BY: AL DONATO
“OUT OF SERVICE”
Those words on an elevator sign mean you are forced to the minor inconvenience of taking the stairs—that is unless you have a disability that makes that broken elevator your only way of accessing a space. In that case, these minor inconveniences become ways of excluding you from going anywhere every day.
It’s why disability rights activists in Canada are pissing people off with stairbombing – wrapping caution tape around stairway entrances and putting them out of order, to give people a taste of just how important barrier-free access is.
The authors of the webcomic Cripz, Jeffery Preston and Clara Madrenas, first started stairbombing as a movement intended to highlight the ableism of spaces only accessible by stairs.
“One of the biggest challenges for someone with a physical disability is the lack of accessible public spaces,” Preston wrote on his blog. “The result is that people with disabilities are one of the most marginalized populations in our community simply because they can’t go to the same places as everyone else.”
Stairbombing also criticizes the many that are guilty of taking the elevator when they don’t have to, using them when they only need to go up one floor.
So far, most stairbombing demonstrations involve marking off stairways in London or at Canadian universities.
In order to raise awareness about mobility while not making a space fully blocked for students, university stairbombing has usually been done to stairwells that are nearby another unmarked stairwell, ensuring students can still attend their classes, but at least waste a minute or so fuming while they hunt for a way up or down.
Spaces for people in wheelchairs or mobility devices are few in number. More so than a broken elevator, coming upon a stairbombing might make the average person annoyed, but experiencing your mode of transportation being actively denied might make you think more about the privilege of walking painlessly and how shitty it would be to navigate a society full of stairs when you don’t have that privilege. Stairbombing makes the dearth of barrier-free access something everyone can get angry about.
This article originally appeared here: Stairbombing will piss you off to the point where you might actually care about disability rights