Disability Pride Month: Being a Better Ally
July is Disability Pride Month. Like similar pride months, the movement seeks to raise awareness for marginalised communities. Additionally, it aims to change society’s current view. But, how did such an important celebration come about? In today’s blog, we’ll talk all about the history of this pride month. Plus, tips on how to be better ally to the community.
What is Disability Pride Month?
Disability Pride month promotes visibility and mainstream awareness of the positive pride felt by Disabled people within their communities. It marks a break from traditional concepts of “shameful” conditions and reveals those hidden from public spaces.
The goals of the movement are as follows:
- change the way people think about and define “disability”
- break down and end he internalised shame among people with Disabilities
- promote the belief in society that Disabilities are natural and beautiful part of human diversity in which people living with Disabilities can take pride
What’s more, it sets out to move away from the medical model. Instead, it wishes to see the issue of “disability” as a social created problem rather than the problem of the person. The management of the problem within the social model requires social action and cultural, individual, community, and large-scale change.
So, now we know the reason for its existence. But, how did it come to be?
In 1990, Boston, Massachusetts held the first Pride Day. It happened again in 1991. Unfortunately then with the death of lead organiser, Diana Viets. Following this New York City held its first Independence Day March in 1992. However, the last of these would happen in 1996.
It would be Chicago would bring back the marches. The first being in 2004.
Why Celebrate It?
Often, Disability Rights aren’t discussed in able-bodied conversations. But, the statistics show the reality that:
- 15% of the world’s population identify as Disabled
- These individuals are 2x more likely to be the victim of a violent crime than an able-bodied person
- Deaths from Covid-19 are 2x higher
Thus, this pride month not only stands to elevate Disabled individuals, but also bring awareness to the issues that they face.
How to Support the Disabled Community
Not sure how to be a better ally to people with disabilities? Well, here’s a good place to start.
- Listen. Let Disabled people tell their stories, and try not to speak on their behalf. Consult organisations that support AND are run by Disabled individuals. And remember, not everyone’s experience is the same.
- Fight for Accessibility. If you are able-bodied, it may not even occur to you what experiences other people might face. If you spot something inaccessible, say something.
- Hire People with Disabilities. The pandemic proved that people can effectively work from home. If the job can be done remotely, the scope widens for firing Disabled people.
- Experience Disability. This does not mean by a wheelchair. Instead, it means follow Disabled people on social media and engage in Disabled literature and other media.
- Avoid Using Ableist Language. Some words include: dumb, lame, cripple, crazy, and the idea of being confined to a wheel chair. The English language is vast and plentiful. Therefore, there are definitely other words you can use! Learn more about that here.