We don’t feel included
Imagine living in a society that isn’t made with you in mind. A society that is full of barriers. A society where it is hard just to get to and from the bus stop. Where it is a battle to get information about the basic support you need. Where employers are reluctant to hire you. Where people assume you are much less capable than you are.
For many disabled people like us, that society is Guernsey. Today. In the 21st Century.
Guernsey has no law against discrimination
People may not mean to discriminate against us, but they do. And in Guernsey discrimination against disabled people is NOT against the law. 95% of the world’s population lives in countries that have signed up to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Guernsey hasn’t.
That’s why it was so important that Guernsey’s Deputies (our equivalent of MPs) voted for the island’s first Disability and Inclusion Strategy in November 2013. The Strategy is a plan to improve the lives of diabled islanders and their families, including creating disability equality legislation.
Disability affects thousands of islanders
There are more than 4,000 people like us in Guernsey and Alderney. And more than 2,000 islanders providing care and support to a friend or someone in their family. In total, that’s more than 6,000 people facing barriers to being included in island life. Every day.
That could be your mum, your son, your granddaughter, your colleague, your friend. That could be you – especially as you get older.
If you’re thinking ‘There can’t be thousands of disabled people in Guernsey and Alderney, surely?’ remember that disability isn’t just about wheelchairs and white sticks. A disabled person could be anyone with some form of long term condition that affects their day to day life.
Think about it. How many people do you know who have difficulty walking or communicating? How many people do you know who have autism, depression, learning difficulties, dementia, a brain injury, MS, diabetes, dyslexia, chronic pain, cancer, lung disease…?
As well as the 4,000 islanders who have significant difficulty, there are a further 10,000 people in Guernsey and Alderney who have a long-term condition but it doesn’t cause them significant difficulty. Anyone with a long term condition – whether it affects their day to day life or not – could be discriminated against by others and so would be protected by disability equality legislation. If it existed in Guernsey…
That’s a lot of people and we all matter, eh?