This is my first post on this site and I am looking for a few opinions on this one, it is about my interpretation of the blue badge scheme and the negative effect I feel it has on my identity as a disabled person and the wider disabled community as it is currently executed and the rules that surround it which I believe are indirectly discriminatory to myself and all disabled drivers
Firstly a short back story I am a 33 year old male living and working in London diagnosed with Parkinsonís in late 2009 and becoming increasingly reliant on my car and work van (run my own furniture business) for transport and access, but struggling with the parking legislation for disabled people and unsure about where to go with this one.
It is my understanding that I should not have to disclose any personal information about myself to the general public that I do not wish to be know, so by parking in a disabled bay and displaying my disabled badge is in itself an act of giving up my right to privacy and allows the general public to judge and observe me as being outside of the standard sphere of able-bodied society. The provision of disabled parking however requires me to park in a bay with disabled written across the road or a wheelchair symbol and then to place a badge in my car to announce my disability for all to see when infact it is only the traffic enforcement authorities who need to know who I am and my entitlement to park in a designated bay, and is not the business of anyone else.
Just to say I need to park close to entry points, as do many disabled people, the blue badge scheme is fantastic in principle but not in execution. The majority of disabled drivers are more than happy to conform to the schemes guidelines but that does not make it right, it seems to me that the disabled community have become complicit in a state system which labels all disabled with a wheelchair image under one umbrella which I find frankly offensive and patronizing.
Disabled people suffer from all manner of afflictions some visibly obvious and others not so, it is well known that disabled drivers can receive abuse from the general public when they park thus identifying themselves as disabled when they may not show obvious signs of disability as perceived by the general public. I myself take powerful medications to alleviate my Parkinson symptoms which can work very well but easily switch "off" leaving me virtually paralyzed and strained shortly after being able walk freely whilst my medication was effective, meaning I can leave my car able-bodied in appearance and return to my car disabled in appearance.
The obvious response to my argument is in 2 parts, first being that the blue badge scheme is an opt in scheme and comes with a published set of requirements to fulfill, however if I do not wish to take part in the scheme I do not become suddenly un-disabled I still have the same needs and I am still disabled I just have no desire to be known as disabled to anyone that doesn't know me. The second part is that we have to mark bays as disabled so that the able-bodied don't use them, well I disagree with this it is not the disabled who should have to tell the local authority who they are it should be the local authorityís responsibility to develop the necessary technology and systems to identify a disabled driver anonymously not to maintain and support a system placing me in a position where I must label myself.
I understand that the campaign is always for more disabled bays but the disabled community seem to have somehow along the way accepted the requirement of labeling. In no other part of modern 21st century do we as a society mark out people in such a condescending and offensive manner.