What Access–Centered Means

In 2016, I created the Access-Centered Framework, which combines trauma-informed language , a disability justice framework (a movement founded and led by queer, disabled folks, largely Black, Indigenous, and people of color), and my lived experience as a sick and disabled queer (term coined by poet and activist Billie Rain). The term, “access-centered,” was given to me by a friend to title my movement classes and it means that accessibility is a process that is forever changing versus a static state of being.

Because access is a constant process that changes in each space and with each individual; describing something generally as “accessible” seems flawed.  Meeting every single person’s access needs in virtual or physical space, especially under the constraints of late-stage capitalism, is a goal.  The reality is that this is rarely (if ever) achieved. The term is also being used because I felt that it had become popular for abled teachers to claim that a movement class was for “all bodies” or “accessible” without doing the work necessary to be available for those of us with disabilities.

The Access-Centered Framework is radical, holistic, and intersectional. It centers access via physical space, variations offered, finding shared access needs, language, and intersectionality in an attempt to value all bodyminds and difference of movement equally. There are two methods in the Access-Centered framework: offering multiple variations and finding shared variations. Both of these methods ensure that everyone in the space can participate and can be applied to almost any teaching and offering (not just movement). With multiple options in the framework, each teacher has the agency to choose which tract will work better for their and their students’ needs.