Ableism, Blog Post, Disability, Disability Pride, Occupational Therapy

#DisabilityPrideMonth – What, When & Why

Acknowledgment – This blog post is a personal opinion piece of experiences, thoughts and ideas about my own disability. I acknowledge these will not all be shared by the community, and expect their rights to have different even conflicting ideas. This website has an accessible feature, that allows different accessible formats by simply clicking on a button labelled ‘Accessibility Menu’ that appears in green on all pages. It will provide you with a number of options to change the appearance to meet your accessible needs. This communication has been written by a dyslexic person. If you have any trouble with the meaning of any of the sentences or words, please do not be afraid to ask for clarification. I’m #MadeByDyslexia – expect creative thinking & creative spelling.

Disability pride started as a one day event but since 2015 the entire month of July has become an annual worldwide event to celebrate disability and the diversity of the community. July was selected as this was the month The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was founded on July 26, 1990. 

Why Pride?

The word ‘Pride’ is used in many equality movements, the word means;

  • a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.
  • the state or feeling of being proud
  • a becoming or dignified sense of what is due to oneself or one’s position or character; self-respect; self-esteem
  • pleasure or satisfaction taken in something done by or belonging to oneself or believed to reflect credit upon oneself: 
  • celebration of a specific minority group and affirmation of equal rights for members of that community:

Disability Pride – aim’s to shine a light on physical, learning, hidden disabilities and mental health conditions, by enabling open conversations about disability, encouraging people to, sharing experiences, raising awareness and challenging barriers whilst celebrating the diversity, a pride with the community.

In 2017 Ann Magill designed a disability pride month flag, which she later updated in Oct 2021, she has waved her rights to copyright and it has now been adopted by the movement.

It has a  black background that represents the colour of mourning for those who have suffered from ableist violence, rebellion and protest. The 5 colours represent the variety of needs and experiences.  Read more about the Flag on Ann’s website

During July the @AbleOTUK team of which I am a member will be using their social media platforms, to promote the month, and encourage you to be an ally to those people with disabilities and/or long term health conditions.

Regular reader’s of my blog will know I have a number of disabilities, some from birth and others I have developed. If I had just one thing for you the reader to take away from this blog its this. Disability and a persons relationship with their disability is very complex. It can take a lifetime to really understand its impact, and its impact is often rewarding. Seeing the world through a disability is a gift you should be envious of. It has taught me some much, shaped my thinking, my relationships and life goals.

But it’s those without this experience that have shaped the narrative. Resulting in offers of help, out of sympathy, or even guilt. Often that help comes with expectations, criteria, that keeps the power and you are expected to be grateful. Disability pride month is so needed, to educate and enlighten others. It is not something to be feared, not something that can be ignored and not something that can and should be fixed or cured.

The likelihood is that if you live a long life, at some point you will develop a health condition and/or disability. The world needs to put accessibility at the top of its agenda, hand in hand with sustainability. Considering and making your space, platform, program, film, TV show, new invention, book, restaurant, experience, What ever it is, truly assessible will only improved everyones experience.

So during July educate yourself, you will have ideas, thoughts, values shaped by your own experiences that are ableist – Take some time to challenge those. If you like share them in the comments section or on social media.

Rachel