I’m a non-binary multiple disabled wheelchair user. I was at a music festival in Minnesota summer ‘19. A cop working at the “ADA accessible event” came up behind me and started pushing my chair without asking and I think he said “where are we going”. I’ve been injured & assaulted by cops before and I have PTSD from it. I panicked and yelled “stop touching me I’m being assaulted” as loudly as I could and started wheeling my chair backwards to ram it into him so he’d let go. The cop was startled and let go. He walked away quickly without further incident but it was terrifying, and I fractured my hand and got a couple bruises during my escape.
I experience non consensual touching from people wanting to “help” me in public sometimes but this was the only time I was injured and really upset from it. I felt like it wasn’t done with good intentions, and that I was in danger. It feels powerless to have someone come up behind me and start moving me like that. I still get nervous when people are standing behind me, and I just bought a new wheelchair— an electric model with NO HANDLES.
Criminologist and Co-Director of Centre for Gender Studies at University of Sussex