Thursday, January 12, 2012

Why I am not going to Portland Lindy Exchange

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.


Anonymous said...

Ugh. So sorry you had to go through this. Especially since I could tell you stories about dance floor attacks from way back in the day… and he's still on the loose.

Anonymous said...

How very dare you be disabled and want to be treated like a human being! I bet you were having those seizures on purpose just to make him look bad. [/sarcasm]

Neurodivergent K said...

Dance floor attacks, eh? Same guy? That'd be an interesting pattern.

@Sanabituranima Obviously. I have epilepsy JUST TO INCONVENIENCE THEM. It is alllllll about them.

Anonymous said...

We need to get them a sob shake too.

Anonymous said...

Dancing while disabled has to go on that ever lengthening list of crimes, somewhere between walking while brown and being drunk in possession of a vagina.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Just... Wow...

I am so sorry you had to go through that. I was rage-filled after reading this and I wasn't even there!! I hope google search does pick the photog's name up, and also PLS. They should be ashamed of themselves, I was literally feeling nauseated half way through this post, especially regarding the lack of "damage control" by the PLS after the photog showed himself to be such a vile human being. They organized it, it's their responsibility to at least make sure the people they've hired aren't actively assaulting the clients attending their do!!


Here's to things getting better. **hugs from afar**

Anonymous said...

@autistwriter: All the awards!

anonymouslindyhopper said...

I have heard this story from the other side and while by far I don't know the details, my understanding is that PLS tried to accommodate for the situation but the writer of this blog was clearly not having a good time and is now lashing out. I do not know about the photographer, but the behaviour sounds surprising and provoked.

I am sorry that you are affected in a bad way by something that is commonplace in an event that you would want to enjoy, but I feel that it's something that you should shoulder some responsibility for and approach with a more goal-than-blame oriented approach, pre, during and post event.

I am also curious to know which other events you have been to where you *haven't* had these issues?

anonymouslindyhopper said...
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anonymouslindyhopper said...

This would be my suggestion for how to manage it in the future (the more goal-than-blame oriented approach):

You say "if you think me asking you to enforce a "no flash photography" rule for 3 hours is such a burden" in your post, but to fully enforce it means hiring someone for 3 hours to do specifically that. And I presume you mean the whole weekend, which probably has 16-24 hours of potential (night) time for this to arise? And a ticket to the event costs $70.

So, why not talk to the event ahead of time, explain your condition and ask if you can bring a friend to perform this function, maybe (s)he can get half price or even free admission in return.

The event still puts out no flash photography signs of course, but this friend is responsible for enforcing it around you. (s)he should be introduced to the photographer and explain the situation. The friend could of course still dance, but would hang around near you whenever the need arises. Seems like a good deal for everyone and one that's likely to end up with you having a good time.

Neurodivergent K said...

You don't understand how ADA works. Or don't want to. In the case of many people involved, I suspect "don't want" is the actual thing.

Nor do you understand how much work I have put into things. Only since I am not "nice" about it (being assaulted with a deadly weapon kind of puts a girl on edge) people think their feelings are more important than not hurting me. I have talked to every damn dance person in the whole city. And they're either "oh we can't do that because PEOPLE WANT PICTURES"-my favorite was the (ethnic minority) girl who told me I'm an extreme minority and therefore can't expect my needs to be met.

It is the job of the person running the event to enforce rules, including rules they are pissy about having to have.

I did more than my due diligence--not only have I talked to every dance person there is, I also tried to talk to the photographer. You know, the one who assaulted me, the one who assaulted a friend (who gets stuck, fairly regularly, dealing with the fallout of people who cannot or will not follow a simple rule), the one who was specifically told to not do multiflash & not camera around me, the one who chased me out of the room calling me a crazy bitch & telling me to die in hell.

That is unacceptable by any reasonable measure. Or is it ok because I'm an "extreme minority" & therefore shouldn't expect to have my needs met?

I am not epileptic to ruin your day. I know, hard to believe!

But I am not giving money, again, to people who see fit to hurt me. They've known for over a year, made promises, didn't deliver. That is unacceptable.

Anonymous said...

"I am sorry that you are affected in a bad way by something that is commonplace in an event that you would want to enjoy, but I feel that it's something that you should shoulder some responsibility for and approach with a more goal-than-blame oriented approach, pre, during and post event."

Excuse me? She needs to "shoulder some responsibility" for making sure her civil rights are met? Reading comprehension. Get some. I don't care if you have to go home, look around, study for a while, and come back when you're ready. I'll wait.

*jeopardy theme music*

Good to have you back.

The way the American Disabilities Act (ADA) works is this: Any thing open to the public must take the steps necessary to ensure that those with disabilities are able to participate. In this case, K met with the organizers beforehand (because this shit has been going on for a loooooong time now) and their lawyer. It was agreed that, to ensure PLD met the expectations of federal and state law, no flash photography was to be used. Also in accordance with federal and state law, it was deemed to be PLD's responsibility to enforce said policy. They could have done it by all volunteers and organizers looking out for flashes, just in the same way volunteers and organizers look out for other problems. They could have done it by hiring a photographer who was capable of taking pictures without breaking the agreement made by the PLD to ensure that their function did not violate federal and state law. They could have done it by immediately removing said photographer when he proceeded to violate said federal and state laws. They could have had one person devoted to the issue, as you suggested. They could have done it any way. Any way they did it, they were required by law to do it. They did not. PLD violated the law so flagrantly that their lawyer now refuses to work with them.
It is not K's responsibility to make people obey the law. She is not accountable for other people's criminal behavior. The only people responsible for that are the PLD. If you feel it is to difficult or costly to have a legal business, I suggest you shut the hell down, because operating a business within the law isn't optional.


anonymouslindyhopper said...

The thing is that while I understand this is the law, it is impractical for a small event to cater for every possibility that the law would cover and still be able to afford to run the event.

Regardless of which, this is exactly what I am talking about with the more goal-than-blame approach. The organisers should set it up so that it's acceptable for you. I agree with that and it's the law. In the case that they haven't, they either don't make the effort, in which case you can complain and be unhappy, or be proactive, or they made the effort, but it still didn't work, in which case the outcome is the same for you. Either way, if you shoulder more of the responsibility, even though you shouldn't be required to, you might ultimately end up have a better time, that's all I'm saying.

Neurodivergent K said...

I did far more than I am obligated to, far more than is reasonable to expect anyone to do.

I met with hostile people. Repeatedly.
I had phone conversations with hostile people's lawyer.
I printed out the ADA.
I annotated the ADA.
I made difficult to miss "no flash photography" signs.
I have written NUMEROUS more-detailed-than-legally-acceptable-to-demand explanations of the neurology of reflex epilepsy.
I put said explanations in terms people who aren't neuroscience aficionados can understand.
I. Talked. To. A. Photographer. Who. Then. Flashed. His. Damn. Light. In. My. Face. And. Chased. Me. Through. The. Venue. Calling. Me. A. Crazy. Bitch. (since you missed it the first three times).

My "personal responsibility" line ended right when I said "this is necessary to ensure access, and access is the law". I did far more than is required. Getting access pretty much anywhere is a full time job as it is, and I am sick of it.

Are YOU volunteering to be camera police? No? Why not? It was your idea.

Privilege check: you failed it.

Anonymous said...

"The thing is that while I understand this is the law, it is impractical for a small event to cater for every possibility that the law would cover and still be able to afford to run the event."

Well then I guess Portland Lindy Exchange shouldn't happen. Last time I checked, the ADA doesn't have a "but it's impraaacticaaallll!" clause. So stop telling K to pick up the ball you dropped, anonymouslindyhopper. Take some damn responsibility, grow up, and realize that if you want to organize things on a grand scale, you're going to have to work harder than that.

Heldenautie said...

Allow me to point out that following the law is DISTINCTLY NOT HARD.

Someone uses flash photography in a place where they aren't suppose to, you go, find them, and scream "GET THE FUCK OUT!!!" This may be followed with a police phone call. Not hard.

Heldenautie said...

Yeah, that.

Neurodivergent K said...

Oh how did I ever miss this?

Do I know you? Your ableism sounds SO FAMILIAR.

Funny story: People manage to not flash photography at GIANT INTERNATIONAL EVENTS. Ones where not everyone speaks the same language. People manage to not flash photography places like gymnastics nationals, where people are doing *really cool things*. People manage to not flash photography most everywhere, because turning the flash off is. not. hard.

Neurodivergent K said...

Oh but you have to be niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice.

And apologize for existing.

Being in public while disabled is unacceptable, you know. People are saints for tolerating you.

Heldenautie said...


Anonymous said...

You can't own all the blogs!

Neurodivergent K said...

Can I hug all the cats?

Anonymous said...

No, but you can love blogs.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry if it's inconvenient and impractical to not threaten someone's life. I realize how inconsiderate it is of her to be epileptic (since it's totally a choice), then have the nerve to expect a life. And she should certainly have taken it with good humor when a photographer threatened her with a deadly weapon just to prove an infantile point.

The Untoward Lady said...

I think Portland Lindy Exchange is very lucky they're still able to operate on account of you not suing them out of existence last year. How's that work for "goal-not-blame" approach?

Neurodivergent K said...

Indeed. See? I am niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice.

Neurodivergent K said...

I highly advise a trip through my archive-and the archives of other autistic bloggers-to anyone who thinks they've got a novel idea on how to advocacy. "Tired" at AutisticHoya and The Neurotypical Privilege List at Square8 for starters.

This is not my first rodeo.

Anonymous said...

Anonymouslindyhopper, where did you gooooo? We were having so much fun!

Neurodivergent K said...

Maybe they got lost in the archives. Lots of good shit there.

Or maybe they're hugging ALL THE CATS.

Anonymous said...

But I'm making them a present!

Stryder said...
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Neurodivergent K said...

Have you read the ADA? Imma go with no.

ADA applies to all employment, businesses, et cetera.

It's...a business. Thus, ADA applies. It's also pretty stupid to break the ADA, allow someone you are paying to assault someone with a deadly weapon, and then break the ADA some more (you've got friends who can tell you all about that. Christian love!). Businesses are required to make things accessible to people with disabilities. Not just mobility disabilities-*all* the disabilities (some people are unclear on that).

lol cordoned corner. Have you ever been in a building with flashy things? It's like being stuck in a strobe light.

In any event there's only like 3 Portland dance people you could convince me to be in the same room as, because ableism & hypocrisy. I respect myself too much to want to dance with people who think that hurting me is totes within their rights.

Stryder said...
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Neurodivergent K said...
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Stryder said...
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Neurodivergent K said...

It's also an argument from tone free zone. Which means, basically, "you are not nice so I will not listen to you" does not fly. That is a derailing tactic.

I highly doubt you've never met someone with photosensitive epilepsy. In fact, I know you have, cuz unless this is a very weird coincidence, I've danced with you several times in the past (and, honestly, you seemed decent then, which is why I am engaging at all).

I know there are dancers with photosensitive migraines as well. I also know that everyone who knows has learned that the Portland dance scene would rather hurt people than do the very simple thing of "no flash photography".

The ADA does not list absolutely every accomodation ever because then it'd be a very long, dull document and you know how people like loopholes? Giving a list of examples = people finding loopholes.

" Businesses covered by the ADA are required to modify their business policies and procedures when necessary to serve customers with disabilities and take steps to communicate effectively with customers with disabilities." <-from the small business ADA primer. Putting someone in the hospital via flash cameras (which are not a necessary part of dancing, unless I was taught WAY wrong) is an odd method of serving customers with disabilities, no? The alteration of policies & procedures to, um, not risk disabled customers' lives? That's pretty solidly covered. And of course it's just generally astonishingly bad business to willfully harm someone who has been regularly attending events put on by a given community.

Neurodivergent K said...

Snipped comment put back here, minus name of lawyer who either lied to me or chose poorly in pro-bono clients:

Ask a question that the person you are asking has answered 1000 times in 1000 ways, get a short tempered answer. Especially when it's not a question of "so do you like pink or yellow?" but "defend your right to be in public without being hurt!" Spend your whole life with that question being thrown at you from all sides & you'll be out of tolerance too.

It's long past time for "dialogue". The time for "dialogue" was before the exchange last year. Oh wait. There was dialogue. Either (lawyer) lied to me, or PLS lied to her. or yes. Cuz we had an arrangement, but then when you get one of your agents assaulting me, & then shoving someone who had the audacity to defend me while I was having seizures, then the time for dialogue is kinda past. Once deadly weapons get brought into it, you've flushed your chance for dialogue in a pretty spectacular way.

It's not just physical barriers. Disability is more than wheelchairs. And, um, there's no excuse at all for assault with a deadly weapon-especially when you know, because your lawyer told you, that's what it is (& it's not like there's any mistaking who I am, I'm fairly distinctive). It's any barriers.

Re: flourescent lights, they actually are legally supposed to change them once they get into the frequencies shown time and again to be a problem. However, as the ADA is enforced on a reactive rather than proactive basis-like PLS, the US government doesn't care about disabled people either!-not everyone does it. They only care about not getting sued.

Re: a room: segregation isn't a legit way around access requirements.All sorts of people have gotten in trouble for that one.

Not A Jerk said...

For those of us who are acronym-impaired, what does ADA stand for?

Neurodivergent K said...

Americans with Disabilities Act. It's a federal law that says that all businesses, et cetera (pretty much everyone but churches, actually) must make "reasonable accomodations" to allow access to people with disabilities. Reasonable is determined in terms of monetary cost, not how much able whine is served with it.

Anonymous said...

My understanding of the ADA is that it is intended to prevent people with disabilities from experiencing unfair and unnecessary discrimination and to combat the prejudice that has historically been shown to those with disabilities.

The problem I have with this post (besides the fact that it is angry rather than rational, slanderous, and, from what I understand from other accounts, very biased) is that its author seems unable to differentiate between discrimination and limitation.

Epilepsy is a serious, scary thing. If I had severe, frequent, repeated seizures, I would be terrified of having seizures. I would probably be very angry when people did things that I perceived as putting me at risk for having seizures. I would probably take it personally.

But the point of the ADA is to eliminate discrimination. And there is a difference between discrimination and limitation. If I am a paraplegic, I cannot use my legs. It's frustrating at times and it's not fair, but unlike other people, I cannot walk. Businesses can put in ramps to help me more easily access their buildings; they can add doors that I don't have to manually open and parking spaces that are roomy enough for me to easily exit my vehicle in a wheelchair, but no matter what anyone does to help ease my participation in society, I'm never going to have the use of my legs. That is a limitation.

I don't blame you for feeling angry and threatened by your experiences, but I also wish you would recognize that it may not be within the scope of feasibility for all people and all organizations to prevent you from experiencing things that may harm you. This is true for all people, not just those with epilepsy. It may require some hard choices on your part. It may in some cases be up to you to keep yourself out of harm's way by willingly excusing yourself from situations or activities which present a level of risk that is unacceptable to you because whether you like it or not, reasonable accommodation does not mean that an organization must eliminate things that are essential to the nature of the activity in order to accommodate you. (And for just to get specific for a moment, while it flash photography may not be essential to the activity of dancing, it may be essential to the ability of PLS to publicize and therefore to run and to sustain its event.)

At the heart of it, the law is trying to right injustice. It's trying to protect the underdog by preventing the ignorant majority from overwhelming--by virtue of attending to only their own needs--the right to participate of those who do not have the same needs, but the point is equality. On the other side of this precariously balanced scale, the needs of those who are disabled are important, but they are not more important than the needs of everyone else. The statutory limitation that such modifications are not required if it would cause "undue hardship" is the counterpoint to the requirements of accommodation, intended to balance the rights of both parties so the needs of one individual do not so overwhelm the resources of others to provide for those needs as to eliminate the activity altogether. Together, both portions are saying, "No one person is more important than the others." Equality of access, not equality of experience: this is, unfortunately, the best we can do. Level the playing field because we cannot level the lot of the players when it comes to having a disability in the first place.

Anonymous said...


To quote from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's Compliance Manual:
" 'Undue hardship' means significant difficulty or expense and focuses on the resources and circumstances of the particular employer in relationship to the cost or difficulty of providing a specific accommodation. Undue hardship refers not only to financial difficulty, but to reasonable accommodations that are unduly extensive, substantial, or disruptive, or those that would fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the business."

While an organization saying "but it's impractical" may seem like just whining to you, their right to say so is just as important as yours to say "but I need this," and neither side is whining. They're both equal sides of achieving the goal and balance of equality. The point at which statements like "well then I guess Portland Lindy Exchange shouldn't happen" are being thrown around is the point at which the needs of one individual have started to (unjustly) outweigh the rights of everyone else. This is the point at which discrimination and limitation intersect, and while it may be infuriating to think so, this is the point at which you will have to make the decisions which are best for your own health, taking into account that a limitation of epilepsy is that there are things you must avoid if you wish to decrease your risk of having a seizure.

It's not ever going to be fair, but it is not the same thing as discrimination.

Neurodivergent K said...

Anonymous Coward Clearly From PLX,

Your understanding of things is so wrong, it is *fractally* wrong. Protip: you're in the wrong section of the ADA. You couldn't pay me enough to work with y'all. *gag*. You're looking for the one on "public accomodation".

2. Limitation: I am not limited in dancing. There's a reasonable chance I dance better than you. A barrier is artificially induced---like an asshole attacking me with a flash. And your lawyer certainly ain't arguing that point. She just never wants to be mentioned in conjunction with you again. Oh yes, she has read this post. That was her only feedback, "take my name off it". She made promises y'all failed to keep, I don't blame her really for not wanting her legal career associated with such an abysmal failure.

3. You might think you'd be terrified, but I assure you, after the first few thousand you just get annoyed. Besides, you aren't me (thank god. Then I might be you. That would suck.)

4. "Don't use flash" is the opposite of impractical. ABLE WHINE.

5. Thank you for all the blog fodder. If your intent was to get this to go away, you made the opposite happen. You're going to be starring in at least 2 more posts. The way to make this go away was to apologize sincerely and to make amends, not to double down and prove exactly how ableist you are and how little you understand about anything ever.

Heldenautie said...

Okay, taking apart this tumor of non sequitur arguments will require a certain oncological talent heretofore unprecedented in my previous practices.

First of all, while this is not necessarily relevant to the content, please admit who you are. The extent to which your pseudo-anonymity fails to conceal your actual identity is absolutely comical and, frankly, is a grotesque deficit to everyone whose credibility you have so feebly attempted to preserve.

Second, I feel the need to inform you that if you believe this is defamatory (by the way, if it were, it would be libelous, not slanderous; slander refers to spoken material whereas libel refers to print), you are sorely mistaken. For K to be guilty of defamation, she would have to be either intentionally printing false material about PLS or failing to exercise the due standard of care regarding the truth of the information, both of which go straight out the window if the information therein is true, which I expect it would be, since K is conveying a firsthand account. Also, please note that we are referring to falsifiable historical facts, not what you may believe to be faulty interpretations; you may believe that K is misinterpreting the ADA or reading undue malice in your actions, but these non-falsifiable matters of opinion cannot be defamatory because they are detected by the first amendment.

Lastly, and most importantly, your analogies in your attempts to differentiate "discrimination" and "limitation" are nonsensical. Here is what is happening: there are barriers to K participating in PLS, but none them stemmed directly from her disability. However, the inability of PLS to ensure that the venue did not have unnecessary seizure triggers did create barriers, which, under the ADA are discrimination, as they constitute "a failure to make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures, when such modifications are necessary to afford such goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations to individuals with disabilities, unless the entity can demonstrate that making such modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of such goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations" (42 USC § 12182). So unless you want to argue that flash photography is essential to the enjoyment of Lindy Hop, which I wouldn't recommend, what PLS did was discrimination as defined by the law. Moreover, this argument becomes even more absurd when you factor in that quality photographs can be taken without flash, which means quite literally that everyone can be happy without any "unduly extensive, substantial, or disruptive" accommodations. Putting the law aside, it's just good business practice to do that. Why take the path of most resistance when truly nothing is gained by doing so? You can quite seriously have your cake and eat it too, so why have you elected to make an enemy rather than handle the situation reasonably? Even if K were being completely unreasonable, it would *still* be in your interest to appease her. This decision to stand your ground regardless of the consequences is just the foolish hallmark of an immature proprietor and an immature human being who cannot grasp that the correct business decision might be to apologize and kiss ass even if you were in the right. I am sure that you will have the failed businesses, shattered relationships, and broken family to prove me right.

Heldenautie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stryder said...
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Neurodivergent K said...


It's been 2 years.

And their posts were, in fact, not particularly very...anything except ableist ("I'd never leave my house"), inaccurate (definition of limitation is not what they want it to be. Definition of barrier, also not what they want it to be. Definition of slander, also not what they want it to be.), and frankly once you've condoned attacking someone with a deadly weapon--do recall that I met with PLS's lawyer before the event and 4 times during--you've ceded all moral high ground.

This is an argument from tone free zone. Ergo, any pleas for "civility" will be treated as saying "I don't have any argument but I don't like how you're saying what you're saying waaaaaaaah".

Further. Finding my name ain't hard. Certianly Anonymous Coward Who Uses AOL knows exactly who I am. Pretty sure you do too. Unless of course y'all make habits of attacking *more* people with flashes and then harrassing them online for years after if they dare stand up for themselves. Is this the case?

Expectations when I am promised by a lawyer that no one will flash me with a fucking camera are exactly that. This is what happened. I am pretty damn distinctive (we've been over this before). To do otherwise? Makes one an asshole. To follow me into the foyer shouting how I am a crazy bitch who will die in hell? Really makes one an asshole. It goes nicely with the assault with a deadly weapon and repeating the behavior after another meeting with the lawyer and then shoving my friend (assault) was really just the cherry on top.

I tell cyclists on a regular basis that their lights can cause seizures. Some are dicks. Most are not as dickish as lindy hoppers. If someone is taking pictures in public? I or a proxy explains that repeted flash can cause photic seizures and most people are very quick to, you know, not cause photic seizures.

As in, pretty much the only people who double down on this shit? Are Portland lindy people. And flash photos are not a necessary component of dancing. Really! They arent!

Whether or not there is theoretically acceptable flash is a moot point: unless you limit it to one person (something that would have to be enforced, something the lindy scene is bad at, no rules oh noes!) and they'd have to--DO MATH, as it is a flash rate issue. I don't trust my brain to their ability to do math, I'm not convinced they, collectively, can be trusted with a hamster. Their judgement is not awesome, based on their inability to maintain a legal agreement (their lawyer called ME by the way) or to handle criticism alone. Counting? Showing restraint in hitting the shutter? Shiiiit that's just not gunna happen.

Stryder said...
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Neurodivergent K said...

1. I reserve the right to be capricious and biased about what I do & do not let through. I figure if someone is posting big long screeds about how I shouldn't leave my house & how I'm too disabled to matter, they've kissed all goodwill goodbye. I'm tired of defending my humanity. I've been tired of it for over a decade now.

2. That they did not. They still are defending a barrier, and denying that it exists, and their flimsy comparison was ridiculous.

3. Um. So. A limitation is something you just can't do. It's completely reasonable and not discrimination to say "Sorry, K, you cannot get a professional drivers license". That isn't a thing I can do. That is a limitation. I will never run a radio show. This, also, a limitation. These are things I can. not. do. Altering them to be things I could do would change them fundamentally (well, radio show could be done with AAC. But you don't know what that is.)

A barrier is artificial. And the wheelchair analogy falls right the hell down because I never asked *for* anything. I asked for, and was guaranteed, no flashes in my face. What I offered them was actually way more compromisey than they offered me. I didn't say "so y'all need to provide my fancy schmancy tinted glasses", I brought those. And shoes. And earplugs. The barrier was the barrage of flashes. Breaking down the barrier? Removing the barrage of flashing.

And, An employer's rules are different from those relating to a public accomodation or activity. I went over this with lawyers (plural). By any and all measures I'm reasonable about this, no matter how much you don't like swearing.

4. Since they knew in advance, actually, deadly weapon. The Portland lindy people know more about epilepsy than I was ever required to tell them, in an effort to work together to ensure access and an enjoyable experience for everyone. Sneaking someone a known allergen does not go over too well legally either. The foreknowledge is considered.

5. What the engineer did doesn't do much if the person keeps pushing the button, if multiple people are pushing the buttons, or if the engineer's specs are inaccurate. Many are working on inaccurate data--for example, there are these supposedly random flashers that are safe in theory, except that since t hey occupy your whole visual field it's still a pattern and therefore not random, and therefore a problem. Yeah oops.

My picture is found on this blog, or I am sure whoever sent you here can tell you who I am (sorry, not convinced you randomly came across a 2 years old page just after someone else did). We've danced before. I wear nerdy shirts.

Stryder said...
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Anonymous said...

My late fiance had epilepsy. Because of the very close experience I had with him experiencing seizures and seizure clusters on a daily basis, it is completely unthinkable to me how PLDS (I hope I got the acronym right - I'm not from the area, nor am I a Lindy dancer) behaved.

One person to avoid. One. A person who stands out quite easily, unless Lindy dancers have some trend toward wearing blue glasses that I didn't know about. Many awesome photos could have been taken all night long, all weekend long without ever getting near that one, specific, easy-to-spot person.

And I would expect a photographer to have great vision and a good eye for detail. It should be *easier* for a professional photographer to keep track of where "the girl in the blue glasses" is and not be there than it would be for me to keep track of that. And I could keep track of it easily. And I've got prosopagnosia! (face-blindness.)

I think what was done to K was inexcusable and criminal and I think that anyone who would try to defend those actions is heartless and I think anyone who wants to call *my* tone into question can cram it all (how's THAT for tone?)

Epilepsy is serious shit. In case you missed in when I said it before, my LATE fiance. As in my DEAD fiance. As in my extremely epileptic fiance who died at age 36 because of epilepsy.

No, K should not cower in her house in fear. She should have a life! But other people, once informed of her epilepsy, should take that shit DEAD serious because they could fucking kill her if they play that shit they were playing on her a couple of years ago at PLX.

You just don't do that shit.

Unless you're a total asshole.

And you just don't support that shit.

Unless you're the grand sphincter of the PLX asshole.

Seriously, people. Seriously!

Neurodivergent K said...

Since this is my blog, and my personal story, and a personal story, and personal attacks from your friends, after a personal legal promise made to me, yeah, here, it *is* about me.

Theyre the ones who said I, me, singular, am an extreme minority.

Anon posted in an ableist manner. Stop defending it & own y'all's privilege.

AAC is alternative/augmentive communication. So, it wasn't a wrong assumption. You have no fuckin' clue what that is, do you?

The wheelchair analogy is in no way shape or form accurate. I did not ask for anyone to give me anything that cost money. I asked them to not hurt me, and had the audacity to assert my right to not be hurt.

His camera wasn't equipped to prevent it, promises were made and broken, is utter bullshit.

If I am 3rd that comes up, and PLX wants this to go away, probably spending this much time arguing with me isn't the way to go. They fucked up. They fractally fucked up in their comments here. You aren't helping their case either.

They could have helped their case a long time ago. Telling me that epilepsy is too scary, I'm an extreme minority, that I'm a meaniepants, that saying "don't flash in my face" is exactly the same as "buy me a top of the line power chair", threatening my friends via email (oh yeah that one happened too), citing section 2 when section 3 applies? All of that?

Not helping their case. Helping me break out of a blog slump actually. Might wind up front page.

Christ on a stick. Why are you here? I know your friends don't think I'm a person, I don't need you to remind me.

Stryder said...
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Stryder said...
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Neurodivergent K said...

Oh there you go with the tone policing again.

The time for "Talking like real people" was 2 years ago. You know, when your friend lied to me on behalf of PLX (or else PLX lied to her. Whichever. Lying happened. Hurt happened. Harm happened). That ship has long since sailed. That ship sailed, sunk, and was rediscovered. You're walking into a lot of hurt, a lot of harm, a lot of shitty things other people did and the wreckage it left, and your timing is pretty suspicious.

You don't get to walk up to someone who is bleeding, poke them in the wound, and get pissy when they yell at you to stop poking them in their fucking wound. That is what you are doing here, which is even more egregious than most tone policing, since it's in my house and it's in case of, you know, actual harm.

Steer clear all you want. Or don't. Whatever. You're associated with people I don't trust at all. They've earned my distrust, & you may treat other autistic people well, but you've been tracking shit on THIS Autistic's carpet.

Neurodivergent K said...

Clarification noted.

Unknown said...

@Stryder - It seems like you're bending over backward here to avoid confronting the main issue. That was this: There was an agreement, reached between the parties and vetted by an attorney, which the PLX did not find to be egregious or to be a "limitation", and they ignored it.

Not only did they ignore it, they pretended it hadn't happened, refused to discipline a contractor acting on their behalf when the agreement was breached, and subsequently failed to make any form of restitution or apology for.

Furthermore, your defense of Anonymous Douchebag's definition of the difference between a limitation and a barrier is fatuous. Zir strict definitions were accurate, but the comparison between the wheelchair being provided and flash photography in K's vicinity being forbidden is about as disingenuous and unserious as they get.

The only possible interpretations of your defenses of the Douchecanoe are:

1) You don't take an agreement between parties seriously if one party is disabled and the other might be inconvenienced by accommodating that disability


2) You're not literate enough to grasp the narrative.

(2) is supported by the fact that you're too busy focusing on word choices and definitions to follow the line of thinking. If that's true, and you have literacy issues, that's OK. Literacy is a skill like any other, and having problems with it is not a major shortcoming. It does mean that you might want to talk over what you think K is saying with another person before reacting to it, though. Otherwise, you run the risk of misinterpreting something central to the issue. That's a basic personal responsibility kind of issue that people with LDs and other literacy-related issues have to live with. Not taking responsibility for making sure you understand is just kind of an entitled douchey thing to do.

If it's not (2), then I have to conclude all of your concern with language and definitions is just a smokescreen to hide the fact that you really don't think that PLX did anything wrong when they ignored an agreement between the parties that was brokered by their own legal counsel, in which case you're a really, really big bag of disembodied genital bits and there's no use talking to you.

As far as your dating someone who taught ASL and having teaching experience teaching autistic people to dance goes... right. And my book is a best seller, which you can tell because I say so right on my web page. Also, I have some acai extract pills that will prevent prostate cancer, and I will send you 10 million dollars in a month if you wire me $500 today.

Come on. It's the internet and you're being anonymous-y. The whole "but I can't be ableist because I work with disabled kids" defense doesn't work when friends I have actually seen work with disabled kids use it, so your conveniently invented personal life for this troll persona isn't going to get to use it either.

Elizabeth J. (Ibby) Grace said...

Cliff Notes:

"Hi. I want to use really pompous legalistic sounding language to defend my alleged right to treat disabled people badly. Probably, I believe it's my right to treat all people badly, because I'm terribly entitled, and when I make a mistake--wait, what's that? I can't make a mistake."

"Nice to meet you, legalistic languager. I would like to construct an oh-so-reasonable good-person identity for myself wherein I defend your right to treat people badly. I will help with this project by using all sorts of disrespectful derailing tactics to make it look like I'm a sensitive new age "do-gooder" when really, I wholeheartedly agree that it's much more important to mistreat disabled people than to listen to them."

Guess what, people who write on blogs: You may write anonymously, sure, but you still look every bit as foolish and mean-spirited as you are.

Stryder said...
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Neurodivergent K said...

...funny, I've been waiting 2 years for an apology from PLX for, you know, their contractor attacking me with strobing after they *specifically said that would not happen*,

This would have gone away so easily with a sincere apology & reparations. Now it's, what, 3rd on google for Portland Lindy Exchange?

You don't get to walk into my house and tell me the rules, Stryder. Nope. You don't get to say "people were shitty and you have to handle it how I want you to". Stop dragging in the shit. Your ableism apologism is not flying here.

Stryder said...
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Neurodivergent K said...

You don't get to preach civility to me here. Stop.

Go look up tone policing.

Now shut up about civility.

Everything you have said is apologism (defense of) ableist bullshit, or else is sanctimonious more 'civil' than thou posturing. I'm angry. I am fucking pissed. I am sick of able bullshit in general, I am sick of dancer bullshit in specific, I am sick of Portland lindy dancer bullshit in very specific, and I grow weary of your particular brand of crap as well.

This space is safe for me & mine first and foremost--which means, first and foremost, people who are doing a good impression of defending people who intentionally cause me harm are on their own, defense-wise.

Stop tracking your shit in. If you want to start over, you're going to need to say "let me start over" & then make a noticible good faith effort at taking a vastly different route of conversation. Or, you can keep doing what you're doing & get the same results. Or you can stop. That's how this goes.

Heldenautie said...

Stryder, it is with deep regret that I must apologize that K, Ibby, Monje, and I have inspired you to fail so fantastically as an ethical being that any further failure would reek of anti-climax.

It is with even deeper regret that I must apologize that I was not harsher on you from the beginning, given your predilection for ignoring the points being repeatedly made and then being astonished that, upon those points being made the umpteenth time, they are made with spite.

My regret is great and my remorse, sincere. I hope that I might be shown grace and be forgiven.

Heldenautie crosses himself.

ratherunique said...


"If by AAC you're referring to a specific type of lossy audio compression? yes, I do know what that is. Keep up the assumptions!"

Funny, type AAC into google and that is the first link you get.

The definition of AAC that would mean something to an autistic is further down the page.
I am going to make an assumption here. I assume your claimed expertise in ASL and teaching dance to the deaf/autistics was also earned from the University of Wikipedia: Google campus on 11, March 2013.
You're a troll, and a good one at that. You're going to remove yourself from the conversation? There would be no conversation if you and 1110im-20a7891-116douche13 were not harassing this person.

Heldenautie said...

Oh, and I'd like to make known to the general populace that I went to a dance tonight in Harlem (happy 87th Savoy). While some of the dancers used flash photography, neither of the pro photographers did. Somehow, the dance managed to not only continue, but to be singularly awesome despite the lack of flash photography and my split infinitive.

Just sayin'.

Kerima said...

Dear Portland Lindy Exchange,
Speaking as a person who has never been to Portland, I can honestly say that if I do visit, I won't be stopping by. I think you have all managed to demonstrate how not to resolve an impasse with an individual who came to harm during one of your events. This could have been handled any number of ways, in a manner befitting a responsible dance organization, but congratulations you have managed to upset K further. As I continue to read your comments, doing everything from laying the responsibility for accommodation on the victim to presuming that said victim, a longtime disability rights advocate, would allow you to lecture her on what does and does not apply to ADA, the only word I can come up with for your group attack on a victim's personal blog is train wreck. Here's the thing about being a disability rights advocate. You know a great many other advocates, and all of us are fairly sure that you don't want to continue to assault the victim of an assault at one your events. In fact you may all wish to apologize to K for barging into her personal virtual space and trying to bully her into what? Removing a legitimate complaint against your organization? Not warning other dancers who may have a seizure disorder but may not want to disclose medical information to you that PLX is not a safe space? All it would have taken was an apology and an honest attempt not to place others who may have undiagnosed seizure disorders as well as those who suffer them in a safe environment. The term equal access does not refer to separate but equal access, so uneducated comments about separate spaces for the victim were particularly sad and indicative of an organization that does not appear to care that someone came to harm at one of their events. How things look to others outside PLX isn't as important as the fact that someone was harmed needlessly and your organization did nothing to either stop in or change your policies in order to insure it does not happen again.I am waiting for your written apology to the victim. Until I see it I will be letting everyone I know that your organization is not ADA compliant. I just bet my kiddo's wheelchair wouldn't be welcomed their either. I think this is a good opportunity for PLX to do some self assessment and start over. I am annoyed and underwhelmed.

Unknown said...

@Stryder: This is a public response to the private call for apology you sent to my Facebook.

You'll get my apology just as soon as you catch me piling on you and defending people who are attacking you IN A SPACE YOU OWN. Seriously, your tone-deaf defense of an anonymous commenter who was intentionally deceptive in zir conflation of differing definitions of terms and concepts is the problem here. If you can't see that, then you don't deserve civility.

My post was an attempt to show you how it feels when people focus on everything but the main gist of your argument and then defend the stupidest, most tangential attacks on you. It was a spoof of the kind of pompous, ableist bullshit you perpetuated by feeling the need to walk into a space you didn't understand and talk as if you knew what was going on.

I don't care if your fee-fees were hurt. This isn't about convincing you that Kassiane's arguments are right, it's about calling your attention to how NOT A PART OF THAT CONVERSATION you were and how privileged it was for you to inject yourself and to try to each us poor disabled folk all about how we were misunderstanding anon's points.

If you can't see that and appreciate it for the reality-check it is, then you're not worth apologizing to. No one owes you civility or respect. Earn both by your conduct.

Neurodivergent K said...

Wow. Are you fucking kidding me.

No. You aren't. I got quite the messages myself & wasted far too many spoons, bc I'm the kind of person who actually does take "no no, I want to learn" at face value". So I know this is what happened.

(There is one comment I did not approve. While my general policy has been 'once you cross me & mine, all gloves can come off', specific 'go kill yourself' directions are an exception. If "Me" would like to post something other than that, they can probably manage).

The Colonel said...

I really cannot believe how that photographer handled that situation, and for that matter how the Portland Lindy Exchange handled it. Completely unacceptable. I don't know what you have in mind, but assuming you can figure out a way to get a lawyer, you might want to consider turning this into a lawsuit. I understand if you don't-- I have had stuff happen where I should have sued but didn't. I just hope you do whatever is going to make this right for you personally-- I don't blame you for naming names.

just_me said...

that's really, epically crap. a lot of the comments are also epically crap.

this event is run for profit, by people who do this for a living, and they can't even stop using flash when asked?

no. just no. how about some perspective? I go to Bicon, an event run completely by volunteers (who, incidentally, belong to a demographic with unusually high rates of mental illness so often have their own shit to deal with). they provide a "listening service" (read: emergency in conference counselling), quiet social space for the evening, crash room, gender neutral toilets and have the most comprehensive consent policy I've ever seen. you really think "no flash, I might die" is LESS reasonable than "find me a counsellor! now!"?

Neurodivergent K said...

So then.

There is a Jason P who is trying to comment.

I only knew one Jason when I was dancing, & I really kinda thought he would be able to make a more cogent point than this one can. Yoi'll have to take my word for it bc boring generic hate isn't making it through my comment filter, I'm bored with it.

I also remember very clearly asking him to, like, NOT use the R word as an insult and this Jason is all up in my inbox using the R word as well as other lazy ableism.

If it is that Jason, I am disappoint. But it would hardly be the first time I mistook Portland Lindy people for decent human beings.