The Way We Roll

Is becoming disabled desirable? Telethon's back. Now I find, I've changed my mind and opened up the doors, Help me!

November 13, 2020 Season 2
The Way We Roll
Is becoming disabled desirable? Telethon's back. Now I find, I've changed my mind and opened up the doors, Help me!
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

It’s the 1 to 1 show where Phil and Simon chat over the latest topics. 

If you’d like to hear two liberally minded, disabled men get themselves in an academic mess, this is the show for you. 

Simon mentions an academic article from the New Discourses website, that asks if radical disability studies support ‘transableism’. This is when someone who is not disabled feels that they are. They may seek surgery to get the impairment they feel they (should) have. This raises complex questions on the ethics of medicine, of identity and disability identity, of trans subjects more broadly. It gets tricky asking if impairment or disability is desirable and where does it fit if disability is a social construct? 

If you’re still listening, Phil steers us to safer activist ground by asking is the telethon making a comeback? It follows the return of the Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon in the US, that used to be Jerry Lewis’ project and now Kevin Hart is the lead. 

Finally, we ask why some people can help us and we don’t mind, even welcome it? They help us with things that we can probably do perfectly well. Where’s our pride and independence? Do some have an aura? Is it based on our relationship with them that means it’s welcome and not intrusive?

A thank you to Susan Scott-Parker for sending us articles that helped with the topics of this show.


New Discourses Disability Studies 

Need to register but free Telethon returns 

You can find us in Apple Podcasts or Spotify The Show is also available from BuzzSprout 

If you have any comments, feedback or suggestions, please email us at  

We hope you enjoy it.

Announcer  0:00  
This is the Way We Roll with Simon Minty and Phil Friend.

Simon Minty  0:12  
Hello and welcome to The Way We Roll with me Simon Minty

Phil Friend  0:16  
and me, Phil Friend.

Simon Minty  0:18  
This is the one to one show Phil and I shoot the breeze talk about hot topics. When we are recording, we are in the UK and it is the early days of the second lockdown. How are you, Mr Friend?

Phil Friend  0:34  
I'm much the same as I was before the early part of lockdown. I've not really been unlocked, I think,

Simon Minty  0:42  
what about how you anticipating the next month,

Phil Friend  0:47  
I'm going to miss my family. So I'm not looking forward to that. I think that's the main event for me, we were seeing a bit more of the children and the grandchildren and so on and that's going to stop. So yes, that's very sad.

Simon Minty  1:02  
I will miss my little social network of going out for a meal or a walk I am saying that but, I can do the walk, I can walk around the park or walk along the river. So long as I stay apart and don't travel too far.

Phil Friend  1:17  
I was gonna say we often talk about the differences between us my age and the fact that I live with Sue and so on and so forth. But I'm also reminded that you have your parents as you know, relatively dependent on you. So that's going to be affected hugely, isn't it?

Simon Minty  1:32  
I've offered it to be a bubble, I didn't form a bubble last time with them. If you're abroad and thinking what? Bubbles are this sort of you can have a close link up with another household. It's structures about single people and not you know, not having a job where you mix them with others and all that. I said to my parents, should we form a bubble? They live an hour and a half an hour away. And I said would you rather have a bubble with a neighbour who might be an elderly person or a friend, who could pop over three times a week and they have a really good social time, as distinct from me who goes down once every 10 days? And they said yeah, we'd much rather a neighbour.

Phil Friend  2:09  
Yeah, well I can understand that (laughter), I've met your parents.

Simon Minty  2:13  
They didn't. I don't think I'll have a bubble but I offered it to them.  Yeah, anyway, I'm a bit anxious about this one. I'm planning things. The last one took us by surprise. Everything was different or novel. This is just a bit grim. And it's dark and it's cold. 

Phil Friend  2:35  
Yeah, that's a big difference, isn't it? You could at least I mean, sit outside or something. But do you think it's because it's a bit of a mishmash? It's not so clear what the rules are? Yeah,

Simon Minty  2:47  
I'm clear on the rules, but it's less hard. I mean, I went down my High Street and 50% of the shops are open, what is deemed essential, is a lot broader. The risk of this some of the epidermiologists, which is the word I've just about learnt

Phil Friend  3:03  
Isn't that epidemiologist? Epiderm is skin, isn't it?

Simon Minty  3:07  
So I still haven't learned it. Some of the experts, you'll leave it in won't you for the sheer hell of it! 

Phil Friend  3:15  
Simon made a mistake!!

Simon Minty  3:18  
Some of the experts have said because it isn't draconian enough, it may not have an impact that we want. Boris Johnson, our Prime Minister saying it will but if it doesn't have the impact, it will go on for longer. We will have to see what this lockdown is like if you are out there, you know we wish you all the best. And I hope it's not difficult and you know, get things in the diary. Even if it's chit chats and stuff, it makes a big difference.

Phil Friend  3:44  
I mean, another thing to ask if you are if there are some issues and you have novel takes on all this, why don't you drop us a line? It'd be good to hear from you. Actually,

Simon Minty  3:52  
That's a great idea and we reply because not that many people write to us. I want to kick off with quite a serious subject. Trans ableism. 

Phil Friend  4:04  
Oh, dear, oh dear. Is there a definition for that? 

Simon Minty  4:10  
Yeah, I'm going to try and introduce it the best I can, there is a link and there's an article which we will put up obviously in the show notes. And it's from a website called New And this one is around disability studies and they're generally I mean, it's a very academic piece. You've got to concentrate you've got read it three times. Sometimes I feel it's a little bit trying to make out you know when people put words in to make themselves even better like I just did, and you kind of go You didn't need to do that. It shouldn't be inaccessible, but they talk about internalised ableism you know, where we don't like what we are and want to be something else. that disability is a social construct. We talk about queer theory that, you know, homosexuality used to be considered a disorder that needed treatment but actually it was down to prejudice and that's changed now. And all of this is fine social models littered throughout. So you know, this is not radical. They mentioned Foucault. I like people who mentioned Foucault.

Phil Friend  5:14  
What is Foucault?

Simon Minty  5:15  
He is a well, I'd say a philosopher. It was last century French one of his books is madness and civilization. And he has a little interesting idea that we're the ones who have got it wrong. People who have what we deem as madness, are looked after in an institution fed and watered, can be whatever they want to be, whereas all of us are on this treadmill of life and work and misery. And have we got it the wrong way around. That's very simplified. Yeah, he's interesting, he flipped stuff. And I like that. If you're still with us listener, there's a last paragraph and I've read this three times. Essentially, they're saying one, even more concerning aspect of disability studies is its potential encouragement of, and support for trans ableism. Trans ableism, is the idea which some people have acted upon, that some people identify as disabled, but live in that able body. Mind notwithstanding, that means it could be a mental health issue. And they're justified in intentionally being disabled. So usually, with the assistance of a medical professional, they become disabled. Disability Studies would in general support trans ableism and the right for people who identify as disabled without being disabled, to have disabling surgeries. So the fact that they're saying this is concerning suggest to me, they're concerned about it, but disability studies may actually agree that this is okay. You still there.

Phil Friend  6:53  
I am still here. And I'm still trying to. You're right. One overarching comment about this article, is that communication is about being understood, isn't it? And I read it like you three or four times, I'm not sure I still understand it. And I'm partly I say that, because I'm not very good at reading very technical, learned papers, if I'm being really honest. But the idea is that this, I should understand it. And I'm finding it very difficult to understand what's being said here, but the trans ablest idea that I feel disabled, therefore, I should become physically or sensorily disabled. seems odd to me. Does this link in any way to big conversations that have been going on with JK Rowling and the gender transgender issue? Is it similar?

Simon Minty  7:46  
Yeah. This is where the end of our careers are imminent. And I will find that only you and I follow each other on Twitter, everyone else has blocked us. Yeah. So we've got to probably take it away from that article and say, where are we out on trans ableism? And what do we feel about it, they acknowledge it, that if you feel that you have a disability, and yet, you don't have anything by all, you know, medical standards anyway that's an issue and I can then understand that some sort of treatment, whether that be you know, working out why you feel that and unless of the stuff that seems sensible to me as distinct from, I feel I've only got one leg, therefore I'm going to have surgery to make sure that I have got one leg and that then links to the trans ableism which is, you know, especially younger people if they feel something it's fine to feel it and exhibit it and do all those things. But then having surgery that couldn't be reversed. You're into a whole new ballgame as well. I've got a selfish moment as well, which was is this not disabled people could be getting blue badges. And then you and I the want to park outside the supermarket can't get in because are not disabled in reality, but in their thinking process disabled people are. Hmm. What you say to that, Phil?

Phil Friend  9:15  
I'm finding it very difficult to get my head around this

Simon Minty  9:19  
online shopping. So nobody goes to the supermarket.

Phil Friend  9:23  
If you might recall this Simon. I remember a case I think it was in America and two lesbian women wanted to have a child, these two lesbian women were deaf. They were sign language users and they wanted a child that was going to be deaf and there was a lot of there was a brouhaha about this and one of the things I remember I don't remember all the details. So please forgive me listener but I do remember something which said doctors are not mandated to injure or you know, cause an impairment or so on, which is some of the basis on why they didn't agree with it, and so on. And it goes back a bit to what I said about in one of our previous conversations, I talked about polio. And I remember saying to you, there's nothing inherently good about polio and there isn't and I stand by that. But having had it and lived the life I've lived, my life is valid, and I have done things and much of my life has been sort of shaped by the fact that I had that disease. So I'm kind of trying to understand why you'd want to be made disabled in order to somehow live your life more comfortably. If you see what I mean.

Simon Minty  10:51  
Yeah, I have less of an issue with that I can understand there may be some sort of mental health or mental ill-health condition, depending on your classification that says some people feel that their body is wrong, what they got isn't what they think they have in their head, and there's a conflict. The question, we've got is that, do we then support them having something done? And that's really tricky, but that's where it does link with trans people in terms of gender? If we support that, that the right as an adult that they can choose to change? Do we have to by consequence also changed or are we saying disability is a different kettle of fish?

Phil Friend  11:35  
Well, we would always say that wouldn't we because we are unique?

Simon Minty  11:39  
But I'm also kind of saying, is it a double? Yeah, no, is it a negative, we've had conversations so switching ethnicity or switching gender, in theory, is still, you know, this is so complex. But disability brings a double whammy. So you're not just changing your identity, you're changing something physical, that could make life a lot more difficult.

Phil Friend  12:01  
Yeah. And I, I get your point, I can remember when I worked as a social worker many years ago, and I came across, I was responsible for a young man who wanted to be a young woman, we are talking many years ago, I mean, this was, well before all the debates that now go on, and the technology is now available, this young man was incredibly uncomfortable in the body he had, and he wanted to change his gender. And he went through a process of psychiatric assessments and all those things. And eventually, it was agreed that he would have surgery to make him biologically in some way. Not biologically sorry, but physically female, and they treated him with hormones, and so on, and so forth. And he became a woman and he changed his name, did all the things back then, because he couldn't change his birth certificate. But now because you can. So I remember the distress of him. I remember how incredibly sad and upset and depressed to use the word right, in that context. Absolutely. So for him becoming female was the cure. So why wouldn't you argue that somebody who feels they are disabled, but in reality, isn't the cure in quotes for them is to be made disabled?

Simon Minty  13:19  
Okay, you know what, and I think we are getting to a point where we may be agreeing with something we didn't think we agreed with. So, the person has the leg off, which is our example, they've had their leg removed by surgery because that's how they felt in their head. That's how their bodies should be. And that's the perfect body for them for want of a better word, they have it off. We then go, Oh, you shouldn't be changing your body that could cause problems. But we also believe that disability is a social construct. And it is our society is developed and set up that disables you. So if you do go that far, then you have to agree that there's nothing wrong in having your leg taken off, because it's a construct its impairment kicking in now,

Phil Friend  14:07  
Yeah, we've muddled up the language, haven't we?

Simon Minty  14:09  
You have! (laughter)

Phil Friend  14:09  
No, I never do that if we want to do that. What we're debating is actually by removing the leg. all we've done is impair him

Simon Minty  14:18  

Phil Friend  14:19  
We haven't disabled him. It's what happens next that might be a problem so he felt, did he feel that he was impaired, but he wasn't. Or did he feel he was disabled? And he wasn't? Which is it?

Simon Minty  14:33  
Yeah. Could be a "she".

Phil Friend  14:36  
Of course, it could be a she

Simon Minty  14:39  
Um, so are we saying that being impaired deliberately by a medical professional is a bad thing?

Phil Friend  14:48  
I think I'm saying that. But it is it in quotes a cure for impairment, ie my impairment is that I feel like this and it's profound. And it's real. Yeah. And by allowing by taking my leg off in this example, I now feel better about myself. Plastic surgery to have your face changed to make. You know, I've also looked after young people many years ago, who had facial issues of one sort or another, who thought plastic surgery would make them more acceptable and under certain conditions, these operations were carried out to improve certain facial features. Our dear friend James Partridge, had he been around might have had, quite an interesting view on all that. So is it a cure? Is the doctor curing the first problem and taking and causing impairment at the same time?

Simon Minty  15:51  
And forgive our sort of lazy language? But is it the lesser of two evils? Was the mental health difficulty saying I feel wrong in this body? Will this bring immense relief when they have that their leg removed and they go Finally, I'm at peace because this is how I feel I should be?

Phil Friend  16:10  
Well, there's some there are all sorts of evidence to suggest that in gender reassignment and all those things, that's certainly what is documented, people do feel better. 

Simon Minty  16:22  
There was a show. My BBC Ouch host, Kate Monahan, her production company made it it was like a, she'll not be happy with me by saying this is like a big brother of disabled people, they all lived in the house. And when they went around the table, one of the chaps who is a middle-aged late aged chap said, I can't remember if he had an impairment at that point. But basically, he wanted part of his leg removed, because he said, it doesn't feel right. It shouldn't be there. And the disabled people around the table go, hello, we've got to get our heads around this. And it was, you know, back to, we want you to feel as good as you should be. But it's it can tangle your head here, doesn't it? That's back to your polio point again, there's nothing inherently good about having polio. So why would you deliberately have it? That would be the flip someone has the mental health, they say, I'm not complete unless I've got polio. So we say to the World Health Organisation, you've got it wrong, bring it back. We need more people to get polio. 

Phil Friend  17:24  
Well, or more than that the doctor injects me with it the virus. it is very interesting, somethings going on that stops me feeling comfortable about. You look at the gender issue. I can see why people would do what they do or feel the need to do you know, I have nothing. I don't have a negative view of that.

Simon Minty  17:55  
We were talking about short people and people with dwarfism. The general consensus which I can't speak for all of us is if you have a child, it has dwarfism fabulous. If you have a child, it doesn't have dwarfism. So be it. There's never been a kind of you must we find that a bit unusual. But we find it also very sad when people with dwarfism choose not to have their child because the child will have dwarfism that's a kind of a tough place to be so thinking we shouldn't have more.

Phil Friend  18:24  
Yeah, I knew a guy who had polio, it affected his left leg incredibly badly, he couldn't use it at all. In adult life, he became a diver and in order to be an effective diver, he had his leg removed. So he could wear a prosthetic leg that he could then control the buoyancy, and so on. So it was done for that reason. I remember the debates that went on about this, you know, but he was adamant that this was what he wanted done. And it wasn't about his feeling disabled he already was this was about making his life easier. So a doctor finds it less difficult to agree with that I suspect 

Simon Minty  19:07  
It's function.

Phil Friend  19:08  
Yeah, it's improved his function in particularly in the occupation that you followed.

Simon Minty  19:13  
And when you're saying there's something that makes you feel a bit uncomfortable, that goes go back to our disabilities, this kind of unique, one of the different equality strands it has this extra element that is a change of physical or mental or something like that, that others may not have. I would be very interested if you listen to this because you're probably listening to it where you're doing your run or you're doing you're in the bath or whatever you happen to be doing listener and you probably thought hold up they've missed this or they could have said that and I'd be interested because what are we missing? I read it and I felt very confused and muddled. And there is one thing I am a bit JK Rowling on which is I want to welcome people in if it lifts us all up. But I don't want it to be that people start trampling on rights that disabled people have spent a long time trying to achieve and suddenly they get watered down by something else I'm kind of, you know, come on board and let's all go up, not pulled down.

Phil Friend  20:15  
I don't know why I'm connecting these two things. But look, I recently on TV, there was a programme on eugenics.

Simon Minty  20:25  

Phil Friend  20:26  
And the guy, I can't remember his name, he's one of, again, your old James Partridge, it was one of the changing faces, sort of advocates ambassador, he was born with the condition where his face had tumours all over it

Simon Minty  20:38  
Was he an "epidermiologist"? (laughter)

Phil Friend  20:42  
He probably was yes!  He and a female presenter. She was Asian or Asian origin. And she and he did this double hander where they were looking at eugenics. And the big debate or one of the big debates in the programme was about where does it stop? You know, where do you stop looking for the gene that will change this or change that. And they talk to a family who'd had children with various things, who then decided to screen out further pregnancies. So these children would not be born. Now I'm connecting what you're talking about to that, and I'm not sure why I am. But there seems to be a connection between changing things that under normal nature-based stuff wouldn't happen.

Simon Minty  21:31  
I presume it's because every single bit of medicine so far has been about removing impairment or removing imperfection or flaw and then there's suddenly these people who have said, You know what, I want one of them.

Phil Friend  21:43  
Yes, that's exactly right. And what of course, is going on in the eugenics conversation, is that somehow this is unacceptable. I mean, it started with race, you know, skin colour and all this kind of stuff. If you weren't white, you were less intelligent, all this kind of thing. So it was kind of about improving the species and getting rid of anybody who wasn't acceptable.

Simon Minty  22:08  
What will happen is if trans ableism is more prominent or dominant then presumably these same medics will then look for whatever the mental or genetic thing that has caused them to wish that they had a disability. Get rid of that rather than saying okay, we can solve it this way or the other.

Announcer  22:25  
This is The Way We Roll presented by Simon Minty and Phil Friend, you can email us at

Phil Friend  22:34  
So Simon you and I are old enough both to remember the days of the telethon. And I ran foul of that programme it was on ITV. It was a bit like Children in Need, although then they're not the same programmes. ITV telethon was to raise money for all sorts of causes, lots of which were disability-related. And it was made regionally each television area made their own programmes and they all went out. And then the disability movement at the time lobbied very very vociferously and very hard and had direct action programmes to have it taken off the air. The reason and one of the slogans pardon, the French was "piss on pity". It was using pity as a way of generating an emotion which made people open their wallets or get their credit cards out. And not to put too fine a point on it worked it raised money. There's no question about that. One of the great ironies of that the direct action I recall, was that many of the demonstrators who went to the Television Studios in London, to campaign against telethon arrived in charity buses because they couldn't get on ordinary buses back then. There's a certain irony there.

Simon Minty  23:58  
I've heard that of another environmental or capitalist, you know, anti-capitalist campaigners. And it's like, well, they're not allowed to buy coffee from anywhere. If you are anti-capitalism. Sometimes you gotta let it go. But I take your point. Yeah.

Phil Friend  24:11  
 So putting my hands up. I at that time, I was doing a lot of disability consultancy work with television companies. And I and one or two other people went and met with and ran disability equality programmes for the producers of these programmes. Me, I suspect very naively thinking that this was another way of getting rid of it. But the people outside doors saw that as me being a traitor and were very angry with me actually. And it took me a long time to you know, get back to some sense of understanding and respect with that group but so that that's what it was about. It epitomised for the disability movement one of the great problems with society, which was You don't employ people you feel sorry for example, you know we have to we're all so dependent on everybody else's help. So that was it. It came off air basically it got nailed. There was such an outcry that eventually ITV decided that it was worth more trouble. You know, they just it was easier to stop it. So they did. I then come across this article in The Washington Post, which I think was sent to us by our friend Susan Scott-Parker and it's called "Why the return of the Muscular Dystrophy Association telethon is unwelcome news". I'll just read a little bit of this, "the one time Labour Day staple, which was the telethon in the US, was notorious for pity peddling and inspiration porn. The reboot with Kevin Hart at the helm in place of the late Jerry Lewis  looks to be no better." I'm, I'm interested in your view of that. I mean, are we? Are we going backwards? Is this a throwback? What is going on? This is in America where you think they lead the world in some of these demos, stuff and their understanding of disability and things.

Simon Minty  26:19  
The Jerry telethon thing was massive. I even from my time visiting the US, people knew about it if people didn't like it, or the people I knew didn't like it. But it was a big old institution. And, and very well known, the fact that it was lobbied and got rid of fabulous, but the Kevin Hart, I mean, you read about it, and this is someone who I want to think better of him, but you read it and you think this is someone who has no idea what the subject is, has no real connection has been plunked in and almost feel that this is about his profile of trying to do something that makes him look good rather than actually any belief in what it might be. And that really got caught up in my throat. I mean, if it was the idea that a whole load of disabled people that are leading it or something, inspirational porn? Was it Stella Young, she was one of the first I ever heard to use it. I take that as we watch some imagery of disabled people and OH, and it makes you feel a little bit better about yourself but very sad for them. And then you reach into your wallet or you go bless or whatever it might be. That's the rubbish place. That's the rubbish implication of this.

Phil Friend  27:36  
But this is 2020 telethon ended back in the 1990s. I mean, what's going on?

Simon Minty  27:46  
There's Comic Relief, there is Sport Relief, and I know Comic Relief in the UK, which is led by comedians and raises money for the UK and international projects. They've said this year, they're not going to make any more films where celebrities go out to Africa or wherever it may be, and pick up a child there who's undernourished and goes, Oh, this is breaking my heart, and then we will pay money. they realise that their equivalent of pity porn and they're gonna make films out there, but they're gonna be led by local people doing pieces.

Phil Friend  28:22  
There are elements of Comic Relief, Sport Relief, and all of those that are similar the differences are that I think what the programme-makers learned was that first of all, the recipients in quotes need to be engaged in the making of the programmes. So they feature in the telethon, it would be the mother talking about the disabled child, there'll be violins playing in the background, soft filter focuses, but you never heard a disabled person speak, that was just not what happened. So some of that's changed. We've got the programming going on, on BBC television, this month around disability featuring a lot of shows where disabled people are in them, starring in them writing them and so on and so forth. And yet, there's this thing going on in the US, and I am trying to work out what is going on at that programme that somebody even thinks they can do it.

Simon Minty  29:18  
Well, that is a great question. Why have we bought it back? Who is behind it? That said, we need to bring this back in? This is a great idea. Obviously, the same part of that question is, did it ever go away? I mean, maybe we think everyone's moved on. But no, the charity model, the tragedy model is alive and kicking. And it's, you know, just as racisms back so comes this really bloody awful stuff.

Phil Friend  29:48  
Well, I think we should get the show out to the States ship it out there you and I should go out and do live podcasting.

Simon Minty  29:58  
I'm yeah, I hope it will be a disaster. Let's hope it just people and sometimes the great public see through these things and they're watching and this is all for this is just out of date and or we shouldn't be paying money, why aren't people working? Or why they got opportunities? Or why haven't they got an education? So let's hope the public diss it as well.

Phil Friend  30:21  
Well, fingers crossed, that I'll take your optimistic view fingers crossed.

Announcer  30:25  
This is The Way We Roll hosted by Simon Minty and Phil Friend,

Simon Minty  30:29  
 A new subject. I'm interested in your take on this. I went for a walk with a friend. And we were going for a walk around the park. And I realised I was quite cold. And so I was getting my coat from the car and she got my coat and helped me put it on now anybody else or particularly, you know, your mum or someone doing this, okay, get off or stop, you know, what are you doing why are you dressing me. Um, but it was okay. And then we got to a place where we can have a cup of tea and she made the tea and she bought it, admittedly she bought it and she squeezed it and then gave it to me. And I was like, Okay, fine. Oh, hang on, that's right it started raining, I had to get back to my car and I said jump in the car and I'll put my scooter in. And you know, your boot is the is covering me because of this rain. However, she jumped out of the car with an umbrella came back around and held this umbrella over me. So there were about five instances of her helping me. And, and I like her, and I, therefore, want to be an independent human male, who can be impressive, and yet she was helping all these things. Yet, every time she did it, I didn't flinch. I just liked it. I thought this is the kindest person on earth. Why can some people help us in certain ways? Whereas other people, we would recoil or we get a bit frustrated by it?

Phil Friend  32:17  
I, I think you said you like her. So you're less likely to resist the offers of help because this is a nice person, somebody you like. So why would you make you know, in some ways, it's easier to let them help than it is to say no, I don't mean easier in the physical sense. You're perfectly capable of putting your scooter away, but what I'm meaning is, the relationship you have and so on and so forth. is not really you know, it's not helped by you saying don't do that for me. 

Simon Minty  32:53  
Ah, but I mean, I'm but I love my mum and I tell her to stop doing it. 

Phil Friend  32:57  
But that's a different relationship.

Simon Minty  32:59  
Yes, but it wasn't just a case of me not pushing back because I liked her or respected her or wanted an easier friendship. I quite welcomed it. I thought, Oh, this is nice.

Phil Friend  33:10  
 You're lazy, then that's the other reason. Your bone idle. (laughter) You didn't want to get up and get your own tea, you didn't want to put your scooter away. You're quiet. happy why didn't you ask her to go to the car and get your umbrella or whatever it was. I mean, maybe you're just bone idle Simon? Or, you were on that occasion. 

Simon Minty  33:27  
Okay, so the fifth time I see her I just gonna sit there lay down and get me ice cream. Cut my hair. Put a jumper on me. (laughter)

Phil Friend  33:44  
This is somebody you said it. This is a nice person who's offering help. It's her natural way she probably does it with everybody.

Simon Minty  33:56  
I discovered she is she's a support worker or was a support worker. And maybe she's discovered that way of helping people supporting people being useful, but in a very subtle, light touch not taking over not insisting. Just got it right. I think there's something about some people are great at this and we just accept it. I think the closest I've ever got to an equivalent is in some women that I know will go if this man puts his hand on my shoulder I shiver it makes me feel awkward. If this man puts his hand on my shoulder, I guess that's welcoming. So there's something that people give off. And if you're not smart enough to work out what it is you need to be careful, I suppose because you could get it wrong

Phil Friend  34:43  
I agree with that. I think that you know, I recognise people who are being patronising as different from those who are being genuinely helpful or trying to be gentle. I do recognise that and I think what you said about this young woman in terms of her way of seeing the world is to be helpful in it, you know, support workers, nurses, people who do these kinds of roles, I think do have a genuine, there's something about them that that causes you to feel less angered if they help or whatever.

Simon Minty  35:14  
Just kind of clarification she's not young, especially as a young woman. And also she was an actor, that's her main job. Maybe there's something that you know, like hanging out with the old theatrical types. I just found it telling because, you know, more often than not, I'm fiercely independent. I do not want people buggering about with me and doing things for me, even when sometimes when I should let them do it. And the fact that you know, stereotype old fashioned, I want to be an independent male as well. And all these things I didn't I just thought no, this is a really nice place to be. Maybe I'm not lazy, but maybe I'm getting older. And think, actually,

Phil Friend  35:56  
That's definitely true you are getting older.

Simon Minty  35:59  
But I mean, more relaxed you go. You know what, this is just welcome. This is nice.

Phil Friend  36:05  
I wonder if it's also to do with I mean, I said it earlier it perhaps bears repetition. There are times when it's just nice to let someone else be nice.

Simon Minty  36:19  
Which is like you being nice to let them be nice, is that what you're saying 

Phil Friend  36:25  

Simon Minty  36:25  

Phil Friend  36:25  
I was in Estonia many years ago, 

Simon Minty  36:28  
That's nice!

Phil Friend  36:28  
 I know, it was very nice. I like Estonia, you leave Estonia alone. Anyway, I was at this meeting. And there was a very elderly woman who insisted as I arrived in taking my coat off. (laughter)  Whether I wanted it off or not, it was coming off. I kind of she only spoke Estonian and I only spoke English. I did have an interpreter. Anyway, it all got a bit messy. And she took my coat.  I was you know, Come off it Leave me alone anyway, I then did what I was there to do. And I finished and then she put my coat back on again. This time, I just let her I thought there's no point. Absolutely no point in me putting up a fight she needs to put my coat on for me she is constructed to do nothing else but dress me.

Simon Minty  37:30  
And you made that happen. I get that. I suppose it does come back to my point though. I didn't there was no problem with the help I got your one you like aargh. I'm gonna have to make a concession here.

Phil Friend  37:42  
Yeah, I just gave up the struggle and she, I don't think there was a bone in this old lady's body that was about being unpleasant or difficult or anything. It was just the natural for her it was I'm in a wheelchair, poor little chap, let's dress him and undress him and do whatever you have to do with him. My feelings and wishes were irrelevant. completely irrelevant. Anyway, it's there are times when it's I mean, Sue my partner's is always looking after me always doing all sorts of things for me I value it hugely. But there is a kind of idea about there is a line where some things she doesn't do. And knows she doesn't do and I don't know it's hard to describe this isn't actually it's hard to define what they might be. But

Simon Minty  38:35  
I think we have to be having I just found it unusual in that situation with that person as  I'm just letting all of this go. And that's unusual.

Phil Friend  38:42  
Yeah. Yeah, well, as you say, getting older.

Simon Minty  38:48  
We don't have a listeners corner this month, because you have not written to us. If you take a leaf out of my book, ask one of your people around you to do it for you don't do anything more. We do like hearing from you particularly that around that trans ableism issue. We're muddling our way through that. So if you've got some thoughts, that would be amazing.

Phil Friend  39:10  
Indeed it would and do please do write to us or drop us a line in some form or other because it would be great to hear from you. And until the next time. take very good care of yourself. 

Simon Minty  39:22  
And I'm going to remind people it's that's our email address. Should you wish to 

Phil Friend  39:28  
That is correct. 

Simon Minty  39:30  
Yay. Thanks a lot for listening. Take care.

Announcer  39:33  
This is The Way We Roll presented by Simon Minty and Phil Friend. You can email us at or just search for minty and friend on social media. We're on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn

Transcribed by

Trans Ableism
On being helped
Wrap Up