INACCESSIBILITY — AN UNFILTERED RANT

I am here for a quick moment, not with a pre-planned, edited post, all nice and filtered to give me a better chance at being listened to. I am not here to offer any deep thoughts or new ideas or suggestions to be a better ally.

I am here to ask one question, and one question alone.

IS IT TOO MUCH TO ASK TO MAKE YOUR WEBSITE ACCESSIBLE IN 2022?

I HAVE planned to do a full, detailed post on one particular organization’s 1: lack of accessibility, and 2: inability to use disabled characters as anything other than inspiration symbols or pity figures, but this is not that post. It DOES however, deal with this organization, and their updated app/website experience.

It’s set to launch on July 18, 2022, but as an exclusive member, I’ve been granted early access. And while I’ve watched all other members loving and raving about the new update, I’ve been up late, almost in tears with my husband over the simple fact that I can’t access it. Their website probably looks great… visually. But it is utter h*ll for blind users, navigating it with a screenreader. Its features are probably so helpful and more detailed to give a better insight into the content… but I wouldn’t know.

I can’t access it.

And after the many months they’ve spent promoting the upcoming, updated experience, I’ve been wondering, “will it be accessible?”

I think I have my answer. I’m remaining slightly hopeful that the official launch will bring about some remnant of accessibility, but since I’ve had access [no pun intended] to the early preview, I highly doubt it.

It infuriates me. It makes me sad. It makes me want to scream, and cry, and wonder how, in 2022, they can produce content that uses disabled people for their inspiration and pity tropes, and not even consider accessibility so that their real-life, flesh-and-blood disabled fans can access that very content.

Are we not worth it?

Okay, I think that was two questions. And I will end with a third, one that I don’t have an answer to at the moment, but maybe someone will share their perspective with me. Here goes:

At what point does someone stop supporting a beloved cause to stand up for their belief and passion in equality and accessibility?

AN OPEN LETTER TO GOD AND MY GUIDE DOG

To God and my guide dog, Saint:

Both of you know something that I want to know. But neither of you can tell me.

Well, I know You can tell me God, but I also know You don’t often spell things out for us that easily, so I’m going to wager that You’ll be keeping pretty quiet on this one. But You really don’t have to. And as much as I wish more than anything for a Narnian reality in which animals can talk, I also know you, Saint, cannot tell me what I so desperately want to know either.

And what is this thing, you ask?

It’s purpose. Specifically, my purpose.

Saint, you’ve known your purpose since you were born. From conception, you’ve been destined for a life of great meaning: to learn to lead a blind person throughout a world that is not built to accommodate them. It is one of the greatest blessings I have received and I am eternally thankful that you, my sweet boy, have this purpose and live it out daily for me. Because of you, I feel safe, confident, independent and loved.

You know your purpose. When the harness goes on, you switch into guide dog mode. Your ears perk, your tail wags, and at a brief “Saint, forward,” you take off like a rocket, all while keeping me from tripping on the slightest bump in the road. Your purpose is clear. It amazes me that as a newborn puppy and now as a three-year-old, you know your life’s purpose beyond the shadow of a doubt.

And I don’t know mine.

Now, over to You for a minute, God. Feel free to chime in anytime.

I know You know what Your purpose is, and I know You know what mine is. But before I beg You to let me in on the secret, I have two thoughts.

Firstly, as a Christian, I know and believe that my purpose is to serve and bring glory to You. Okay, great! That’s… clear as mud. Wait a minute: glorifying God and serving Him sounds wonderful (and it is), but how in the world do I do that?

Do I have to do something specific? Is there a list of “God-glorifying” jobs You can email me to make it easier? Because I’m kind of drawing a blank here.

Now, this second one is just a thought, but I have a sneaking suspicion I’m on the right track. I wonder if my purpose has something to do with writing.

But what kind of writing? Am I meant to write books? Poetry? Radio dramas? Commercials? And what do I write about? Is my purpose to advocate for disability equality and accessibility? I’m already doing that, or trying to on this blog, so, well, I’m not sure. Do I need to write Christian books and work to tell people about You? Can I do both?

Maybe it doesn’t involve writing at all. Or maybe, writing is a way to bring glory to You. That could be possible, right? Or, maybe my purpose is something that I haven’t even thought about at all!

Seriously God, anytime now.

I just don’t understand it. How does a yellow lab know his life’s purpose and me, a woman with faith, a university degree, a blog, a family and boatloads of passion, don’t know my purpose? Will I ever know? Or will I have a moment like Saul on the road to Damascus when You appeared to him in a bright light and changed the course of his life forever? The only bright lights I have are in the light switches by the door, and I can’t even see those.

Can you help me out a little? I want to glorify You, I do. But how? Is this blog enough? Is it even worth it? Should I be doing something else?

I have too many questions, but they can all be rolled up like a tortilla into one, overarching question that I want to scream (but I can’t since the neighbours will hear):

What is my purpose?

I just hope I have one…

But until You show me something else, I guess I’ll continue along this path and hope that You’re doing something with it.

That’s all I got, God. Anything to add?

All right, then. Talk to you soon. And Saint, yes, I’ll give you a belly rub.

Love,
Rhianna