If you have no idea about what Disability Pride Month is, you are not alone. Even though it is one of the most meaningful occasions to be celebrated in the month, many people haven’t ever heard about it.
People with disabilities form the largest minority group in the world, with over one billion people and representations in various popular books, shows, and films. However, the world is yet to fully understand the concept of disabilities and their impact on people’s life.
The idea of disability and pride is even more elusive to people. Isn’t pride supposed to be the last thing that can be associated with a disability?
To a vast section of society, disabilities are unfortunate, stigmatized and undesirable ways to live. They are considered punishments for sins in the past and means of theological salvation.
To combat such regressive thinking, the idea of Disability Pride Month began about 33 years ago with the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in July 1990. Soon disability pride events were hosted in Boston, and since then, countries worldwide have come together to celebrate the event.
Despite the increase in information and communication channels across the globe, year after year, Disability Pride Month goes largely unnoticed. Beyond the scope of the month, issues around disability, including the gross lack of law-making and facilities for people with disabilities, are rarely discussed.
To combat the narrative, this July, let us dive deeper into what Disability Pride Month means and how you can participate actively in the occasion.
What Does The Disability Pride Month Actually Mean?
The concept of Disability Pride Month began with the signing of the ADA by Former US President George H.W. Bush in 1990. Following this, in the same month, the first disability pride month was held to celebrate the law.
It is possible that you might not wholly grasp the concept of pride being associated with disability. You might know that feeling pride over their disability is a subjective preference for people. Whether people are proud of their disability depends on the context of their situation, and it is solely the choice of the said person to decide how they feel.
Disability Pride Month doesn’t necessarily force people to change their feelings. Instead, it aims to represent the shared solidarity between the community of disabled people. It stands as a symbol of respect for all those who have fought the battle of inclusivity for the community and those who continue to face widespread stigma and discrimination.
It is a fight against ableism or the idea that dehumanizes and thinks less of people with disabilities. At its very core, the event challenges the idea that people with disabilities are inferior to the rest of the world in any way.
This largely means critically evaluating public policies, the use of language, and mainstream notions. There are various ways how you can be a part of Disability Pride Month and be an ally to the community. Let’s dive into some of these ways.
How To Be A Part Of Disability Pride Month?
1. Listen to stories from the community and understand the challenges they face.
The first way to be a good ally to the community of people with disabilities is to be a good listener. This means empathizing and understanding the struggles people from the community face daily. It includes knowing how the most common forms of social justice and privileges alienate them and how they are continuously judged and misrepresented in society.
2. Educate yourself.
In the next step, understanding and comprehending the scope of disabilities is essential. For this, you can use resources such as books, podcasts, movies, and much more. Here are some suggestions:
Podcasts: Disarming Disability by Nicole Kelly and Sarah Tuberty
Books: Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century, edited by Alice Wong
Movies: Crip Camp (2020), The Theory of Everything (2014), My Left Foot (1989)
3. Be sensitive.
Being a good ally to the community of people with disabilities also means being sensitive and sympathetic to their struggles. This means that if someone tells you about their disability, don’t play detective and try to decode what happened to them. If their disability is not a part of the direct conversation, do not bring it up or ask questions about it. Prying about someone’s medical history or disability is rude and highly insensitive.
4. Raise your voice against injustices.
While Disability Pride Month aims at giving people with disabilities centre stage, it is crucial for the rest of us to be loyal support systems. Additionally, try to contribute to organizations working in the disability space.
Think about how you or someone around you propagates the ideas of ableism in society in any way. If you find such instances, actively take steps to mitigate the thoughts and behaviours.
Disability Pride Month is marked every July to celebrate the voices and struggles of people with disabilities. It is a reminder to strengthen our fight against ableist notions and continue challenging the mainstream stereotypical notions of disabilities.
We hope these ideas will help you participate actively in this Disability Pride Month. Apart from this, Minority Health Month is another global initiative that caters to minority communities across the world. To learn more about the day, click here.
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