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  1. Jason B
    Jason B August 5, 2015 at 12:34 pm | | Reply

    Thanks for sharing your story. As my friend who linked me to the story said “It’s not the worst tale of a disabled fan’s experiences that I’ve heard, but the fact that it’s yet another one, in 2015, is still just too damn much.”

  2. Luke
    Luke August 5, 2015 at 12:53 pm | | Reply

    Keep up the good fight Elsa. It was great being on (one of) the Diversity Panels with you. I don’t think disabled gamers could have a better advocate than you. You not only show us all that accessibility is important for our community of players, but how much disabled people have to offer the industry as creators. If you don’t do it already, you’d make an excellent professor and are welcome to guest lecture my class any day.

  3. wjpeace
    wjpeace August 5, 2015 at 1:43 pm | | Reply

    Welcome to my world as wheelchair user. Virtually all academic conferences present significant physical and social barriers. The conference topic does not matter nor does the location. Conferences are invariably an invitation for social abuse. ADA compliant is meaningless. I suggest you read Steve Kuusisto’s recent posts one of which is about the AWP. You need a thick ski for sure. When your critical comments are heard but not listened to if possible go up the proverbial ladder at the hotel. And sadly getting mad does not work.

  4. Hans Cummings
    Hans Cummings August 5, 2015 at 3:07 pm | | Reply

    I blog about a similar subject over at (I have two blogs) because my wife attends in a wheelchair. It’s electric, so she has different challenges than you, but the amount of rudeness and clueless I’ve witness over the last several years is staggering. I expend so much energy running interference for her and just trying to keep her from getting hurt, that the convention ceases to be fun around day 3. I intend to continue doing everything I can to spread awareness.

  5. Tink
    Tink August 5, 2015 at 3:28 pm | | Reply

    I am a disabled attendee. Three years ago I purchased an electric wheelchair. The two years prior to that my husband pushed my manual one. The issues that require me to use a wheelchair at the convention are different than yours, but we share the three-foot-high perspective.

    2013 was the first year my husband ran a table in Author’s Avenue. As a handicapped attendee, I realized quickly that me pushing myself in a manual wheelchair would not be a realistic option, and my husband could not leave his table every time I needed to use the facilities. The past few years he has written some tips especially for folks to be aware of attendees with physical challenges:

    I’m truly sorry you had this experience. I wish I could tell you it was a one-time thing, and that this sort of thing doesn’t happen. My daughter used to work in one of the hotels downtown (left when she got married and moved to another state), and I know if you write a thoughtfully worded letter or post a thoughtfully worded review on tripadvisor, you might actually get an apology from the management team at that hotel. My family teases me about my “strongly worded emails.” 🙂

    You should never have had to occupy a freight elevator. You should never be treated or referred to (no matter how ambiguously or unambiguously) as garbage. When it’s the last straw, I cry, too, and it pisses me off that I cannot avoid having my emotions spill out that way. I understand just how it hit you in that moment. It’s not right. ADA laws are the bare minimum, and many facilities don’t go beyond what is the bare minimum. And, as someone pointed, out ADA accessible does not always mean accessible to everyone.

    If you return next year, I can put you in touch with a few local companies (my husband and I are local Indianapolis residents) that rent scooters and electric wheelchairs. I don’t know if this will be helpful to you, but I am aware that some of them deliver to the hotels for the convention. I’m also happy to have an offline conversation with you about my electric chair. It disassembles for easy packing into a car. I don’t know if that is something that might interest you or if it is practical for you. I know it has enabled me to be 80% independent at the convention, and I prefer to be as independent as possible.

    Thank you for posting this. I think increasing awareness is the crucial forerunner to making changes.

    1. Casey
      Casey August 6, 2015 at 4:20 pm | | Reply

      I think I met you at last year’s Gen Con talking about carpet when I was using my manual wheelchair (this year I used a TravelScoot & got to experience the battery draining power of the Indy Convention Center’s carpet…wow)! I’m seriously thinking about rigging one some sort of exclaimation point to my chair that makes me look like a quest-giving NPC (plus have cards to give out about convention access issues if people ask for a quest). I’m also wanting a shirt or sticker for my chair that says +5 wheelchair of invisibility 😛

  6. Kristine
    Kristine August 5, 2015 at 5:15 pm | | Reply


    My heart aches that this happened to you. Since I walk with a cane now, I’m so much more cognizant of ableism and how abhorrent people can be.

    Thank you for posting this. I’ve tweeted it out on the GeekGirlCon side and I hope that it continues to raise awareness.

    I can’t wait to see what Blind Mouse Games does! If you need any assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out! I’d be honoured to help <3

  7. Jesse the K
    Jesse the K August 20, 2015 at 2:26 pm | | Reply

    Thank you for putting your experience so eloquently, and so shortly afterwards. After that dehumanizing treatment, I’d be fuming in the corner, too frustrated to speak, much less write.

    Cons can and do improve, but it requires constant action. My experience with a volunteer-run con is that every department must be gently reminded of the access implications of all their decisions. Every year, and that requires a lot of energy!

  8. Taff
    Taff September 23, 2015 at 12:56 am | | Reply

    I’m so sorry this happened to you. Public places are nightmares for us wheelies. Thank you for your hard work.

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