On February 10 at the Central Library in downtown Madison, a group of activists, DJs, and dance-party organizers hosted a panel discussion called Access Denied. It centered around nightlife in Madison, and the Access in question was access for traditionally marginalized people: trans people, people with disabilities, people of color, people struggling with addiction, and undocumented immigrants, to name just a few.
The panelists explored all kinds of ways in which the question of access plays out: Does a venue have wheelchair access? How are people treated when bouncers are checking their IDs? Do venues do enough to prevent and punish harassment?
The panel was moderated by Jessica Williams, who works with survivors of domestic violence. The panelists were UW-Madison psychology PhD student Laura Patricia Manero, Kate Moran of Disability Pride Madison, UW-Madison Afro-American studies graduate student Bianca Gomez, and Orion Wells, an advocate for trans youth of color.
On this week’s podcast, we’ve got a recording of the full discussion. The conversation ranges from racist dress codes to bouncers not accepting foreign passports as a form of ID to the difficulty of accessing events in a wheelchair to how allies can react and intervene when marginalized people are mistreated. We’d like to thank the Madison Public Library and the event’s organizers—Sarak Akawa, Joey Bee, T. Banks, Alix Shabazz, and King Shabazz—for helping us get this recorded.