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Student 'turned away from nightclub for being disabled'

TURNED AWAY: Katouche Goll has cerebral palsy

A STUDENT from south London was left distraught after allegedly being turned away from a nightclub because of her disability.

Katouche Goll, a 19-year-old student at Soas University of London, uses walking sticks to get around and had travelled from Lewisham for a night out at Visions Video Bar in Hackney, east London.

But when she arrived at the venue, bouncers refused her entry. The ordeal brought her to tears, having never experienced this type of discrimination at a club before.

She told the Hackney Gazette: “The bouncers thought I was trying to pass by but I said ‘no, I’m coming in’,” she said.

“They told me it wasn’t accessible and I said ‘no worries, I can manage’. Then they said they couldn’t guarantee my safety in the event of an emergency and wouldn’t let me in. I was so upset. They were making a judgement call on someone who knows their capabilities. Then I started crying. I even called my mum and she spoke to the bouncers.”

Visions manager Gianno Parris said safety was the “magic word that rests on the mind of every well ran licensed venue”.

He told the local paper: “If someone has a disability which inhibits their movement or the movement of those in close proximity it’s important we are notified in advance so that we can make adequate preparations and where possible nullify any hazards.

“Unfortunately in the early hours of Saturday, Katouche Goll turned up at the venue without notifying us."

He added: “Our security considered wether we could make an exception for her, but after observing her navigate the pavement and taking into consideration the capacity of the venue at time, potential alcohol consumption and the steep staircase leading down into the basement, it was considered too great a safety risk for all in attendance including her.”

Being born with cerebral palsy, Goll has had to put up with discrimination her whole life and has developed a thick skin.

But after posting about her experience on Twitter, she was shocked when people began telling her it was for her own good.

“I don’t find my value in what other people have to say,” Goll continued. “I know who I am. But how can people dictate what’s good for me? I’m not dumb. I know I have to check places are accessible and I phoned during the day but no one answered.

“People were telling me it was for my own good. That’s harmful. I expect apathy but these were people my age, not old fuddy-duddys. They are supposed to be progressive young people.”

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