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August 10, 2020, 09:28:21 am *
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Author Topic: Invisible Illness, and use of priority seats are needed  (Read 5894 times)
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« on: August 10, 2019, 06:18:47 am »

From The Guardian

Iíve been told off for using disabled services as I Ďdonít look illí. People with hidden illnesses need understanding and support

I was recently on a packed Central line train into London. Luckily, I managed to take the last priority disabled seat. My osteoporosis and the fatigue I experience meant it would be hard for me to stand for the 40-minute journey to Oxford Circus. I felt a sense of relief that I had managed to find a space. That was until I was approached by a middle-aged woman, who quite confidently asked me to move in order to give up my seat for an elderly passenger.

Of course, I thought, the elderly passenger deserves a seat. But I do too, although itís not immediately obvious why. With other passengers shaking their heads and murmuring comments of disapproval, and me too embarrassed to make a claim for the seat, I moved. Itís true that I appear well, but standing for a prolonged period of time left me feeling weak and in pain. That said, I am used to keeping quiet.

Invisible illnesses come in many different forms, from arthritis to ME and Crohnís disease. They present themselves with varying degrees of severity and a wide range of symptoms, including chronic pain, weakness and mental health problems. Despite being a constant presence in our lives, they are not obvious to the onlooker.

A very real problem and one I can understand from various angles.   Where a train is busy, who knows whether a person occupying a priority seat is a "priority case" which needs the seat, or not?  Seats, surely, should not be left empty because there happen to be no "priority cases" travelling when the rest of the service is full and standing, and  where an "invisible illness" person gets on and can't find a seat, just how do they get a seat without asking someone in the priority section if they mind ... thus challenging that already - seated person as to their disability.  Case of "friends fire".

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« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2019, 11:13:14 am »

A similar issue is the use of accessible toilets. In this case I think the current standard disability symbol of a wheelchair user works against what these are really purposed for, ie not just wheelchair users but also those who might need more space, or indeed the facilities urgently.
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« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2019, 02:10:08 pm »

I'm not sure if it was a London Transport initiative but my partner has a blue 'Please offer me a seat' badge for her 'invisible' illness. She's had mixed results. No one has ever offered her a seat on the underground but a reasonable success rate on the GWR commute when people could actually move around.
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« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2019, 03:53:27 pm »

And I am beginning to get the complete opposite.

When standing on stupidly overcrowded Hammersmith & City line services in the peak (as they all are over the central section), able bodied young women have taken to offering me their seat.

I ain't that old a and decrepit yet, but clearly I'm starting to look it...
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