Wheelchair Bathrooms: Because Peeing Your Pants Sucks

Great news: A group of people in Ottawa are finally pushing for more wheelchair accessible bathrooms.  While the initiative is still (very) small, it gives me great hope that this issue is actually being talked about.

Obviously, my personal situation biases me in favour of lighting a fire for this cause. It’s no secret that much of my life revolves around the availability of a wheelchair accessible bathroom. In fact, if I’m going somewhere where I know said bathroom doesn’t exist, I’ll purposely dehydrate myself to avoid a problem. If I don’t have enough notice to do this, I often just bail altogether, claiming sudden illness or simply going radio silent for the night.

It’s funny to me then, when people act like accessible washrooms are some sort of added bonus in a place that already calls itself wheelchair accessible. Like “Oh look! A ramp. Oh, and you can pee too! Tonight’s gonna rock.” Do ablebodied people high-five each other when they realize they don’t have to pee in a bush, because civilization provides them with stalls? Accessible bathrooms should not be treated as an option, or an added treat on top of other accessibility features. They are a necessity for many PwD, for comfort, hygiene and  societal inclusion.

Blame the wheelie?

Blame the wheelie?

Thankfully, some lovely movers and shakers have finally taken this issue under their wing, beginning with pushing for accessible bathrooms in Ottawa’s core and in our up-and-coming LRT stations. As it stands, legislation only requires accessible bathrooms at the start and end of the rapid transit routes, with nothing wheelchair friendly at the stops inbetween.Ideally, the group , who goes by the name GottaGo! would like to see an accessible bathroom at the stations along the way, as this benefits PwD, parents with young children, people with intestinal struggles, and senior citizens.

Time is of the essence, as with many social issues, and GottaGo! is looking for as many signatures as possible by the end of August. Please click around and sign the petition here. If you want more info, email me or leave a comment. GottaGo! is always looking for allies,  and people who want to get involved. It’s for the good of bladders everywhere.