simply reply to this thread. I'm really looking forward to hearing your thoughts 😊
  • April2018momApril2018mom Posts: 1,660Member Disability Gamechanger
    Can I message you?
  • TraceyFalconTraceyFalcon Posts: 24Member Courageous
    @SpendingSpoons not sure I know how to message you?

  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Posts: 2,984Administrator Scope community team
    Hi @TraceyFalcon, near the top of your screen (the location is on the left if you're using a mobile device and the right on PC etc), there are four little icons. If you press the second one along, next to the globe, there should be an option for 'new message'.. From there just enter the username of the person you're trying to PM. 
    I hope that helps. :)
    Senior Online Community Officer
    Scope
  • TraceyFalconTraceyFalcon Posts: 24Member Courageous
    I'm learning more and more that accessability is a bit of an illusion... its almost like on the surface thses facilities seem suitable and therefore people think the issue becomes solved once a toilet is built. But many many toilets do not meet the needs of many and are in fact more disabling.

    I'm reading a theory by a disability historian who believes that the more 'inclusion' and 'accessability' is thought to have been achieved by society, the more excluding it is. He believes that by including disabled people what you are actually doing is asking them to meet a 'norm' or standard and when a disabled person asks for inclusion they are saying they want to be 'normal' - when in fact there is no such thing as 'normal'. He argues that disability needs to be seen as a natural part of human nature, not something that needs to be 'included' - because it already exists, separate from different bodily experiences.

    I'm just curious. Would you agree with that?
    I would absolutely agree with that. Inclusion means that there is a nod towards a provision for a 'standard' model of disability. Since I have become differently abled I feel like I am a spectacle. I am stared at constantly, particularly when using buses as I cause a fuss to get in and out - the space is soooo tight, and then I am in a position where I face the rest of the passengers. It feels like a performance.
    Disabled loos seem to have been designed for a person plus a companion who can hold open doors etc. Once in them, I find myself facing forward and wondering whether I can do a 39 point turn in order to be able to lock the door behind me. Staggering via wobbly handrails to the loo is OK if the floor isn't slippery or wet. Sometimes it's possible to wash my hands from the loo but the dryers are often positioned a long way from the sink, meaning I have to climb or lean or drape myself over the wheelchair to reach it! Then the fun of how to get out. Remember the chair is still facing forward. I had done a 36 - not as bad as I anticipated - point turn to lock it but then had to do the same in reverse to get to the loo. Now I have to do another 36 point shunt to get to an angle where I can unlock the door. I can't push the door open. Its too heavy and will just swing back. So I have to reverse out of the loo, unable to see what's there, and shove the door open with the back of the chair. And don't ask about the British Library loo that completely stumped me. I opened the first door with the footrest and managed to squeeze myself in, only to find that there was another door next to this minute chamber which led to the toilet. Impossible.During one hospital stay I used a toilet when I used crutches. I had to hold the door open with my head so that I could hop in, as my hands were occupied wit the crutches. The whole procedure is exhausting and if you are with a friend it can be embarrassing because of the length of time it takes. I always come out flustered so often try not to go.
    Back to the quote. We are all different. Left handed people were forced to use their right hand, dreamy creative children are punished at school - schools are designed for a very narrow sector of society and reinforce the idea that children are failures. As a society there are many other examples. There is no norm, just that which we are shown to be perfect through advertising.
  • TraceyFalconTraceyFalcon Posts: 24Member Courageous
    Hi @TraceyFalcon, near the top of your screen (the location is on the left if you're using a mobile device and the right on PC etc), there are four little icons. If you press the second one along, next to the globe, there should be an option for 'new message'.. From there just enter the username of the person you're trying to PM. 
    I hope that helps. :)
    @Adrian_Scope Thank you. I have found it. Had a little rant on here instead though!

  • SpendingSpoonsSpendingSpoons Posts: 16Member Connected
    @April2018mom yes, of course 😊 please feel free to message me.
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Posts: 2,984Administrator Scope community team
    @Adrian_Scope Thank you. I have found it. Had a little rant on here instead though!

    Not ranty at all, a really valid insight! Thanks for sharing @TraceyFalcon
    Senior Online Community Officer
    Scope
  • SpendingSpoonsSpendingSpoons Posts: 16Member Connected
    @TraceyFalcon not ranty at all, very interesting and insightful.

    I'm curious about what you said about it being a performance. I've spoken to a few people who have also said that they have to 'perform' the disability more. Meaning they have to make their actions more obvious to others so as to not raise suspicions when they use disabled loos. Is this something you have found?

    For instance I myself occasionally use crutches but not always. When I use disabled loos with the crutches I feel the performance has been satisfied and people will not raise an eye. But if I am without crutches but still need to use the disabled space I feel I have to be ready to 'perform' or explain my reasons.
  • TraceyFalconTraceyFalcon Posts: 24Member Courageous
    I use a wheelchair so I have the costume already which satisfies some of the audience! I get stared at  often and the difficulties I face in travelling and shopping - going about every day activities - mean that I am often a spectacle as I invariably have to involve strangers in these tasks. 'Please could you reach that for me.... please could you put that in the bag at the back?... ooops sorry ..... thank you (for stepping aside so there's room for me).  etc.  Sometimes there are unavoidable performances and that is, in particular, on buses where you are forced to sit facing all other passengers. I definitely don't feel the need to actively perform my disability more, just 'being' has become the performance.
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