In Which Other People Really Want to Help Me

Downtown Minneapolis, where the corporations live, is a strange place. If you looked at the streets and skyways at a typical rush hour or lunchtime, you would have no idea that Minneapolis is only …

Source: In Which Other People Really Want to Help Me


WisCon’s access expenditures

WisCon is a non-profit venture and our funds come from memberships.  So I think it’s appropriate to publish where the money goes, at least for my part.

I also see people decrying that access is too expensive for their event.  It may be cheaper than you think, at least in some areas.

The following are my best estimates although I’m not a finance person.

Print job for interaction badges:  83.08.  We cut them up ourselves and the graphic design was donated.
(I got 500 of each color and yet somehow we ran out of yellow and had to print more of those at registration).
500 paperclips for the badges 6.32
Food for disability lounge: 50.63
Blue tape: Zero dollars since we used leftovers from last year
Total supplies = 140.03

Captioning:  $1000 came from a service fund from the Office for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing from the State of Wisconsin, for which I am very grateful.  We spent an additional $2000 paying our excellent captionist and her assistant for the weekend.

SF3 (our governing body) also purchased a ramp as a long-term investment for our convention.  I do not know how much this cost and am not including it here; it shoud be a once-in-a-long-time expenditure and not part of a yearly budget.

Some expenditures such as signs and consuite contribute to access, while serving other functions, but they are not a part of our department. Access can be everywhere!  I shall attempt to keep focused.

If our budget is roughly $45,000 (~900 people times a 50 dollar membership –this is just a guess), then the total access expenditures listed above amount to about 4.8% of the total budget.

2,140 / 45,000  x 100 = 4.8

Put another way, this is about $2.40 out of your 50 dollar membership fee.

.048 x 50 = 2.4

Please correct me if I am wrong!  I will edit and fix!




Spoon Theory as a Deficit Model

Thanks to Gregg Beratan on Twitter for this idea.

Spoon Theory is useful to many people as a measure of energy and fatigue. It is difficult to wrap your head around what chronic pain, fatigue, and illness are actually like, and I say this as someone who has them. We all tend to normalize our experiences and we think that everyone around us must feel like we do– and yet other people are somehow accomplishing more. So spoon theory is helpful in validating our fatigue and providing the phrase “out of spoons”.

Yet a limitation of this theory is that it’s a deficit model: It assumes that something is wrong with us, rather than something being wrong with society.

Instead of saying “I’m out of spoons,” try saying “The world needs to give me more time to rest” or “Accommodations for my fatigue will help me accomplish this task.”

The deficit model is the dominant narrative of illness. And it can be seductive: it feels like there is something wrong with me. But the social model of disability states that it is society that disables us– that it is moral and normal to need more time and more support and more rest.

An Apology

At WisCon’s opening ceremonies I attempted to give an “elevator talk” (2 to 3 minutes) describing the social model of disability.

The metaphor I used was eye glasses and contact lenses: many of us wear corrective lenses and do not consider them to be a marker of disability. While impairment exists in my vision, my eyesight is not disabling because society does not make it so. It is relatively easy to acquire corrective lenses in most cases, because both brick-and-mortar stores and online stores supply them, and because doctors and community members encourage you to use them. There is wide support for these pieces of assistive tech in the society I live in, and they are mostly non-stigmatized, with some exceptions such as very thick lenses.

I contrasted corrective lenses to wheelchairs, which are highly stigmatized. Doctors and community members will generally not encourage you to use them; they are expensive and difficult to acquire; difficult to fix when broken; and infrastructure in our society does not support them, unlike corrective lenses.

A WisCon member pointed out to me later that I missed an intersection having to do with race: Glasses are designed for white people. People with flatter features (for instance some Asian people) can have a lot of trouble getting glasses that fit correctly, as glasses tend to rest on a prominent nose.

I completely missed this intersection of oppression and I apologize for causing pain. I will be more mindful in the future.