Disability Pride Month 2023
Posted by Francis Whitehead on July 5, 2023
Every July is Disability Pride Month, a worldwide observance holiday which promotes awareness of people’s disabilities as an identity, a community, a culture, & the positive pride felt by disabled people. It also highlights the history, achievements, experiences, and struggles of the disabled community, directly challenging ableism and discrimination.
July marks the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the landmark legislation passed on July 26, 1990, that broke down barriers to inclusion in society. Disability Pride Month was first celebrated that same year, taking place in Boston, Massachusetts in the US. Celebrations follow, with the first parade taking place in Chicago in 2004.
Despite so much progress being made to make a more inclusive society for those with impairments and disabilities, stigma, barriers, and a lack of accessibility still exist, which is why we need to acknowledge and honour every kind of disability, the people who identify with them, and the wide range of supports they need to thrive.
To gain awareness, there is an official Disability Pride Flag that we can tell you all about.
This is the new official Disability Pride Flag for those who identify and live with disabilities to show their pride in who they are.
Designed by Ann McGill in 2021, this revised version is even more accessible for anyone to proudly display. Here’s what it represents:
- The charcoal background represents mourning for disabled people who have been subjected to ableist violence, as well as representing protest in the community.
- The zig zag lines represent how disabled people must navigate past these barriers in society, and their creativity in doing so.
- The five colours represent the variety of needs and experiences across the range of disabilities, including mental illness, neurodiversity, invisible and undiagnosed disabilities, physical disabilities, and sensory impairment.
- the band of parallel stripes represent solidarity within the disability community, despite everyone having different experiences.
All in all, a brilliant design, but what does Disability Pride mean to you?
What does Disability Pride mean to you?
UK Charity Artswork created a survey and sent it out to their members of staff that identify as disabled, to give them an opportunity to talk about their experiences in their own words.
When prompted with the question “What does Disability Pride mean to you?”, here’s what they said:
- “Celebrating all the things you CAN do, not the things you can’t. Often the thing that holds people back is the perceptions, attitudes, and barriers imposed by the abled community and a world that is almost completely geared towards those who are able of mind and body.”
- “If I had to answer the question of if I’m proud of being disabled, I would say I’m not proud of it, but I’m not ashamed of it either. My relationship with my disability is that I think of it as something that is a part of me, that it isn’t separate from who I am, but it isn’t all of who I am either.”
- “Since Disability Pride is a part of disability awareness, I would say it makes me feel optimistic to hear about it, and I think as I’ve gotten older, although I am still young, I have seen big changes in regard to attitudes towards my disability at least.”
With this being said, it’s important that in any kind of Pride celebrations, especially in the world of the disability community, are as inclusive as possible.
In an article from the Metro, disabled journalist and presenter Samantha Renke says:
“Some people who may not be happy with their condition feel pressured to accept their impairment or feel proud of it.
In turn, they feel guilty if they don’t. Even if some don’t particularly like the concept of ‘disability pride’ I would still argue that anything that encourages somebody to feel unashamed and unapologetic about who they are cannot be a bad thing”.
Celebrations in the UK
Every Disability Pride Month, celebrations take place every year through the Disability Pride Festival in Brighton.
The festival was first formed by Jenny Skelton after her child Charlie faced discrimination in a venue, leading to her being forcibly removed.
She shared her story on Facebook, where an outcry of support was received, and as a result of the support, the first Disability Pride Festival took place in 2017. You can read more about Jenny and Charlie here.
How can I celebrate?
You can celebrate Disability Pride Month however you feel comfortable to, you can share your experiences and stories on social media, you can join the festivities and parades, you can reach out to people you know in the disability community, but most importantly you have every right to take full pride in who you are and the amazing things you’re capable of.
Get in Touch
How will you be celebrating Disability Pride Month? Ability Superstore would love to know. If you have any questions or inquiries, please do get in touch. We will be more than happy to help! Also, don’t forget the wide range of mobility aids, daily living aids, and more that can make a difference in your day-to-day life.