<p>She fought to get a mat on the sand so her wheels could take her to the sea.</p>

<p>She fought to get a mat on the sand so her wheels could take her to the sea.</p>
The day Gabrielle Peters started using a wheelchair was the day she started learning how to fight. Photo by Leo Reynolds/Flickr. Peters is prickly, and it's earned. For years, she clammed up in the face of condescending stares from strangers, platitudes from politicians, and second-class treatment from doctors. Now, when people try to "fix" her, she recommends they "take a good, long look in the damn mirror."When the housing complex where she lives in Vancouver was sold to a Mennonite group that forced residents to participate in prayers in the communal dining hall, she told Canada's largest newspaper. She doesn't want to be saved, humored, or, worst of all, anyone's "inspiration porn," that flat, familiar treacle where a disabled person "overcomes" the odds to run cross-country, throw a javelin, or juggle a dozen chainsaws behind their back — stories told mostly to remind able-bodied people how "good" they have it.Peters wants equal health care, equal access, and equal rights. She also wants to go to the beach. Until Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017, it had been more than 10 years since Peters had been on the sand. "The world I exist in was not designed for me, and the people I exist with have all sorts of messed up ideas about me," Peters says. A self-proclaimed "city person," the water is her favorite place to be. The forest is a close second. When Peters was discharged from the hospital after rehabbing from the autoimmune disease that required her to begin using a wheelchair, she was determined not to let her new mobility arrangement reduce her quality of life. But, without a flat surface, determination means squat.She tried hiking the "accessible" trail in the city's expansive Stanley Park — to no avail. The surface was uneven, the paving was intermittent, and the grade was too steep. A photo Peters took of the trail in October, showing pebbles and pine needles over uneven dirt. Photo by Gabrielle Peters. Accessibility, it turns out, is subjective. At the beach, she