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Unread 11-14-2016, 08:35 PM   #1
Phantomtango1
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Discrimination against those with disabilities - Told to remove costumes?

Good evening all,

I am hosting an introductory cosplay panel at the upcoming BroadwayCon. After posting an announcement, someone asked me to address cosplayers with disabilities at the panel. Specifically, that folks with disabilities are often told to get out of costume "because of insurance."

Has that happened to anyone? If so, how often does this happen and what on earth is the reasoning behind it? How did you deal with it and what (if anything) was done to make it right?

I am just trying to understand how widespread of an issue this is so that I can correctly address it and talk to it at the panel if necessary. I've not seen or heard anything like this in the cons that I've attended so I am very ignorant of this issue. It sounds like an inappropriate extreme for any con organizers to resort to.

Thank you for any insight you can offer!

ETA: Please feel free to PM me or email me (phantom@phantomonabudget.com) if you'd prefer not to share publicly.
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Unread 11-14-2016, 10:58 PM   #2
division-ten
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I am blind and have never heard of such a thing. Usually I'm asked why I wear things with no eyeholes and politely explain it makes no difference to me when asking for a disability badge. I need it just as much out of costume as in and I don't use a wheelchair or need elevators.
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Unread 11-14-2016, 11:08 PM   #3
ShinobiXikyu
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Also never heard of that happening, and I've been attending cons for almost a decade. The absolute worst that has even a vague relation to that that I've seen is that either a cosplayer, disabled or not, is wearing such a huge cumbersome and maybe pointy costume in the halls that it's actually being a danger to others (very very rare. Most people who do such crazy builds keep it to stage or outdoors), or that not all masquerade stages can accomodate mobility devices, but since at least several years ago, at most masquerades around here a Cosplayer who can't get their wheelchair or whatnot on a stage is allowed to just do their entry on the main floor in front of the judges with no deductions.
So yeah. Don't know where that claim comes from.
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Unread 11-15-2016, 03:43 AM   #4
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Never heard of that either although my disability is autism and likely wouldn't be one that applies here. But I know cosplayers who are wheelchair users and this has never happened to them.
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Unread 11-15-2016, 12:22 PM   #5
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Honestly, I've never even heard of that before. But, then again, I'm from Europe and not America. (it seems like the weirdest stuff happen in America...?)

One of my friends is a wheelchair cosplayer and, as far as I know, she never experienced that kind of bullshit. Actually she's fairly known in the town she lives in and she has a lot of supporters and friends.
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Unread 11-15-2016, 12:28 PM   #6
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Never heard of or seen such a thing. And I have seen guests in chairs and using other mobility aids incorporate them into costumes in impressive, occasionally unwieldy ways.
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Unread 11-15-2016, 03:27 PM   #7
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Thank you all for your input thus far. I appreciate you all taking the time and am still interested to see if anyone has experienced anything of this sort or no. The comment I received made it sound like this was a full fledged epidemic; so far that doesn't seem to be the case.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ShinobiXikyu View Post
Also never heard of that happening, and I've been attending cons for almost a decade. The absolute worst that has even a vague relation to that that I've seen is that either a cosplayer, disabled or not, is wearing such a huge cumbersome and maybe pointy costume in the halls that it's actually being a danger to others (very very rare. Most people who do such crazy builds keep it to stage or outdoors), or that not all masquerade stages can accomodate mobility devices, but since at least several years ago, at most masquerades around here a Cosplayer who can't get their wheelchair or whatnot on a stage is allowed to just do their entry on the main floor in front of the judges with no deductions.
So yeah. Don't know where that claim comes from.
^ This is more along the lines of what I was thinking - if someone showed up in some crazy huge build of a costume that made it impossible (or dangerous) to maneuver, then I could see them being asked to remove it. Or at least confine it outside or to the stage/main floor.

I'll have to see if the individual chose to follow up with me and explain the situation further. Thanks again everyone!
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Unread 11-15-2016, 03:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantomtango1 View Post
Thank you all for your input thus far. I appreciate you all taking the time and am still interested to see if anyone has experienced anything of this sort or no. The comment I received made it sound like this was a full fledged epidemic; so far that doesn't seem to be the case.



^ This is more along the lines of what I was thinking - if someone showed up in some crazy huge build of a costume that made it impossible (or dangerous) to maneuver, then I could see them being asked to remove it. Or at least confine it outside or to the stage/main floor.

I'll have to see if the individual chose to follow up with me and explain the situation further. Thanks again everyone!
Oh yeah. Most cons have size restrictions on their costumes. If the person was in a wherlchair with serious additions (such as turning it into a car for cosplay) 5)-5 may be the underlying issue.
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Unread 11-15-2016, 05:19 PM   #9
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I can only guess that where it may be an issue is if it somehow is over the convention size restrictions but if the costume size is down to the size of the mobility device then that can hardly be an issue as you can't exactly change that.

Getting my health and safety head on, I wouldn't put it past some anal people who will claim that a costume could interfere with the mobility aids and therefore be a hazard but that would really pushing it and going out of your way to be an ass.
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Unread 11-15-2016, 06:05 PM   #10
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I haven't heard such a thing. :V Not online nor real life. Maybe size restrictions but I've see big props and armor pass by without batting an eye. So I highly doubt a wheelchair can cause a big issue.
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Unread 11-15-2016, 07:13 PM   #11
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Yeah, in 17 years I have never heard of this happening ever. If anything, cosplayers with a clear physical disability are encouraged and do some pretty neat stuff within their limitations, so if this actually happened somewhere once, it would be worth naming and shaming the convention.

Definitely find out where this person saw/heard of this thing happening, if it was first-hand versus "a friend of a friend of a friend read it on tumblr," and specifically what kind of costume was the victim wearing. It is not a trend by any means and I can't even begin to imagine what sort of justification security would have for singling out only disabled cosplayers (if in fact this has happened multiple times versus just once and for reasons other than their disability).
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Unread 11-16-2016, 03:20 AM   #12
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I've only heard of disabled people having trouble at cons twice.

Apparently, I heard some cosplayers in wheelchairs who decided to cosplay as characters in wheelchairs (ex. Tavros from Homestuck) weren't taken seriously by some fellow con patrons who were in the way of the cosplayer, since they thought the wheelchair was only part of the costume, not a real mobility device.

One year I was at Natsucon and due to security issues at a previous local con that year (planning a barely supervised con in a hotel right next to the second-largest Mardi Gras parade in the country...yeah, it's not like drunk people are going to come in and harass people...) there was only one door open for people who were buying or picking up their badges. It was at one end of the venue, so congoers had to walk around the entire building in their costumes in the summer heat. I think at least one person with a medical condition passed out, and a lot of congoers complained about that to the staff.
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Unread 11-16-2016, 05:43 PM   #13
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I've also never heard of this. Maybe when they said "because of insurance" they're talking about the venue's insurance rather than the attendees? Maybe that's what you already meant by my first thought was the attendee's health insurance for some reason. In that case if this even did happen I can only imagine it was due to a costume that was literally a danger to others, as others have already said.

Most cons I've attended are at a huge convention center so there aren't really any limits on cosplays, I even saw one couple that did a mermaid (possibly Monster Musume) and he was just pulling her around on a dolly. That surely could've knocked a few ankles but I kept seeing them around.

The most restrictive I've ever had it is the PAX West last year it got really windy and this one guy who always shows up in a Steampunk outfit on stilts had to be asked to get off them due to the wind, just for his own safety. I'm not sure if they've since enacted a ban on all stilts or if it was just for that one day though.

I do think this could be an interesting (if possibly contentious) topic, but definitely press the requester for more information. You could definitely just take time to talk about those cosplayers who cosplay in spite of their disability, or integrate it into their costumes. That'd be quite a bit more uplifting than focusing on what seems like one nasty rumor.
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Unread 11-16-2016, 06:41 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scunosi View Post
I do think this could be an interesting (if possibly contentious) topic, but definitely press the requester for more information. You could definitely just take time to talk about those cosplayers who cosplay in spite of their disability, or integrate it into their costumes. That'd be quite a bit more uplifting than focusing on what seems like one nasty rumor.
Honestly, my plan isn't to directly address it at all, unless I can substantiate it and it's more than just one isolated incident. Because if all I get is "Never heard of it happening, but here's a vaguely possible reason for it, maybe?..." or the requester doesn't provide me additional details, all I'd be doing is creating a rumor. And that's doing much more harm than good.

I immediately responded to the requester by stating that we always emphasize that cosplay is for EVERYONE. We should all be supportive of each other and it should be uplifting. I also requested additional information about this alleged incident, but if she doesn't want to provide any, I won't be spending any time on this topic on the panel beyond the "cosplay is for everyone" bit. Not worth wasting time and creating potential worry or fear when it is completely unfounded.

Thank you all once again for your time and insight!
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Unread Yesterday, 12:12 PM   #15
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What disability exactly?
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