I swing dance (lindy hop). I'm actually a pretty good dancer, if I listen to other people. And I enjoy dancing. So why the hell am I refusing to go to the biggest dance event in my own city?
Because they fucking refuse to even pretend to follow the ADA, that's why. Last year's was the absolute worst weekend of my life--and I have been abused & mistreated & sick in ways that mean I have had some fucking bad weekends, the kind of fucking bad weekends that most people cannot imagine. Bad enough that I am willing to name names and if people's feelings are hurt, they can climb a rope and let go, because 'hurt feelings' are not remotely in the same range.
I refuse to spend that kind of money to be in that kind of danger.
Last year, the Portland Lindy Society's lawyer called me & we had some discussions. She isn't an ADA lawyer, but since she had been to law school she knew what the ADA is and how to read a law (for those who don't know, the ADA is pretty fucking simple to understand anyway). The agreement was that they'd say no flash photography & that they'd have an event photographer who was supposed to be competent enough to not strobe all over & that he'd avoid me. I'm not exactly hard to pick out of a crowd, either; I wear blue glasses-NOT COMMON.
Let me tell you now about Portland Lindy Society's photographer. His name is Evrim Icoz. He is a sack of shit who should never work again. Ever. Hence the name dropping
This guy who knew damn well he was supposed to not use multiflash & was supposed to avoid the petite brunette in the blue glasses & Chun Li buns was always using multiflash within 8 feet of me at a rapid fire pace-not the exact opposite of what Ivy, the lawyer, promised at allllll. So, not knowing this man is an abusive sack of shit, I ask him to not flash in my vicinity, because it's like being stuck in a godsdamned strobelight and that's not acceptable, nor is it within the agreement Portland Lindy Society made with me. And he flashes his flash directly in my face because that's obviously what a professional does in this situation. You don't say "my bad", you don't go photograph somewhere else, you flash a strobe light right in the face of someone who has photosensitive epilepsy that you already knew about! Ethics & professional code say so!
So this guy, Evrim Icoz (seriously, I hope search engines grab this shit because it is not acceptable), he starts yelling at me. I'm kind of already about to seize, it is going to happen, & he follows me into the entryway while I'm looking for someone who has some power-a PLS person, the lawyer, someone. This guy is yelling at me that he doesn't know what the hell is wrong with me, I am a crazy bitch, he hopes I die in hell. You already know what's wrong with me, you sack of crap, and that is why you are supposed to change your behavior. Bet you feel like a big man now, yelling at a disabled woman to die in hell. Oh yeah. Such professional behavior.
If PLS were decent people, they'd have told Evrim he had to leave. Are they decent people? No. No they are not.
On the advice of their lawyer they gave my money back & 'allowed' me to stay. It's the least you can do when the event photographer sends you into a meltdown and a 5 seizure cluster, right? Please please please please don't sue us, Miss K. Here's your money! Keep your wristband! Just oh god oh god don't go to the media! I know our photographer is an abusive dangerous man, but please please please stay we'll be better!
Yeah. So fucking much better. Ask me about the next night!
The dance the next night was extremely crowded. Of course it was-it's a big dance event where the people who think they're hot shit from other dance places come to dance with the people who think they're hot shit from other other dance places, and we mere mortals if they don't realize we're mere mortals. Ok, that's unfair, some people from other places are delightful. Just not the ones who think they're Eris's gift to dancing. Anyway, not the point.
This Evrim guy is there again, strobing again! The lawyer and the powers that are at PLS assured me it was taken care of. They're liars. The guy is, again, suspiciously close to me with his deadly weapon at all times. Then he happens to be close to one of my friends, who ended up stuck with my seizure cluster (poor guy, stuck with all the seizure clusters that Portland dance people cause by refusing to make the simple ADA adjustment of banning flash photography. I'm whiny after a seizure & not exactly cooperative). Evrim decided this was a good time to, in the name of professionalism, shove my friend & try to start a physical fight. Not just any physical fight, but one in the middle of an extremely crowded dance floor. The bit where he told my friend to die in hell was an extra bit of acting like an adult paid to be there, in my opinion.
Then my friend tries, again, to talk to someone from PLS. I'm well on my way back to seizureville-the total for the weekend was over 30 as I recall-and this is unacceptable. The woman who he finds first (maybe not first. Maybe who he was told to talk to. I don't know. Most of my memories of that weekend are snapshot memories & waking up somewhere with a hangover-except I don't drink) decides that the appropriate reaction to having the professionalism of their photographer challenged is to start hyperventilating and saying she was convinced friend was going to hit her. That falls in the category of things I can never ever see happening. Anyway.
After this woman gets herself together, complete with guilt trip & me taking a few trips to Planet Not There, she does...nothing! She says she'll talk to him! She doesn't! He's paid to be there, you see! They can't do anything about him trying to start a physical fight on the dance floor or attacking a paying customer! Because she can't! Because not killing me isn't anywhere near as important as some fucking photographs!
We went and talked to the lawyer that night because of the profound unacceptability of this guy Evrim's actions and the complete denial of responsibility from Desha, the PLS representative. I have no recollection of this meeting; I was so far into seizureland that I just don't know. I seem to recall that the lawyer will no longer work with PLS but that may be faulty memory.
So I will not be spending any money on Portland Lindy Exchange, or indeed Portland Lindy Society, events again. They owe me one hell of an apology, as they have known for nearly a year. Assaulting someone with epilepsy with a strobing flash is not ok. Shoving someone on the dance floor is not ok. Verbally attacking people is not ok. Choosing to support the so called professional who does this rather than your paying customers-extremely not ok, unprofessional, and a great way to lose customers.
I will not pay money ever again to have my physical and emotional well-being put in danger. Portland Lindy Society willfully contributed to physical and emotional abuse of a loyal customer and that is not just unacceptable, it is illegal. I am disabled, I am not less, and I deserve better.
Background for the rageification: I've kind of had it with people being all "but ensuring accessibility is soooo haaaaaaaaaaard" when all they have to do is post a sign or turn their light to solid or whatever. Fuck you. I have to do this shit all day, every day, & so if you think me asking you to enforce a "no flash photography" rule for 3 hours is such a burden, go get a whaaaaamburger & cheese cries, because I do this every damn day & I don't get sympathy for it, I get abuse for daring to stand up for my rights.