Closet door stays shut!

Any form of person-phobia is unacceptable. The SU posters associating LGBT with abuse are forthright and difficult to ignore. 10/10 for impact; there’s no doubting the message. Or is there?  What sort of awareness is being raised? Isn’t linking LGBT with hate crime discouraging for anyone wanting to know more about alternative lifestyles?  Deeper meanings may lie underneath but posters are not always the ideal medium for provoking thought; sometimes it’s the surface message which dominates people’s time and attention.

The risk with promoting uncomfortable images is the observer may make the wrong association. Linking LGBT with violence says homophobia shouldn’t be happening but, because it is, you might want to think twice about putting yourself in that position. Nothing positive or reassuring about being LGBT is evident. Result? A missed opportunity. Closet door stays shut. At best, the viewer is unavoidably reminded of the lack of space in social discourse for difference and that legislation against discrimination is never enough to prevent it.

blind people use computers – get used to it!

The recent publicity over the Amazon e-book reader Kindle is notable for the furore over DRM and the lack of publicity over its inaccessibility. Reams are being written about Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) the digital watermark which limits the use of downloaded files and gives the content provider control over what happens to the content. There’s two ways of looking at this. Firstly it protects copyright by preventing unlicensed copying and distribution (ensuring profits for publishers) and secondly publishers are stepping over the mark by imposing ‘rights’ as ‘restrictions’ that are more extensive then the existing copyright laws for non-digitised text. Unauthorized distribution of digital media has been almost impossible to control and the ebook industry is tackling this from the start; looking at the much pirated music and film industry for guidance.

 I have no problem with this ongoing debate. What concerns me is the way in which profits are in the driving seat. The voice of those unable to read the e-book screen is scarely being heard but their access is being denied when ebooks could make a huge difference to quality of life. Blind people use computers – get used to it. Digital data has the potential to transform communication and offer access to information for everyone not just those with eyes to see. The BBC have published three short video clips about e-book readers in the past two weeks and not one mentions access issues.

The lack of media interest in this blatant continuation of discrimination is appalling.