Did you know that July is disability pride month? No, I didn’t either until a few Instagram accounts run by people with disabilities started posting about it. While that is a sad fact (because if I don’t know about it then how do able-bodied people know about it), it is a true reflection of the ableist world that we live it.
Disability pride (as a day, because the concept is certainly not new) started in 1990, to mark the signing of The Americans with Disabilities Act (which is why it’s celebrated in July). If you’re wanting more information on the ADA, then the documentary, Crip Camp, is a great place to start. In 2004, Chicago held the first USA disability pride parade, while in 2015 New York City declared it as Disability Pride month. This is yet to be formally recognised nationally or internationally, people with disabilities basically took the month and ran with it.
Despite the name, disability pride month isn’t about celebrating those people with disabilities who identify as LGBTQIA+, it’s about celebrating all disabilities. A disability could be a physical disability, such as myself, deaf, blind, amputee or even mental health, it really is such a large umbrella term. I mention these statistics a lot throughout my blog, but you’d be surprised how big the disabled community is in Australia. 1 in 5 Australians have a disability of some sort, with the chance of someone having a disability increasing with age. Fun fact, the disabled minority is the only minority that you can join at any point in your life.
So why is disabled pride month so important? Well, it comes back to the word ableism. For those that don’t know, ableism is a form of discrimination where abled-bodies people are favoured compared with those with a disability. It can be as simple as a building not being accessible (for any type of disability) or not offering a service to someone because of their disability. However, there are also a few grey areas which able-bodied people might not be aware, such as asking people intimate questions about their disability, using their mobility device as your personal armrest when you don’t even know them, inspirational porn (which you all know I’m very passionate about) or the type of language you use. Access Living has done a great article on ableism, so if you want more information, head over to them. Basically though, if you want to avoid ableism just treat people with a disability as everyone else. Side note though, still do recognise their disability because if you just pretend it’s not there then you can’t fix the issues they face.
Despite only finding out about disability pride month recently, I can see the tremendous advantages. At its core, it starts a conversation and creates awareness. Perhaps society is just too scared sometimes to acknowledge things or people that are different. This month allows people to learn and therefore help fix issues that are otherwise just swept under the rug. It also allows people with disabilities to be proud of who they are. Recently there was a hashtag on Twitter that encouraged people with disabilities to share their story (though for the life of me I can’t find it now). It’s refreshing to see them talk about themselves in that way. Our disability may only be a small proportion of our identity, but it is still a part of us. Personally, without my disability, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. However, accepting our differences is hard enough without society constantly pushing the perfect idea of beauty or applying stereotypes. Too commonly people with disabilities are not seen as intelligent, sexual human beings. Alex Dacy covers this in the majority of her Instagram posts and it really is the next topic that needs to be talked about once we’ve got a handle on the awareness and inclusion of disability.
So, what can you do to celebrate disability pride month, even if you’re able-bodied? Well, start by just educating yourself, because as I continuously say, those that know better do better. I wrote an article a few months ago about my favourite people with disabilities to follow on Instagram, so maybe start with checking out those accounts. Then you can start posting about disability on your own accounts. Tess Daly summed this up perfectly in her latest Instagram post (shown below). People don’t know about the month because not enough people and big brands are posting about it. Lastly, don’t just post about disabilities this month, but every month! People with disabilities are part of your community, family or close friend. We need your help to spread awareness so that disability just becomes the norm, from access to disabled content creators and everything in between.
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🚨Please read🚨 A week or so ago, I put a poll on my story asking how many of you knew it was Disability Pride month. 81% said no, they didn’t know. We are 3 weeks into July, Disability Pride month, and I genuinely can understand why people don’t know it exists; I haven’t seen a single brand post it. No collaborations with a wheelchair symbol slapped on it. I haven’t seen a single big influencer that isn’t disabled or directly related to somebody with a disability post about Disability Pride. Apparently disabled folk don’t need representation 🤷🏻♀️ Granted, I don’t follow every single page or platform in the world, but I haven’t seen a single large media outlet speak about Disability Pride. No energy for the 10% of the entire planet that has a disability (according to WHO). I see cis heterosexual people posting about LGBTQ pride, I see white people posting about BLM (and rightly so – do NOT get that twisted!) but I haven’t seen a single person post about Disability Pride Month OTHER than my disabled peers. I really don’t wanna come across as whiny or bitter, but this is the reality for a lot of disabled people. We are invisible, not important. What I have said is not to diminish the significance of the previously mentioned movements, more to highlight the fact the Disability related issues are all too often overlooked. If you want to find out more about it, please check out #disabilitypride as there is tonnes of information you can read ❤️ . . . . #disabledinfluencer #disabledmodel #neonpigments #dollbeauty #muaxdiscover #morphebrushes #makeupideas #neoneyeshadow #v93oo #makeupjunkie #myartistcommunity #modelmalay #theartistedit #makeuplover #makeupmafia #morphebabe #neonmakeup #makeupisart #norvinanavy #fentybeauty #narsissist #nyxcosmetics_uk #pixibeauty
I hope that you all get something out of this post, whether you’re able-bodied and didn’t know about disability pride month or you’re disabled learning to be proud of you and your body. It may not be officially recognised but disability pride month is very important, and we need your help to spread the message!