I declare war on the disabled toilet. My weapon of choice – a walking stick. Let us create an army of people to rise up and fight against the protocol of keeping the disabled toilet locked!
More often than not I need to use the disabled toilet. Often the standard toilets are up stairs, which are my arch nemesis. Crawling up stairs on hands and knees up to the toilet just isn’t an option in the middle of a pub. It is a well known phenomenon that women go to the toilets in groups or at least pairs. They then spend at least 10 minutes whilst there taking group selfies by the mirror. As strange as that may sound to some of you it’s a lot of fun. Missing out on that is one of the less impactful results of fibro but still annoying nevertheless. It’s just another way fibro makes me feel less normal.
However that isn’t the point of this post. Yesterday when trying to open the door to the disabled toilet I found it to be locked. At first I assumed someone was in there so I waited a moment before I realised it wasn’t engaged, just locked. Then I read the sign explaining I had to go to the bar to ask for the key. This seems to be the norm for many establishments. Like a child in school, if you’re disabled you have to ask permission to use the bathroom. Luckily for me a member of staff noticed me before I had to take a rather long and complicated walk to the bar. He knocked on the door first then explained that he had opened the door previously to find someone was already in there, undoubtedly hugely embarrassing for both parties involved.
I understand why the key must be able to override the internal lock. One of the main purposes of the disabled toilet is that it is safe, accessible and if something happens such as a fall, a member of staff will be able to help you. Wouldn’t it just make sense to keep the door unlocked permanently? That way if it is locked we will know for certain someone is already in there.
I was told that the toilet is locked to stop things happening. But anything that could happen in the disabled toilet could happen in the regular toilets. Do we really think that a locked door would be a deterrent? I was told people might do drugs in there. I’m sure a locked door will change the mind of someone about to take drugs. Locking one toilet will not change their minds! And anyway they never lock the ladies or gents, they are always open.
So this begs the question why are the doors always locked? Do we not deserve the same treatment to those who were able bodied? In my experience having to walk to the bar to ask for permission to use the toilet and then having a member of staff walk me to the bathroom is incredibly embarrassing! I’ve not experienced someone waiting outside of the toilet for me to finish before locking it back up, but I’m sure someone else will have.
So if you own an establishment with this rule please rethink it. We are normal people who just want to use the bathroom in peace.
Let me know in the comments if you have experienced anything similar.
Much love to you all 💕