This is the hill I will die on. I will protect the rainbow. King George commands and we obey. You must return to the place of your birth.
I have not filled in my census form yet. The whole system being down on census night didn’t affect me, because I didn’t even have a log in at that point.
Reminder: I can’t speak. The last time I tried to use the relay service, I received messages all night (for four hours after I disconnected), in which I was threatened, yelled at, and told off for not responding. I have had the operators disconnect and reconnect calls because I didn’t respond fast enough. I also can’t write. Remember how my disability form was written by hand and then the staff kept commenting how “oh, you write backwards?!”. That took me three hours.
First it was that my neighbour, the one who decided to dig up the entire yard for no reason, takes my mail because it looks dirty to have mail in the mailbox (which is why I have to have a PO Box), took my mail. The version of my code which came to my house was returned to me, soaking wet and unreadable.
“May I have a code sent to my PO Box, please?” took three messages. First it was “can I do this, here’s my address?” then it was “this is my street address as well as my postal address” and then it was only sent out the day after the census.
By this time, it had finally filtered through to me (I’m too old for the trans* support group here, so putting the words out to affected advocacy groups didn’t reach me – I saw an article on the ABC) that I need a special form, so that I can write in that I identify as genderfluid. Because, you know, not a girl. Or a boy. Sometimes both. Most times neither. Anyway. I’d written in to request a code for the form, so I disregarded the one that came to the house – a paper form, not an online code. I cannot make my backwards, doesn’t-look-like-letters writing fit on the form.
A week or so after, I received an online log in code. The system was back up, DDoS or whatever happened resolved, so I was like ‘yay!’ and I jumped in to do it.
I was presented with ‘is glittermetalprincess male or female, if neither, please ring the ABS for a new code’.
So I emailed again. Hi! I can’t talk. Please send me the correct code, you know, the one I already asked for and you didn’t send.
This morning (yes! a whole 10 days later!) I received an email which explained how to write in a gender on the paper form, and if I wanted (like, you know, I need to) to do the online form, then, well, I have to ring them for a code.
I have written to them again, this time using all-caps to say I can’t ring them, I can’t write, please send the code.
I expect a reply in a couple of weeks. And, if it doesn’t come before the census due-by date, then, well, just let them try to fine me. Because, you know, I can’t fill out the form because they won’t let me.
In other stunning bureaucratic fails, I’m procrastinating about dressing. I have an appointment for a psych eval for my disability application. Despite being very clear in requesting afternoon appointments, it’s at 11am, and the only way to change it was to call them. I hid the letter so that my parents wouldn’t find it and insist on coming, and naturally managed to lose it, until I prayed very hard and it turned up (praying does work, people – also trashing your room until you find it at the expense of losing everything else important), but after the notice time. I am planning to act extremely displeased and, if I am allowed to type (a valid concern, after last time), I will just say that my first priority is to establish and maintain a routine (you know, treatment 101, routine) without being dragged to hostile IMEs in the middle of the night.
*headdesk* I also need to remind myself that if I feel unsafe I am allowed to walk out and if they reject my claim I am able to deal with that by appealing to the AAT (which is my territory, not theirs, given how, you know, used to be a lawyer). The last IME I had (for workers comp) ended with the psychiatrist throwing me out as I was refused a support person, they dragged a receptionist in (so two strangers in a room, worst idea ever, but they were like ‘well yes, you need one), and the psychiatrist decided that if he yelled at me enough I would magically start talking. His yelling included “that’s not sign language I know sign language and that isn’t it!” when I fingerspelled my name (I can fingerspell, and the only word signs that stick are ‘pain’, ‘mute’, ‘thank you’, ‘i’, ‘bad’ and ‘sorry’. When you sign thank you to your GP and he starts making kissy faces like an Italian chef, you know you’re terrible at sign and he’s a terrible GP. Just for your reference), “why don’t you just talk” and “you know I can tell them to stop paying you”. I started crying, and I work very hard not to cry in public, so that’s how bad it was. He said he would send in a report saying that I was unable to talk because of my condition. The report went ‘missing’ and I was meant to be sent to another psychiatrist. I fought it, asked for the report, got the appointment changed, kept fighting, and due to a fortuitous set of circumstances, got out. Despite, you know, being kicked out of a case conference because of my inability to talk, having a medical certificate saying I couldn’t talk, and the missing report saying I couldn’t talk, they refused to believe it and issued a formal warning.
Clearly, I am not enamoured of having another one, with a practitioner who is not qualified to advise on my condition, in the morning, when I haven’t slept, because the appointment is when I’m meant to be sleeping.
And now this.
While I am forever saying ‘not working doesn’t mean I have time for your demands’, because now all the work I do do is unpaid (family/emotional labour, fandom responsibility, this, my recovery), when I can do things like send letters at 3am… I have all the time in the world to fight these things. They expect me to run out of spoons and bow. So, I take spoons from recovery, and then they wonder “why aren’t you getting better?”
Well… what if you left people alone instead of forcing them to jump through hoops just to be treated with respect?