Andy Bundy, secretary of Havant Area Disability Access Group, talks about accessability to old buildings
I’ve decided to try to be all inclusive this week and continue our look at the Equality Act across a wider grouping of people.
The Equality Act is very efficient.
It replaces many different laws which cover groups with special characteristics, which are age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity.
In fact, in most respects, it does it very well.
Before we get over-excited, we’ll come to see next week that it has its flaws.
Last time, we considered direct discrimination, something well covered by earlier legislation, and compared it to two new types of discrimination known as indirect, and by association.
Between them, these two types covered some huge gaps and flaws in prior law.
We need a good example, maybe a pub, an old-fashioned one, with a roaring fire next to a river.
If we ignore the clientele, the area and condition, the only group legally excluded now are the under 18s – not for lack of trying, of course!
However, go back 200 years, and ‘decent’ women were not allowed in.
Go back 30 years, and people from both sexes, but in ethnic minorities may not have been allowed in.
Go back maybe even 20 years or less, and members of the lesbian, gay and transgender community may not have been served.
I think, now that our pub, with its open-minded laid-back landlord is a model of equality, thus it is no surprise that this story has a happy ending.
Everybody is happy, they even held a reception for a same-sex wedding last week. But who’s seen what’s coming next?
Our pub is old, low ceilings, narrow doorways, and plenty to trip over.
The jukebox is popular and, because of flooding, it is built on high foundations, so customers have to climb steps. This time no-one is to blame.
The owner is willing, but the pub is a listed building.
What’s worse? Not being allowed in or being unable to go in?
By design or by circumstance it still stinks.
What is worse is that this occurs deliberately, and in places not by accident. Excuses don’t help.
Until next week, let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org if you’ve suffered discrimination or simply want to know more.
n Havant Area Disability Access Group: Public Service Plaza, Civic Centre Way, Havant. PO9 2AX