Accessible toilets are no fringe matter, says Edinburgh-based pelvic health physio Elaine Miller
Pelvic health physiotherapist Elaine Miller has set up a crowdfunder in a bit to ensure people attending her show at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe have access to a special portable toilet.
She appealed for donations after discovering that the city’s Mobiloo unit was stolen on 5 August. Though it has been recovered, it had been vandalised and needs costly repairs.
An enquiry about accessibility for her new show - Viva Your Vulva - from a woman who uses a wheelchair highlighted that the Mobiloo was not mentioned on the 2021 Fringe website.
‘My new show is a walking tour in order to get round Covid. I designed it to be near the Mobiloo, so when I learned it wasn’t booked I was exasperated!”
Mobiloo portable toilet units are equipped with a hoist and an adult changing table so that people with disabilities can participate in festivals and events from which they might otherwise be excluded.
The Fringe Society and the University of Edinburgh had funded the unit at the Fringe in previous years, but budget cuts meant the service was not available this year, Elaine explained.
Tackling the 'urinary leash'
My lungs are not big enough to give the size of sigh needed to express my feelings about the way that society says inclusion matters but doesn’t make provision for disabled people, some of whom literally have no voice [E;aine Miller]l
Elaine said: 'I don’t want to live in a society where people with disabilities are prevented from enjoying the biggest arts festival in the world. Public toilets are closed in Edinburgh’s Old Town, so the city has resurrected the urinary leash.
‘Suffragists campaigned against this by demanding public toilets so that women could travel and participate in society. I created my own protest by booking Mobiloo for the only weekend they had available so people with disabilities can participate in this year's Fringe.’
The University of Edinburgh and the Fringe Society responded to Elaine’s plea positively and agreed to host Mobiloo on its usual spot: Appleton Tower, Crichton St, on the weekend of 21-22 August.
Elaine added: ‘My lungs are not big enough to give the size of sigh needed to express my feelings about the way that society says inclusion matters but doesn’t make provision for disabled people, some of whom literally have no voice.
'Fringe toilets matter and I am so pleased Edinburgh University and the Fringe Society are willing to help. I need to spread the word so people know that the Mobiloo is coming and they should book tickets for The Fringe.'
Elaine is a Fellow of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) and won the Comedy Award at Fringe World in 2020 with her show about pelvic floors, titled Gusset Grippers.
For more information, see: www.gussetgrippers.co.uk
Tickets for Viva Your Vulva: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/d/united-kingdom--edinburgh/viva-your-vulva/