What’s the difference between a “no queers” sign and a set of steps?

Haligonian Warren Reed has a sobering take on our discussion about potential “cures” for people with Down syndrome:

I am still stuck on the Down Syndrome thread.  As Canadians with disabilities will tell you, Canada has a medical model of disability. The approach is, “let’s fix what’s wrong with you,” rather than, “let’s fix what’s wrong with us.” Hence the inaccessible buses, devilish sidewalks, and antediluvian building codes. The result is a hidden and large group of people who are disenfranchised, undervalued, ignored, and sometimes abused.  See the shocking account in Monday’s Chronicle-Herald.

One of my big defeats was an unsuccessful complaint against poor building codes I made to the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission in 2006.  I thought it was pretty compelling, but the HRC are evidently a bunch of cowards who declined to get involved in improving lives.

I’m not disappointed anymore—just angry.  Can you explain the difference between a “No Queers” sign and a set of steps confronting a wheelchair user?  Chances are your local MLA maintains an inaccessible constituency office. A government that can’t include it’s most vulnerable citizens loses its moral authority.

This kind of systematic discrimination creates a climate where disabled people are second-class.  Is it a surprise that they’re abused by those who should be protecting them? For people in wheelchairs and people with Down Syndrome Canada is a disappointing, dangerous place.

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