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Crohn’s disease: Woman abused for accessible toilet use

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Crohn’s disease: Woman abused for accessible toilet use

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Zoe Young with stoma bagImage copyright Zoe Young
Image caption Miss Young said it was her first night out with the stoma bag

A theatre has changed its signage after a woman with Crohn’s disease was berated by a group of women for using a disabled toilet.

Zoe Young was at Loughborough Town Hall when she was verbally abused.

After raising the issue on Facebook, the 44-year-old received thousands of messages of support, including from the venue.

It has now placed signs on the doors of the accessible toilets reading “Not Every Disability Is Visible”.

Miss Young said: “I was totally mortified by the reaction of these women and felt like breaking down in tears.

“People think if we’re not in a wheelchair we shouldn’t be using it.”

Image copyright Loughborough Town Hall
Image caption The theatre has added extra signage after Miss Young was abused

Miss Young has had Crohn’s disease since she was a teenager and has a Radar key to use accessible toilets.

Last month, she had an ileostomy, which is surgery to fit a stoma bag.

It was during the interval of a production of Rent that she was twice confronted for using the disabled toilet.

“This was my first evening out after having the surgery,” she said.

“I was worried about whether anyone can see the bag, am I wearing the right clothes, worried about the bag leaking.

“I had all of those concerns and then to be faced with that was such a knockback.”

Loughborough Town Hall said it “does not discriminate against anyone” and “recognises the need to make good quality facilities available to all of our guests”.

A spokesman added Charnwood Borough Council was also considering similar action across its sites.

Miss Young is hoping to get other venues and public places in Loughborough to follow suit.

“I know it’s only a sign, but for people like me it means so much more,” she added.

“This has got people thinking now.”

Crohn’s & Colitis UK has also started a campaign to change people’s perceptions of disabilities and end the stigma around using disabled toilets.

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Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leicestershire-48309942

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