Access in Praxis

Who are we?

We are a team of three Deaf and/or disabled youth who all also identify as either queer and/or trans. Two of us identify as people of colour, none of us identify as Indigenous. All three of us are currently students in school.

Our project and our objectives:

Our project was to organize and host a conference on accessibility, disability justice, and anti-ableism. Our main objective was to bring together the wider Montreal community to learn and share how to meaningfully practice anti-ableism in our lives. I wanted to achieve this by bringing in folks who could either speak to their own experiences, help guide workshops, or deliver presentations on the themes of the conference to help illustrate the ways that accessibility can be put into practice.

Why did we feel that this project was important for Montreal’s queer and trans youth community?:

As a person who identifies as someone with a disability, I am motivated to work on this project because it’s my life and it’s the life of the team members. It’s important to us because it’s about our everyday experiences in our lives and about the realities of how ableism interacts with us and affects us constantly. In discussions around anti-oppression the list often goes something like this: people of colour, queer and trans people, and people with disabilities; always something like that with commas separating them. This conference intends to do justice to everything that the list model can’t, which is to say that we want to create a space where disabled queer and trans people are heard and supported.

 

What did we do with the money?

The money was used to pay Seeley Quest, an LGBTQ identified speaker. Seeley was given an honorarium for sie’s presentation called “Supporting Quality of Life for Disabled People: Embracing Equity and Interdependent Humanity.” We also received $100 which was used to buy two $50 gift cards to the metro grocery store. These gift cards were given out as random raffle prizes to folks who attended the conference.

Our project process:

The project began before JQY funding was secured and what that looked like was a lot of planning and designing to ensure that everything about the conference could be as accessible as possible.

What we learned from doing our project that we’d like to share with you:

One of the most important things we would like folks to take away from this conference is that the idea of a completely 100% accessible event for everyone is impossible. The reason why it is impossible to make something absolutely universally accessible is because there are access needs which can conflict with one another. I think this is something very important to keep in mind because, ultimately, if future projects become held up on the idea that an event should be perfectly accessible, an event will never happen. I want to draw a comparison to theories around “safer” spaces versus a “safe” space. I think that when we think about accessible events, we need to think about an ongoing and dynamic process which needs to be flexible to shift and grow. While we can never guarantee a perfectly accessible space, it is the responsibility of people doing meaningful anti-ableism work to constantly be working at improving and adapting services to be as accessible as they possible can in the moment.

What we learned from doing our project that we’d like to share with you:

Please see above.

What we’d like other youth to know about our experience with JQY:

We’d like other youth to know that JQY is a great experience to take part in and had totally been worth it to work with them to help realize our project!

How to reach us:

You can find us on Facebook or Instagram @AccessXPraxis or send us an email at accessinpraxis@gmail.com

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