00:00 Joanne Lockwood
Hello hello everyone my name is Joanne Lockwood I'm your host for the inclusion bites podcast in this series I have interviewed a number of amazing people and simply had a conversation about the subject of inclusion belonging and generally making the world a better place for everyone to thrive. Like to join me in the future then please do drop me line to jo.lockwood@SEEChangeHappen.co.uk has swly changeapp dot co dot uk you can catch up with all of the preview shows on itunes spotify and the usual places so plug any headphones grab adcap. Let's get going today is episode 54 with the title everyone should feel as though they belong, are welcome, and valued and today I have the absolute honor and privilege to welcome Esi Hardy, Esi describes herself as a trainer consultant event speaker. And advocate for disability inclusion in the workplace when I asked essie to describe her superpower. She said the ability to make intangible ideas around disability inclusion tangible hello essie welcome to the show.
01:08 Esi Hardy
Hi Jo thanks for having me.
01:11 Joanne Lockwood
It's absolute pleasure I mean we've felt a good chat in the green room beforehand and I'm really looking forward to this conversation so Esi Hardye ten army me everyone should feel as though they belong are welcomed andvald what does that mean to you.
Well I think you know I think that there is kind of this this status quo quote norm about what being welcome and valued should should be um I always say to people that you can't make anybody feel included inclusion is a feeling that. Ah, comes from beneath oh and in but inclusion is a feeling that comes from within so if we don't feel included. It's because what society or what that business or what that organization is doing to not help us to be included. So so businesses. Should be doing their utmost to create an environment that is open to everybody so that if people walk in they can immediately for me for me inclusion is taking a breath of fresh air. So walking into a room or in my case going in in my wheelchair because I'm physically disabled. Ah, not feeling as though I have to start mitigating all the barriers that I'm facing as soon as I enter that building whether it is people's attitudes of not wanting to talk to me whether it is getting near to the space in which I want to engage in a conversation whether it's finding a way to. And make other people feel. Okay when I'm not going to have the buffet that's presented um or you know ah a number a multitude of other things including if I need to go to the loo is the Lou situation is the accessible toilet going to be in a place where I can get to it without much help. Without making much of a big deal about it about everybody else and also once I'm in that toilet am I going to be able to manage and that you know all these things I think they sound like they're separate things but they're all part of a wider um a wider feeling of that inclusion and therefore belonging. Because let's say me. For example, if I walk in a room and I'm immediately thinking. Oh I don't know how much I can drink because you know I don't know hey if the Lou is going to be accessible when I get there therefore I'll drink less so I don't need to go that stops but that that prevents me from being able to engage in the conversation. If I walk into a room in my wheelchair and people go oh she's in a wheelchair we would talk to herir because she obviously doesn't have anything to say then I immediately am having to compensate for that by not just relaxing and being part of the conversation but by always thinking. Okay, how is our are everybody else. Going to interact with me and how can I make them feel comfortable. So I think that that inclusion promotes and supports that sense of belonging because when you feel relaxed in that environment then you're going to feel as though you belong more because you feel as though that environment and people that put.
That event together has support has thought about you thought about your needs and thought about how you're going to feel in that space.
04:23 Joanne Lockwood
It so true. Ah I've got a confession that you have educated me Beyond belief not through any training course not through any proactive education but just by. Allowing me to be by your side and travel with you have meals with you drink with you go to parties have Christmas with you at once just by being with you I learned so much that I had never appreciated before and i. I learn about able-body privilege we often describe privilege as something you don't have to think about I never thought about walking I never thought about my route for me to be without having to overthink it. And I suddenly realized spent a day with you in London getting on and off a bus getting on the underground walking up about steps going into buildings and this was not an educational session. This was you just living your life. Ah me being with you was maybe in the past and I've been people who had a disability or disabled person person with a disability have what we describe people these days. It was always in the moment it was never in their life and to so to to feel and experience what you your challenges on a daily basis in Society. As you as you will always say size. You disables you not your just not your your physical side to understand that just I remember being on the bus and how the guy almost on the bus driver almost touchted when he had to put the ramp down I was like an inconvenience that really thought wow.
05:54 Esi Hardy
06:10 Joanne Lockwood
Oh that was that's your lived experience on a daily basis and the other thing I remember was being and upstairs in Waterloo at the waterloo station. We we had that drink and we were having a and I remember because you're fiercely independent you you don't want people to mother you be around or overly um.
06:30 Joanne Lockwood
Look after you I remember we're drinking away I need just a a joad do mind put my shoe back on I thought Ah yeah sure I could put your shoe back on and it's just as little things like that. You just never appreciate. But unless you're around somebody and understand that their needs and I think you you taught me about Ablebo privilege.
06:49 Esi Hardy
So I also just like to clarify for your audience I didn't go to the pub and just take my shoes off to get comfortable. My shoe had fallen off can I just make that point that I wasn't just like oh I'm just stretched out in water to leave stations and taking my shoes off.
06:50 Joanne Lockwood
Without educating me if like just by being with you but by being your friend if you like.
07:07 Esi Hardy
Then get data put them back on when I need to go and you're absolutely right? Absolutely and I think that it's what's interesting to me is that Absolutely that is 1 of my biggest areass of oppression and we've talked about that mainly from a physical perspective but you've talked about that in terms of attitudes as Well. So The bus driver who sighs when he sees somebody that he actually does it or she doesn't even have to move to do anything for that. She literally has a butter next to her that she can press and the Ra drops down I mean it is that simple but it's still you know as far as they're Concerned. It's a balllake. Um, and the attitudinal barriers um are compounding the the lack of um access for the physical environment for disabled people on a daily basis and I think it's really important that we don't forget those internalized biases. That we as disabled people hold about ourselves as Well. So The general public and society. They all have opinions about disability and what disability is and therefore what disabled people can achieve but we as disabled people get a lot of the time Because. Of the same reasons because of the media because of what we've been told going through school and everything we have internalized biases and what we call internalized ableism that oh I won't do it like this because they still make me more disabled but actually will also my life a lot easier and so we Forgive. We Let the general public off. And we forgive people for doing these things that that actually are not acceptable forgive them for making us go in the side entrance of the door forgive the bus driver for driving off because they can't be bothered to lower the Ram or find an excuse for it because for us. The internal because we've internalized that bias ourselves that it's our problem that we find a way to to to kind of mitigate that feeling in our minds. But I Think what's really important in going back to your original question about the kind of that sense of belonging and inclusion. When a let's say in this case, kind of an ah, an event business has created an event and has thought about the needs of disabled people then it almost lifts that internalized bias away because it's saying to the disabled person you are valuable. You are equal We have thought about you and these are the ways. We're looking forward to engaging and interacting with you in our venue as Well. So I Think from that point that there's so much that we can do as disabled people and as non-disabled people to support everybody to feel as though they belong and that they're equal.
In that belonging as well.
09:52 Joanne Lockwood
I Think it's also making sure you engage with people who have disability in order to to test out your your process to test out your event test out your venue because a lot of things I'd never considered you know I Think. You You highlighted me once that there's an assumption that you'll have a Pa with you and so that person will help you maneuver help you push a button but for my understanding you have limited dexteratory de dexterity in your arms and you can't lift them above a certain height. So when that when the lift call button is for you above a certain Point. You can't touch it and you can't say rotate your chair within the space either and it's a whole note of things. Ah,, there's almost such an assumption that you you either have to reverse in or you have to be pushed in or you have to be maneuvered and so to understand. I Now look at the world with a different lens thinking could could do that and I'm thinking no Esi Hardye struggle in this venue as as he was struggle getting up that step as he would never be able to get to the toilet here without asking for help and that's that's the demeaning thing. It's the needing to feel that you have to ask for help you want to have that agency you want to be able to. If you want to go to the loop. You want to go to Lou with you. Want to do the same way I would I would just sneak off I wouldn't have to ah ask for reinforcement.
11:13 Esi Hardy
Announced. Yeah, announce you're absolutely right I mean an example of that I was I was out with my friend the other night and I needed to go to the loo and I saw what I thought was the door to the accessible loo and so I was waiting for somebody to the um. Ah, the woman behind the counter to open the door for me. Um, and she asked like where is she and I looked over and she's waiting somewhere else where the Lou actually was so I was waiting at the wrong door and where the accessible loo actually was was behind a table where there were 8 people sitting and it was literally at the table. And so all these people had to get up a move in order for me to go to the loop. So I was thinking and then I couldn' locked the door in the loopth. It was unlockable and then I was thinking you know these people are going to know how long I'm in this loopho and actually am I all right with that and then when they come out. Going to know oh she's finished now. She's been a while I wonder if it's a pooh and I'll smellen there but actually it just takes longer because of the access or the lack of thought of access that's inside the loop and um I think you know I think you know when you said before you know. And people assume that other people do things or they'll assume that it'll be okay that way I think that people when they're building these things without talking to disabled people talking with people lived experience. They're not thinking at all. They're thinking. We'll do that. That's a job done take that box. We'll move on to something that we consider to be more important like a great it system or whatever it is for that company. But I think that that sometimes the some that the assumption that somebody else will do it for people is even going that 1 step too far. It's about we know we have to do it legally therefore we've done it. Let's move on and do something else and I think that's what happens in so many cases that actually they don't think and I don't think it's deliberate I think that people when they're dEsi Hardygning. They just don't think these things through For example, you know an example would be of how they could have done it differently and that pub for example is oh I know the accessible lose there. So let's not put a table around that in order for a disabled person to be able to access that loof as well without having to ask people to move and slowing down there. Variant but also so they can have so they can have some privacy and it's about stopping to think about what is going to make an experience equal to the experience of a non-disabled person in this in this case. Um, so how can i.
Equitably think about the situation. How can I create processes that are fair in the situation in order for that experience to be equal for the person who's going to be experiencing it.
14:09 Joanne Lockwood
Yeah, it's also things like spacing of tables and adequate gaps between backs of chairs and I remember I was her. Yeah.
14:15 Esi Hardy
Yeah I mean it's it's everything. It's it's absolutely everything Joe it's it's an exorted to um, it's what's the word. There's no end to the the amount of things you can do to make things inclusive and I've started thinking about kind of when people say to me oh you know.
14:26 Joanne Lockwood
14:34 Esi Hardy
Want to make it truly accessible I said well there's there's no way that you can make something truly accessible because every disabled person is unique and you can't make something truly inclusive because everybody's um, understanding or feeling of that word inclusion is slightly differently. Um and we are you know. I Want to also point out that we are talking very specifically about physically disabled people and wheelchair users. But we also have to add on top of that people with sensory impairments people with learning disabilities people with mental Health disabilities. Um, and. Everybody with invisible disabilities as Well. So Actually if you have to stand up for a long time. Um, period. For example, how is that going to affect your invisible fatigue and therefore how well are you going to be able to engage later on in the conversation that's going on. So It's thinking about all. And you're absolutely right? That's why it's so important to always engage people and not just engage. But ah, but co-produce with people with lived experience and so you're getting mad experience to support you to understand what needs to happen. To make it work for every single person and.
15:49 Joanne Lockwood
You You're so right about the sensory challenges as well. Um I mean I've got a friend who is blind I've got a friend who is death and my my friend who's death She has an assistance dog and she has all these challenges where her. Her dog isn't good enough because it's not a guide dog for the blind. It's ah it's a hearing dog for the deaf an assistance dog Her dog doesn't isn't isn't isn't good enough to be included to restaurants and she has have at she has ah certificates and cards she she has troubles getting.
16:26 Joanne Lockwood
Ah, taxi advice for her for assistances dog into restaurants. She's turned away but but as soon as you have the kind of the guide dog Jacket. It's kind of like yeah wherever you like but ah, an assistant dog for someone who's deaf is like well second clicking glass and she's often frustrated. And just traveling around london with her for a day understanding how you can't take a dog on an escalator how you have they'd have to find the lift or or stairs the challenges she has when she gets on a train with her with the passenger assistance person and they're asking someone to move out of the accessible seat and the the Tuts and. Oh. You don't look very disabled boy do you need to sit here. Something. Oh and my friend Joe is sitting next to me by the way. So like I feel guilty that I'm now sat with her having displaced somebody. There's a whole stigma around the disruption you caused as by wanted to be accepted isn't there.
Yeah, yeah, and's you know that's your responsibility and then you know what I mean that's a really good example and that kind of it. Really really highlights and goes back to the point as we're making the floor about why disabled people have this internalized bias and internalized ableism because. Everywhere we go everywhere. We turn every cornerstone of our life since you know we either a acquired our disability or werere born is all about Oh. No, you're in the wrong you're wrong, you need to change to be fixed or you're causing a problem like. And so no wonder we end up thinking? Oh yeah, no I am the problem I'll just stay quiet and.
17:54 Joanne Lockwood
I Yeah people half you in my way slow me down I'm in a rush. Oh and now you're here in front of me that's all I need to say isn't it.
18:02 Esi Hardy
Yeah, yeah, and you know even it's it's you know there's you know it's those little things about you know let's say we're trying to get to an event in London so we we start at waterloo and we need to get over to I don't know for argument sake I don't know chelsea let's say we are really good event in Chelsea. Um, with really nice food and cakes. Um, but you know maybe you know if we take you and I Joe it might take you I don't know exactly which tube you need to get it might take you half an hour on the tube and maybe a five minute walk at the end it would take me the same journey. Let's say up to an hour and a half um because of the tube stations. They're inaccessible and because of the when I go to a train station I have to wait at the barriers for somebody to let me through because I can't physically press the ticket or the ticket machine to let myself through so somebody needs to let me through and yet it might only take ten seconds but then that's lots and lots of 10 seconds the as a physically disabled person and I'm imagining as a sensory impaired person. Um, the general public are not watching out for a wheelchair user and then notly watching out for a stick so people walk. Ah, look eye line. They don't look down so the amount of times I have to stop and let somebody pass and move to the side again ads on the time and so you've arrived at your venue and maybe also before I talk about the venue. Maybe also there's some pavement works. Um, and so there's literal bollard barriers up there that perhaps you can step onto the road and walk down but they haven't thought about how to make that path successful. So I've been around 3 other roads but still can't find a way down. So now I've changed my roots again. And so then you arrive at the venue and you look really professional and really expert because you're ten minutes early and you're all calm and and gathered and everything ready to talk I arrive at my venue half an hour late and flustered and so then it impacts. On how people perceive the 2 of us. Oh Joe made it really really easy. But essie is a disabled person. Oh. It's so hard and even if people you know acknowledge that that was nothing to do with me. They're still thinking. Oh god it's pain in the arts getting a wheelchair. Is it here. And this is all unconscious, but it's all still going on and this prevents the opportunities for disabled people in careers in education in general engagement and.
20:42 Joanne Lockwood
I mean I as so I said as I said earlier I I have able body privilege I can walk but I'm getting to the point I'm in my late fifty s now I am not particularly fit I've put on a few pound well so few a lot of pounds over covid of the lockdown. So I recognize that I I'm not as agile as I as I once was 10 years ago when I was at my tenist and I was traveling to newcastle the other week for a couple of nights and so I had some luggage with me.
21:00 Esi Hardy
We all have a win.
21:15 Joanne Lockwood
Not only my suitcase but also a laptop and a few other bits of piece my handbag and things and so I went from where I live into into victoria station and victoria is has ah lift access to all platforms or it appears to have and I was going to king's cross. Which is also fairly accessible for my experience though, but the route to go from a to b in Victoria was convoluted. There's a lot of levels. A lot of lot of rabbit runs and you're looking at signage trying to think where do I go next get from I going to go from that level to this level then that lift to get me to that lift. Whereas if I just got up steps or the escalator I have gone straight up almost but to get the accessible route with with lifts took me twenty minutes probably more to follow that path. So I pretty and and I thought well why should I struggle up the steps with my bag and hump it up and like I normally do feeling.
22:10 Joanne Lockwood
Get stop and go I'm exhausted now I thought that this is a legitimate route and I suddenly thought again as I'm doing this I thought this is the route that people who have a disability who can't use the steps do all the time and I had to I had the choice to either lug or to take that route. You don't have the choice you could only take 1 vote. It really brought it home to me again about the stations that don't have that access. You know Waterloo is not particularly accessible station if you can't use an escalator even even you have to about 4 sets of stairs before we can get to the escco. It's currently waterloo and it's it's.
I think it's lift in Waterloo but it's hidden behind the escalators if you don't know where the lift is I mean this is another thing there's no clear signage as well. So it's not easy to go to a station. You haven't been to before and know where you're going.
22:46 Joanne Lockwood
22:59 Esi Hardy
And but I think you've made a really really good point there that actually being um, accessible and inclusive for disabled people doesn't just support disabled people. It supports everyone if there's a ramp instead of stairs. It's not like non-disabled people can't get inside but it just means that disabled people can also get inside. And so on and so forth and I am very aware that we're talking and almost deliberately we're talking and because I am physically Disabled. We're talking about the physical disabilities. But I am not mitigating those barriers that are presented for people without physical impairments and just. Specifically talking about physical impairments because that's my experience but I know for example, my friend Lorna and I'm sure she wouldn't mind me mentioning her name. Um, she is physically disabled but she also has Dyslexia So whilst I can look at a sign and think okay, that's the train I need to get to. Okay, that's a sign for lyft. Okay I know I need to do 3 less and then 1 right? or even when I'm asking directions on the screen. Okay, that person's told me I turn left at the I and Duke Pub Lord It really? um, it doesn't support doctor because of her dyslexia. She cannot redEsi Hardygn and if somebody says turn left at the I and Duke Pub. She's like well what's the I and Duke pub and what does that look like and how do I know when I've got there. Um because she can't read those communication signs that perhaps somebody without dyslexia so going through London with her. Really kind of opened my eyes again to the even more compounded barriers. Um that an ableistic or a world that doesn't think about um, access for disabled people has created.
24:49 Joanne Lockwood
And you said you said at the beginning that you you can detect when people don't want to engage with you or se looks difficult um or making judgments about you this yeah we shake hands. As a kind of well maybe before Covid we did but people go to shake your hand and that can make people kind of nervous as Well. Can't it because you you don't shake hands in a traditional way. But.
25:18 Esi Hardy
Yeah, so I am I'm left-handed and although none of my limbs work very well they all work a little bit and my left hand works better and the top half and than anything else. Um, so I kind of do this. It's almost like a. Fist when I present it to a person comes out as a fist say quite often people do a fist but and then I've had recently and because I'm also a brown person that somebody's like bumped me and gone respect I like and I actually said to that person. Well, that's not actually respectful I wasn't trying to do. You know the Jamaican respect I was trying to shake your hands. Um, and you know I said it and because I know that they didn't mean off fence by it. But I think all these mixed messages be from that non-disabled person who didn't know what they were going to be greeted with and I think was just trying to match me. Um, it's really really difficult for both sides to know how to get it right? Um, and what I do is I usually say either be you know is's quite good and and kind of and restrictions that you don't have to shake people's hands anymore because you know you don't have to touch. It's becoming less of a norm which makes it more accessible for me. And it's like do you do you like to have a hug and I don't like pebble hug anyway, so I just say no and but if they do want to shake my hand I have to take over and say okay this is how we're going to do it and so it's successful and then for you know what happens is that impacts on our. Energy levels. So if we're doing that 10 times a day if I've I've explained to you I've educated you by talking to you about how I'm going to shake cans and then I go into a room and I have to over compensate for the fact that I'm a wheelchair user and really really make an effort say oh no no I'm not going. I don't need a coffee because quite often I try to walk past a group of people in a networking environment. Oh sorry John to get to the coffee. No now I want to join your conversation but they've already stopped so it's about restarting that conversation and so on and so forth and making sure I'm at the right place explaining to. Somebody that I partnered up with for an activity that this is how I need it to be done. It's exhausting and so at the end of the day we are exhausted and then you can pat you have on top of all of that. Venue everything that we've picked up about so far and it's not like I'll have a break and then I'll do that tomorrow. You have to do it all at the same time. Um, disabled people. We get exhausted all the time. Um I talk about it. Um, as an invisible backpack. So we have a.
We have kind of almost that open suitcase of barriers that everybody knows about we can see. But if we have the invisible backpack of barriers as well that we don't talk about because we wouldn't be able to say anything else essentially because they take up the whole day. Um, that people don't on the sand but they. Kind of weather on our energy on it on a short term basis but also a long-term basis and therefore our um, not just the ability but our dEsi Hardyre to then do it again next day So instead of thinking Oh My God I'm going to go into London four days in a row I Think oh. Can I actually be bothered to go through all of that again. I'm just gonna miss that. Um, and people think like this disabled people and I'm not not just disabled people. You know I think lots of people with lots of different experiences. They probably go through similar things. Um, but we think about these things all the time and say from a. From a kind of a more diverse inclusion point of view I think it's up to us all the society to take the responsibility to think what else is going on for that person. How are they experiencing this and without knowing the intricate details of everything they're Experiencing. What can I do to to help that person feel as though they're at the right place and that they're going to be. They're going to enjoy themselves and when they're here and that it's worth making all that effort for.
29:30 Joanne Lockwood
I Yeah I'm sure you you probably find that people just see your disability without seeing the you you know that the human being and and maybe I find this sometimes that people think well I want to talk around talk about is is being Trans and.
29:50 Joanne Lockwood
They send me articles all the time on oh have you seen this article about being trans. It's like an you. It's like it's like it like a it's like a cat bringing in a mouse every day going but I found you I always say have you read it have you listened to it. They go? no no I thought you'd be interested. But no, it's for you. It's not actually for me that education.
29:51 Esi Hardy
For I don't know dislike. Yeah.
Yeah, arab mother there I you yeah absolutely absolutely I think you know and actually that leads on to slightly know it made me think of something else. So the other week. My friend sent me because she knew that I would want to listen.
30:09 Joanne Lockwood
I Can do my own research and there's why I am.
30:25 Esi Hardy
My friend sent me a podcast from bbc sounds and it was um, part of your dead to me that series and it was a podcast from disability in the asian worlddon. You know she knew that I wanted to listen to it and that's why she forwarded it to me but she said she noticed that Interestingly. It was the only podcast on that series with subtitles. Um, ah none of the other podcasts had subtitles so there was an assumption from the bbc and the people making the subtitles that disabled people only want to listen to anything that's to do with disability. And then they would never want to listen to anything else or at least that's the that's the yeah, it is absolutely yeah I don't need subtitles for that I know all the words of by her.
31:03 Joanne Lockwood
Or anyone who knows you you would want to listen to Robbie Williams you want Robby Robby Williams That's what you want to listen to isn't it.
31:16 Esi Hardy
And but yeah, no, absolutely but it's it's again, it's it's kind of this assumption that that as you were said you know as you've rightly said that we're categorized. Oh this is for a transgender person I don't need to look at it because I'm not transgender. This is for a disabled person therefore we'll put this in but this isn didn't forud disabled people so we wouldn't bother. But all of that stuff. It's about understanding that we're all, we're intersectional with our diversity but we're also intersectional with our wants and dEsi Hardyres and experiences so as you just said I am a robbie williams fan. Um, and that. That doesn't have to take away from everything else about me or my disability doesn't have to take away from the fact that I'm a robbie williams fan or whatever else is going on in my life. So it's you know it's really important to remember that. It's so important to be mindful of how we can include people. But also mindful of why they're there in the first place are they there to feel included as a disabled person or are they there to enjoy whatever event you're putting on and.
32:23 Joanne Lockwood
And and the other hobby you told me about is your your pokerlying you know is that? yeah so disabled people play poker. Apparently this is like shock horror.
You know what? this is maybe a bit controversial but I do love going into a casino and being 1 of the only person of any diversity in LEsi Hardyno the casino cas so Casinos Especially poker rooms generally made up. Of um men and men of all kind of makeups but men and say when a woman walks in it Usually they're a partner of the man that's playing and they sit in the court I watch women sitting in the corners playing on their phones and I think well why don't you go and do something else. Um. Or why don't you join in never ever have I seen a wheelchair user so it's brilliant because it spooks out the other players and so it gives me an advantage to.
33:20 Joanne Lockwood
I because victoria corra mitchell is is a well-known millionaire poker player isn't she and and you're right I've I spent a lot time in casinos in my youth probably too much actually and it was. It was very much of an ilk at the the 2 o'clock it's I'm not saying everybody's money laundering but there seems to be a lot of.
33:40 Joanne Lockwood
Sort of restaurant money going through the ah through the tables at certain points of the evening. Um, you can always tell there's a certain community there and it's very few women very few well virtual, no nobody with a disability that I've ever remember the tables are too close together. The 2 crowded the steps down into the place they see the establishment. So yeah.
33:46 Esi Hardy
So yeah. Limit and.
34:00 Joanne Lockwood
But yeah, ah, why not? yeah if you' it's but again, its Stereotypes doesn't it people imagine that your life is so and I were unfulfilling. How could you have time for a hobby have you got is in having a disability a full-time job. Ah.
34:11 Esi Hardy
And a hobby that the attituded because obviously you do to play in casinos you have to have a certain amount of money. Don't you so a hobby that actually means that you're financially your the. For argument's sake. In this case, you're financially stable I know you can argue that you're not very stable financially if you're a gambler but that's not always the case we see Billionaire gamblers. Um, but um, yeah to to kind of be in that with that perception that actually also we have a spending power but as I said I do. Is that my advantage and which is quite good but then when they realize I know what I'm doing they stop thinking. They almost forget that I'm disabled and think oh shit I need to sorry to swear on your podcast and oh no I really need to watch out for this person or sometimes I do rubbishly and I think oh. You've hit the whole side down. Um, so there's a bit of both there.
35:09 Joanne Lockwood
I yeah, my my game was mainly blackjack and I I love playing the last 1 or 2 boxes on blackjack and there's an immense responsibility because you get the last cars before the dealer so you can almost set you can almost you know if if you if you take a 10 and the deal's got a 3 everyone looks at you going that was the dealer's 10 you just stop the deal to go us there. It's like oops sorry my bad I let the deal I let the dealer get blackjack. Sorry my fault. Um.
35:31 Esi Hardy
You a hell. Yeah, so I'd love to have another podcast specifically on Blackcha with you because I always wonder whether it's better to sit the next youdo on the side but just before the dealer or just after the dealer. So that's for another podcast.
35:53 Joanne Lockwood
Yeah I always like I was like that last box because then nobody else can interfere with any cast between you and the dealer which if you have the first box you you could have 5 other people in your way.
35:56 Esi Hardy
And by love to and hold your opinion.
Yeah, yeah, love you've got my love. Yeah and all yeah, you yes is it's more of an yeah no I will remember that for next time not that I'm always paper Oh they feel it.
36:16 Joanne Lockwood
Yeah, well that way you play the dealer. You're not playing with everybody else and the dealer and that's how I like to.
36:22 Esi Hardy
Wow Yeah, ah you know that everybody's got rid of those awful cards and they've gone bust and you've shouldve got an opportunity. Yes.
36:29 Joanne Lockwood
Um, yeah, but there's there's like 6 decks in a shoe isn't there. So it's not like yeah and you go on this sort probability bias. You know you think? Well, there's been four 10 s already there can't be another 1 but that's.
36:35 Esi Hardy
Here You have this.
Yeah, and house always wins. Yeah um I used to have Apa who was a groupier before she worked for me. Um in Star City in Australia and she told me um, that because we used to go and play.
36:44 Joanne Lockwood
Gambler's fallacy the course is going to be another 1 It says if it's random. It's random and it.
37:01 Esi Hardy
Occasionia I will also stress Occasionally, we used to go and play um and she would or you know if he sat down at the the blackjack table people would immediately get up and she'd say that's because we sat down and we disrupted the play which I also thought was so Interesting. So She said as a black tack. Etiquette is to ask permission. Do you mind if I sit down here before sitting down. Yeah yeah, yeah, interesting. Yeah, maybe we should start a spinoff podcast on.
37:24 Joanne Lockwood
Yeah I was always say is this box freak and I sit here is that? Okay, yeah, yeah.
37:37 Esi Hardy
Ah, gambling etiquette and you know best behavior Best practice intersectional like yes, yeah yeah, I'd be up for.
37:40 Joanne Lockwood
And intersectional poker. Ah well, how about we just have a night out and get a casino. We just have a bit of a laugh 1 night that sounds like a good idea as so doesn't.
37:51 Esi Hardy
I am definitely up for any time I'm up for that. Yes, and I like the tournaments because then you only lose a um obviously win um a certain amount because you you play your certain amount and then you play till you're done and if you're doing well'll keep you there for five hours or so
38:09 Joanne Lockwood
Yeah, yeah, it can go good. It can go bad I I used to start with with fifty pounds and that was it and sometimes I come out with a lot and sometimes I come out with my bus fare. So okay.
Yeah, yeah, exactly a yeah yeah.
38:26 Joanne Lockwood
So the government is ah is lot of public view and it's national disability strategy because we look at investment in in minority characteristics or marginalized communities disabilities consistently being underinvested. Not not just in government but in Organizations. So. This national disability strategy that the government launched was it back in septemberish or something like that. What happened you know it was a launch and then is I've heard I've heard nothing more about it since a damp script.
38:56 Esi Hardy
I Haven and I haven't I've been looking up for the updates I've been kind of reading you know, looking out for the articles and there's nothing I think you know without getting too political I think that this is very you can't even blame this specific government but it's it's. Very indicative of government and disability really or governments and anything that's not within what they wanted to be that actually will put that out. It'll shut people up for a few months and then they'll forget about it. But actually we're at a stage now that we're not going to forget about it. Disability strategy from the minute it was released um, did not have any kind of there was there was nothing as substantial in there to say how the change was going to happen or even understanding of what the barriers were I think they interviewed a maximum of. 16 disabled people. I mean you know representing the entire population of the uk and 16 and experiences for disabled people and all of the disability charities of most of the disability charities that the talked to were not you know they weren't. Um, use led organizations or disabled people's organizations so run by you know people that know best about disability I e disabled people. So from the very beginning the strategy rec set to fail and you know there is an argument and like I've had not getting too political. There's an argument is that deliberate is that strategic move so we can say we've done something but then don't have to potentially do something and what it you know what it does Joe is it further influences it further embeds to society that oh you know, disabled people are not as important as blah blah blah. And it embeds kind of the the feeling that the disability comes lowering in quotes oppression olympics because actually even if the government aren't doing anything substantial. You know, obviously it's not that bad obviously disabled people are just complaining. They could do more if they wanted to but they just don't want to. And all last year all in 2020? Um, when we were locked down and when we were what when the government was meant to be strategizing to make sure that we all had what we need disabled people were completely ignored um from any kind of strategy or support that was going on whether it was. You know how disabled people are going to be treated if they're exempt from wearing masks to social care. Sorry you started on a rant apologies.
41:32 Joanne Lockwood
Just do you think that? no no no no I'm umm I said I keep the rant going a bit longer so you've got things like the the invictors games you've got help for heroes which in in 1 breath and even weve got the paralympics but in 1 breath that looks as though it's raising the profile.
41:52 Joanne Lockwood
Of people with disabilities disabled people. But it's only raising the profile of certain parts of disability isn't it. They're more like the the affluent part of disability or the the sponsored part of disability where people you might argue that if they're taking part in these events they they are. Fairly privileged compared with many people with the lived experience who are maybe born with a disability or acquired disabilities earlier in life that don't have kind of Navy Pensions or Army pensions to fall back on or support of organizations. It is creating a very 2 wo-tiered disability sort club isn't it.
42:28 Esi Hardy
Well I think yeah I do think so and I do yeah and definitely I heard something years ago when somebody said to me literally I go to y disabled people don't get on with more I mean you see these ex- army people that that do everything they want and I just responded while they've got millions of pounds to do it. Where are millions of pounds and then we'll do everything that we want as well and actually again, that's an assumption that people are doing exactly what they want and I think also I think you're absolutely right? So I'm not going to repeat what you just said, but also not everybody wants to be sporty. So even if we do have the opportunity. We don't necessarily want to be there so you're right it it creates a very linear kind of view of disability because it's a certain type of b person with certain types of advantages that go in for those games. There are also certain personality types. Um because we don't always want to be sporty. And I remember the two thousand and twelve Olympic or paralympic sorry people were saying afterwards. Oh you know, disabled people are so lazy because look at the paralympics and say well actually you it's where can I start. Yeah, the isolation is not laziness. Isolation comes from lack of opportunities lack of provision in order to do something else. So if you don't physically have if you need 1 if you don't physically have a personal assistant to help you get dressed in the morning. How do you get out of your house.
43:43 Joanne Lockwood
43:57 Esi Hardy
If you're not physically going to be engaged in in the interview process when you apply for a job even if you can ah get over those barriers of applying for the first place then you don't have the money to go out and engage in the things that you want to engage in and so on and so forth you know I think you know games are actually the paralympics. Was kind of created by disabled people in the disability movement. The games are brilliant but you're right, it gives a very linear view of what disability is and also kind of that excitement around the games lasts as long as the games do and then it disappears again.
44:34 Joanne Lockwood
Yeah I think the thing I've seen on the news recently that I felt really really positive around was the support for people with down syndrome how they're now providing lifelong guaranteed support and care and financial support. It. It meant a lot to me because my. 1 of my best friends their son is as downs and their son was born at around the same time as as our daughter and so I've I've I've grown up in a world where my daughter my son 1 of their best friends. Has downs and we've we went camping and we've we've done stuff so we've known known daniel for for many years and I I was never even though I was never really aware that the life expectancy of someone were downs used to be around teenage so many downs people. Didn't out so outlive their parents and I remember talking to my friend about this and 1 of their long-term concerns is what happens when they are not able to look after this andan he still has Needs. He's not Independent. Couldn't cook for himself. Is yeah, certainly not Independent. He does work. He's got jobs and and it's very proud that he's got girlfriend etc. Um, but they were really worried about what what What his future would hold and it wasn't till the announcement. The news a couple of weeks ago that I really appreciated.
45:57 Joanne Lockwood
The fact that the life expectancy is on the downs now is in their sixty s or seventy s or even older I mean there's no kind of life limit now. So yeah, it's these are the things we've got to start looking at as a society we've got ageing population. My parents are in their 80 s my my my father on mother-inlaw in their 80 s now my mother-in-law is very. Infirm hardly walks. My father can hardly walk either even even a 2 inch step is a bit is a big challenge for my dad now. So yeah, you get into your my age. What late fifty s you suddenly start Realizing. It's not just around this stability in terms of. Ah, birth or acquired car crash. Whatever it may be.. There's also infirmed us through age and we we are growing a population now who are going to be more and more infirm later in life and we've got to start investing and putting support in place because I'm now thinking.
46:52 Joanne Lockwood
Actually that's me as well. That's me in 1015 years time I can't be selfish I can't I've got to think about why wasn't I think about this 40 years ago when I started doing my pension I should have been thinking about not only my pension but also the social.
47:07 Joanne Lockwood
Environment that I want to grow up in and I think that's where we're starting to get to now we starting to realize that we can't just keep ignoring this.
47:13 Esi Hardy
But you know I think I do agree with you. There were 2 points in there that I want to raise um you can't ignore it just so that you can remind me in a second when I will inevitably forget. So the first point is you know it's going to happen to all of us. But then a point that you made before was. Um, that you know the government of the kind of embedded all these things so that people with down syndrome are supported. Um forever essentially um, but we can't just leave but there we can't forget that you know what goes into creating. Good meaningful support for people. So it's not about what I worry about these things is it means that we create these date hinters or these homes and stick people in them and and say oh we supporting so that's not what support is it's making sure that people with down syndrome a part you know are. Collaborating or co-producing their own support and actually the people delivering that support understand how important that is for people to live through the life that they want to not the 1 that's handed. Um, and also the other point that that you made about you know it's going to happen to all of us that you're not wrong. You're absolutely correct. But um I don't think it's good enough for people to think about that because first of all it means that they only have to start thinking about it for their future. Not for their now you know we we need to be. We need to be in but we're not in and we need to be striving all the time for a society. It's equal because we're human beings not equal because we're going to get there eventually equal because we want to live in a world where everybody has equal but like actual equal opportunities and we know that that we we create equitable opportunities in all. For the experience to be equal for everybody. So that's what I mean by equal opportunities. Um, yeah, we can't just say oh it'll happen to me 1 day therefore I should look out for it. We have to say well, there's lots of people that are not in such a privileged position as I am we this isn't good enough. We need to be moving to a world where everybody is ah has the same advantages and.
49:27 Joanne Lockwood
I I completely agree on what you're saying I think human nature is you tend to see things that are in front of you or around you if you're not touched by disability in any way. Then? why is it relevant to your your privilege says. It's not my concern privilege says I've got other things and I haven't got it easy either is what privilege says. It's only when your privilege bubble gets a bit burst or distorted 1 day you go aha now I get it So that's kind of the reality human nature I'm not saying it's right I'm not saying we should We should.
Yeah, but no, you're right? It's yeah, but you know you know I'm sure your listeners are the type of people that do it because yeah, we're human beings and we all deserve to be treated equally um, whatever that means for us.
50:05 Joanne Lockwood
50:21 Esi Hardy
Um, and so we have the opportunity all of us have the opportunity to influence out and.
50:27 Joanne Lockwood
Yeah, and and and that's definitely the challenge. We've got to keep the momentum up keep the keep the stories up keep hearing and listening any right? We can't just wait until we in our fifty s and go Oh actually I mean if you think about it when you yeah.
50:36 Esi Hardy
And keep doing as well. Yeah, oh God that's gonna be me. Yeah, but also you're right hearing and listening but also doing.
50:47 Joanne Lockwood
Um, yeah, we got start yeah hearing the stories we got. We're talking more about it's not more about Dementia support now people are more focused on that again because we're living longer and a're healthier longer. It's almost like a gsr battery. We go on and our knowledge until suddenly we stop.
51:06 Joanne Lockwood
And the cliff edge is a lot more defined now whereas maybe in the past we drifted into old age and things are gradually worse now. Things are our body is kept alive. We have hip replacements. We can do more we can do more until suddenly maybe our brain gives in our heart gives in or or something else gives in and. It all kind of crashes together. So dementia parkinson's hearing sight arthritis joints, etc. So everything starts to come together at that point in life where we where we become. Become disabled. Really we we go back to our 2 year old south where we can't do anything for ourselves anymore we have to be fared we have to be looked after and and yeah I think we as a society have to have to create environments where people can have an expectation of wow a quality of life.
51:58 Joanne Lockwood
And you say not just being stuck in a home but actually something that is challenging. You can still play poker. You can still listen to Robby Williams you're not sat in a bed all day um, waiting for someone to come a feed you or change you or turn you and that's that's your only activity and I think that's the reality for a lot of people still doesn't it.
52:13 Esi Hardy
I Think so I think so and we need to be moving toward the world where kind of the I don't know fifth generation coming of disabled people. So oh my God What you couldn't get on a bus easily. Do you know what? I mean so that it's so new to them that that it's it's shocking.
52:30 Joanne Lockwood
52:32 Esi Hardy
Ah, be it like what is a telephone box.
52:37 Joanne Lockwood
Ah, so you whilst you I know your passion is is completely around disability and that's your focus. You also understand the intersectionality of it and you're you're doing some work with another organization as well. Aren't you.
52:49 Esi Hardy
Yeah, um, yeah, so I'm a trustee of a a charity called Pararide um, which is an lgbd 2 plus Disability Charity. So It's where the intersectionality of the 2 meet. Um, so. Because there there again getting into misconceptions about inclusion and Accessibility. There's a massive misconception that disabled people are disabled and therefore they don't have relationships and so this charity was brought about to recognize that disabled people are more than. Impairment that actually they want relationships. Um, they want to be loved and loved outwards as well and that could mean lots of different things for lots of different people and to what L um parapride specifically strive towards is um, educating. And influencing venues to be accessible for disabled People. So Lgbdque plus venues to be accessible and inclusive for disabled people by empowering showing people What is possible than supporting people to know how to get that.
54:00 Joanne Lockwood
Because people people kind of show up sometimes up.
54:01 Esi Hardy
Because you know historically I mean know if you know the reasons historically um agptq plus venues are not accessible and because the venues had to be grabbed where they were and now we're in year 2000 forty 1 and they're still not very accessible. Um, so it's about changing that.
54:19 Joanne Lockwood
Yeah I've heard people remark on the fact that a wheelchair uses having a family a wheelchair user has relationships a wheel 2 user has sex How does that work and then suddenly how can someone who is blind Or. Or deathaf or has ah an impairment in some other way. How can they be gay as well is kind of haven't they got enough on their plate to worry about without being gay and disabled is like this sort shock horror and it's like hang on a minute you're you're not seeing into the soul in the heart of the person you're looking at the skin and the shell and they think.
54:57 Joanne Lockwood
Whoever you talk about they think in the same way as you do they think in the same way as I do I Love they look they laugh they they cry and they feel all the same emotions and the disability is just shell of how they interact with society and some people are still amazed. Yeah.
54:58 Esi Hardy
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
And I you know what kind of it may be that That's not just to do with disability though that might also be to do with being a woman. Um that that people think oh a woman playing poker.
55:15 Joanne Lockwood
You play poker and it's kind of how does it ah crazy and.
55:30 Esi Hardy
Um, and I I Also think it's kind of an outlaw blue Hobby. It's not a hobby that many people are doy is it? Um, so I do think it is to do with my disability but also my other intentional characteristics. Um or identities and come into that a lot as well.
I I think yeah, I'm not gonna be patronizing I think it's important for everyone to be an ally to someone or to to another group or to another community because I could spend all my time being transgender being in the lgutt community but I feel that I've got some energy to be. And advocate and ally for other people and outside of my own sound of a sound of my own self if you like but I also recognizing that we're all intersectional. We all have something about us. There's always There's always more to us than that and disability I think you've always said in the past people with disability come from all walks of life.
56:25 Esi Hardy
56:27 Joanne Lockwood
And background and all futures if you like so it's it's really really important to think about how we can bring that together and when you first told me you were involved with power of pride I envisaged people jumping out of aircraft with with parachutes or so gay gay ravines or something. Ah.
56:54 Esi Hardy
I Agree the name parapras The power comes from paraplegic Obviously um and the the pride comes a big proud. But absolutely yeah, do sometimes it does take and I agree with you I think that we do need to. Um.
56:59 Joanne Lockwood
Yes, I get that.
57:12 Esi Hardy
That Actually if we want to continue striving towards equality. We need to step up outside our own world and think about how we can support each other's by being allies and you know I'm a really strong promoter of the fact that an ally doesn't have to be a formal position. So You don't need to write down somewhere that you're an ally and I is just about your behavior and your compassion and empathy for another person.
57:36 Joanne Lockwood
I Think you yeah complete ah completely agree and I also think it's not. It's not something you shall ward yourself. It's not a medal or a badge you're trying to collect. It's something that you that through words deeds and actions that people award you I think I'm very very passionate about that.
57:49 Esi Hardy
Yeah, its so true. It's so true. Yeah, so true. Um, yeah, that.
57:58 Joanne Lockwood
Well, we've been g nattering away now actually for a couple of hours. we we had we had an hour in the green room before we started. So we've been talking 1 morning and I could talk to you forever. And in fact, I'm looking forward to getting together for. Another another steak dinner somewhere or game a poker in the near future when we can meet up. Yeah, yes, let's brilliant. Love too.
58:15 Esi Hardy
Let let's do it. Let's go to the empire in London with your steak and hope ah 2 2 for a price 1 and probably not for the price of 1 to be fair, you know in a casino. It will definitely be the price of 2 But yeah, no, let's do it.
58:32 Joanne Lockwood
So right? That's definitely that's definitely a date when we can get out there maybe in the new Year brilliant off to so how can people get hold of you was was your web address. What's what's the best way of contacting you.
58:35 Esi Hardy
So Yen it sounds good.
So I am on Linkedin gram under essie hardy um, which is my name and and I have a um, a website as well which is celebrating disability dot code dot u k um, where it has all my contact details. I'd love to get in touch. Yeah e echoco s for Sierra I fit india it does it run with messy.
59:01 Joanne Lockwood
And an se you spell E s I for those whom and it rises with messy, messy sie. But that does that Well thank you so much.
59:15 Esi Hardy
So what? my uncle used to told me when I was young. He told me messy Esi Hardye.
59:21 Joanne Lockwood
Well I'm sure that you're quite a cute little kid at the time but you' felt Ah, ah well thank you so much and thank you to you? the listeners for tuning in for listening in this far.
59:27 Esi Hardy
I couldn't possibly say if if.
59:40 Joanne Lockwood
Please do subscribe to keep updated on future episodes of the inclusion bytes podcast that's B I T E S, tell your friends tell your colleagues share this episode with them I have a number of other exciting guests lined up over the next few weeks and months and I'm sure you be equally as as inspired by them as well and also. Remember if you'd like to be a guest or you have any improvements on how we can improve this this show and future episodes then please do send me an email I welcome your feedback and suggestions to email@example.com and finally my name is Joanne lockwood and it's been. Absolute pleasure to host his podcast view today. Look forward to catching you next time. Bye.