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Good Things About Women in Secularism 2

Last week, I posted an article here describing the poor accessibility my blind friend and I experienced at Women in Secularism 2. On Thursday, I received a formal, written apology (pasted at the end of this piece) from Dr. Ronald Lindsay, president of Center for Inquiry (CFI), for the accessibility problems. I accept his apology and expect that CFI, on an organizational level, will become more accessible soon.

Am I A Militant?

Earlier this week, I posted an article on this blog called "The Invisible Blind Man" that described the miserable accessibility experience my blind friend and I had at the Women in Secularism conference in Washington, DC. After posting the story, I generally received praise for the article but one blind friend of mine called me a "crazy blind militant" on Twitter. I've also heard the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) and others who speak out aggressively about accessibility called militant.

The Invisible Blind Man

Over this past weekend, I attended the Center for Inquiry (CFI) sponsored, Women in Secularism (WiS) conference in Washington, DC. I have had a total vision impairment for about 15 years, I've attended a lot of conferences during that time and, I have never faced discrimination as badly as I did at this event.

Vocabulary as an Accessibility Issue

Recently, my friend Alastair Somerville, a really smart guy working in accessibility in the UK and I sat in a bar in Bath, England discussing the idea that vocabulary used to describe a concept could create a barrier for people less educated than myself.

Rant Against Disablism: Nothing About Us Without Us!

According to Wikipedia ( the term "nothing about us without us", an ancient term dating back to the Roman era, is "used to communicate the idea that no policy should be decided by any representative without the full and direct participation of members the group(s) affected by that policy." The same tells us that this phrase has been used by people involved in the movement for civil rights for people with disabilities for many years.

Gonz and the X-Dog at QED

I will be attending the QED conference in Manchester England next week. You can easily identify me, I'll have a hat on, I have long grey hair, I usually wear RayBan sunglasses and I will be in the company of a large yellow labrador. I will probably be the only person there with a dog and I will also assume that I will be the only blind person in attendance.

Rebuttal to Mike Calvo on WSJ Live

Recently, my good friend Mike Calvo appeared on Wall Street Journal Live and said a number of things that I believe are misleading and or incorrect. As a matter of disclosure, Mike and I have been good friends for a really long time. I respect Mike for the many contributions he has made to access technology and for his leadership as the only CEO of a notable screen reader company who is also a user of said technology. Mike brings a user's perspective to the products on which he works which is sorely lacking in products from his competition.

Want, Want, Want!

I enjoy Twitter. I use it daily to hear about news in science, skepticism, secularism, humanism and other interests. I also follow lots of friends and I've developed online relationships with a lot of people around the world. For one like me who spends his days at a computer, Twitter provides a fun way to participate in a virtual global community and I enjoy it.

Sex, Blinks and Video Tape

This story first ran on the excellent podcast Pod Delusion, where my friend Tannice Pendergast (@tannice_ on Twitter) read it aloud for me. I recommend that all of my readers go to iTunes and subscribe to this terrific program. I write about disability issues for Pod Delusion and am very happy to have a mainstream forum to discuss issues that face our community.

Sex, Blinks and Video Tape

I have a total vision impairment. Which is to say, I cannot see anything, no light, no shadows, nothing.

The Snake Lady

By: Gonz Blinko

"Play some Pistols!" I yelled, somewhat drunkenly, at the rock cover band playing in a dive Seaside Heights bar. "Play some Ramones!"

The band, who did have some punk in their repertoire, instead launched into some more mainstream rock song. I bellied up to the bar and got myself another Budweiser. I returned to the wall where I had been leaning and lit a cigarette.

"Hey Red," I said to my friend, "These guys suck. Isn't there anything good to do?"


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