Please Offer Me A Seat

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An invisible disability can refer to any limitation- whether mental, physical or neurological that is hidden. According to a survey by the World Health Organization, in Canada alone- 3.8 million people identified as having some form of a limitation in 2012. There is an evident stigma associated with such limitations. This time last year, advocates in Toronto lobbied for pins for those taking transit to let other commuters know they would be in need of a seat. These pins account for avoiding uncomfortable situations of having to justify their need of a seat. We are proposing this initiative to take place in London with the London Transit Commission for the following reasons;

i) Young people with such disabilities regularly face stigma, staring and discrimination for the sole reason that their limitations are not immediately on display

ii) As of right now, there is no federal accessibility act in Canada with means each individual body serving those identified in such sectors need to take the initiative to address these needs while the Ontario government addresses these on the provincial level by 2025.

I have a chronic pain condition which makes standing for long periods uncomfortable on good days, and unbearable on bad days. I have found getting a seat on a crowded bus as a young person with an invisible disability to be very difficult. Staying in my seat when someone with a visible disability gets on the bus has led to other riders being rude to me because they assume I am an able-bodied person. These challenges have made it important for me to start this campaign. I see the “Please Offer Me A Seat” pin as a low-cost solution to an accessibility issue in a vital community service.

The outcomes that we ask from this project are

a) The LTC introducing a low budget tag or pin for those who identify as having an invisible or other disability with the LTC logo and the words “Please offer me a seat” on the tag/pin.

b) Easy access to this pin or badge through the LTC either through the website or through the main office or other locations where Bus Tickets are purchased

c) Active advertising of such badge/pin through the LTC and other appropriate avenues

By making invisible needs visible we can make London's transit more accessible for everyone.

-Olivia DeWolf