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I've now recovered enough to do this thread about my visit to @Aust_Parliament the other day.
I've become increasingly reluctant to visit because its usually an awful experience. Occasionally I get lucky, but this wasn't one of those days, in fact it's one of the worst experiences I've had so far getting into @Aust_Parliament
Why? Well, security. Because I come with a power wheelchair I'm not standard, so the usual security checks don't apply for me. Of course I travel a fair bit so its not like I'm not familiar with security checks & how to make them work well.
@Aust_Parliament though is a whole extra level & it doesn't matter what I do I get the treatment. Its worse than JFK & they are pretty extreme
Before I leave home I remove everything that I absolutely won't need while at @Aust_Parliament. So on this day I had a bottle of water, my glasses & a notebook.
It was lovely arriving to the new auto doors, first time I've entered the building under my own steam. Bonus! The joy ends there though.
As I approach the bag scanner I stop & remove my handbag, which is a special detachable arrangement we've constructed specially with @Aust_Parliament in mind.
Already, before I even get my handbag detached a security guy is approaching me. This isn't terribly unusual. I make sure I'm breathing calmly
The security guy moves straight behind me & tries to take my big bag off the back. I tell him its fixed (for anti theft safety), I also ask him to speak to my face not the back of my head
He asks me if he can check inside the bag & I agree, he has a wand, this is pretty standard practice & usually he'd wave it around in there & that would be it. I've got the water bottle, glasses & notebook (& a spare carry bag like we all carry these days).
Next thing I know he's unpacking the lot & doing a mega strip down of the bag. All this is happening behind me, I can't see what he's up to but its rigorous enough to be pushing me in the back.
Eventually you get to go through the metal detector. Of course always set them off (120 kg of chair & truck batteries) & I do my standard go to the end & move around to the side so they can put the wand over me
When I get to the end there is a barrier in the way, have to ask for it to be moved so I can get out of the way of anyone else coming through.
Sudden there are 3 security people swarming all over me. The original guy & 2 others. Its like I'm unusual so I must be "wrong", its really overwhelming. My stuff has still not come through the scanner
There are 2 people behind me, I can't see what they're doing. There is a woman to one side of me, she demands I take off my coat & scarf (not quick or easy for me). I do my best
As a trauma survivor I start to feel myself going into dissociative mode, switch off until this is all over I'm being pawed, jostled, swarmed over by 3 security people & I'm still in the main space where all visitors come through
For the third time I plead with the original guy to replace everything as he found it otherwise I won't be able to reach what need. I can only turn one way & I have my bag carefully packed so can access things
By this stage I feel utterly demeaned, like a lump of meat. I'm being put through the wringer because I'm not standard, they're treating me pretty brusquely
I try to stay calm, keep breathing, my stuff comes through the scanner so i try to reattach my handbag. I ask the woman if we're done. "I just want to check your belly."

What ??!!
I'm so angry, demeaned, jostled, can't think how to respond to this utterly unexpected demand. I grab all of my layers, pull them up to my chin & show her my underwear.
Do they ask to feel the bellies of pregnant women, what about the beer guts of male visitors, or is this a lovely new trick they've devised just for wheelchair users?
Are we done? Finally I'm allowed through & join my colleagues in the foyer getting security passes, I tick my name off the list (yeah I was expected) & go on my way.
I discover that m stuff was just chucked back in my bag as I try to find my glasses. I can't find the bottle of water & end up being unwell because I can't rehydrate (I find it eventually when I get home)
A couple of days later I discover that in trying to remove my bag the security guy damaged the attachments. This results in my umbrella being completely shredded , so now I'm up for a new one
I've taken @Aust_Parliament security to @AusHumanRights twice. Clearly they don't care & have no organisational memory. Every visit is a lottery. Do I get the treatment today? Will I be criminalised for being disabled??
The new entry was accompanied by new uniforms. They've ditched the grey trousers & white shirts & wear all black now. Guess its matches the general toxic culture of Parliament House.
This was one of the worst experiences I've had with them, being swarmed over by 3 guards, being jostled, pawed at & asked to strip down.
I used to be a cabinet staffer. I was on my way to an invite event & I was dressed to suit. I can't imagine how they treat tourists. I dread to think.
So I'm back to hoping I don't need to go to @Aust_Parliament anytime soon. Message I'm getting is disabled people aren't welcome, that we're an inconvenience & should be punished for being different. #AbleismExists
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