Celebrating Disability Pride Month

This week, Lucy wanted to write a piece to mark the start of Disability Pride Month.

In this article, she explains what it is, why it’s important to celebrate it and what society can do to raise awareness of Disability Pride. 

I’ve lived as a Disabled woman all my life, and have always been encouraged to embrace my difference.

Disability Pride Month has been celebrated in July since 1990, and the number of cities across the world, participating in Disability Pride events continues to grow, but I’ll be honest it is only in recent years I knew this existed.. We even have a flag!

Pride marks the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was signed into law.

The groundbreaking federal legislation promised to protect the rights of disabled people and require a certain level of accommodation in public spaces for Disabled Americans.

It was a victory that was hard fought for by disabled protesters who put their bodies and lives on the line in actions like the Capitol Crawl.

Fostering self-love toward my difference gives me the opportunity to reflect on all my strengths and the uniqueness my Disability has given me. I am very proud to identify as a Disabled Person, but Disability Pride Month always leaves me feeling a bit underwhelmed.

June is LGBTQIA+ Month, and anyone who uses Social Media will see, come the 1st of June Brands proudly promoting they are allies of the gay community, changing their logos to brightly coloured, rainbow-themed versions of their logos for the entirety of June.

At the time of writing this, I know of only one brand that are promoting Disability Pride to customers and followers.

I understand the tokenism of Pride solidarity doesn’t sit well with many, however despite Disability being the largest minority group. You won’t see brands working with Disabled Content creators, changing their logos, no parades,

Why are brands so scared of it?

Honestly- it’s because we remind people of their own mortality & vulnerability. They see us as the ‘broken’ people of today whose ranks they themselves might swell tomorrow. You know just one accident away, or one Covid infection away. Who needs the reminder is the mindset…

You can’t claim to be actively diverse if you pick and choose the diverse minorities you support, you can’t do diversity if it doesn’t include disability.

Disability Pride is about being unapologetic and unashamed of our bodyminds in a world that tells us we are better off dead

For me, I am keen to celebrate Disability Pride but the lack of support from the non-disabled community means, to me at least, Disability Pride becomes an echo chamber. the unwillingness to mark it and general unawareness around it is disheartening to say the least.

No matter who you are self love is so important, as a minority, I feel there is so much that bands us together than is different, gay, black, disabled, woman or trans we should all be able to have the opportunity to feel pride in who you are and recognise the fight others who went before us battled for us to been seen as equal.

Some disabled folks have complicated feelings about their conditions. This is okay. Disability Pride doesn’t mean you have to love everything about the disabled experience.

Our existence is one that is heavily politicized, stigmatized, and expensive.

It is important for everyone to be aware of Disability Pride, because While the experience of disabilities may differ, a sense of community can help people with disabilities to cope, especially given the ongoing systemic barriers, and stigma,

lABLEd Podcast and the work we do gives a platform to those who identify as disabled, different or chronically ill, helps those who may not yet know how to identify feel less alone and can educate the non-disabled to realise there is more to disabled people there is more to them than a societal label

Having spaces to celebrate all I am within the supportive, powerful and richly diverse disability community is simply nothing short of empowering.

That’s what Disability Pride means to me.. Finding my tribe and celebrating within and beyond it, for all to see.

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