Chapter 5 — Precisely Who is our Club For?
Alan and our other physically disabled members thought it was very important, for them, that people with learning difficulties should not be included.
This was because many of them had been assumed to have learning difficulties just because they were physically disabled, and they wanted to have the chance to mingle in a club where they could enjoy intelligent conversations together. So, we made a rule that we would only accept people who could understand and complete our application form, in writing or on tape.
Equally, volunteers running Outsiders, chose to exclude people who cannot really handle their own affairs in a dignified manner, and cause trouble. This excludes people with brain injury and mental illness.
Those with social disabilities such as shyness, phobia and were included. Obviously, it was felt important that anyone expressing prejudice against disability, and people who were racist, should not be allowed to join.
The application form was discussed, designed and re-worked, over and over, until we were happy that it asked exactly the right questions. Questions were designed to alert us to applicants who are unable to handle their own affairs, have condescending or bad attitudes, are prejudiced or have an exploitative motive.
The questions also ensure potential members see what kind of club we are, and they begin to look at their attitudes to themselves, as the first step towards self acceptance.