Disability Pride Month Background
Disability pride month originated in 1990’s Boston, America, after the passing of legislation that prevented discrimination based on disability. Since then disability pride month has become an international event, allowing people from all countries to celebrate their disabilities, and helping to reduce the stigma that comes with having a disability.
The importance of Disability Pride
Until the very late 20th century, people with disabilities have suffered various types of discrimination, and there was no legislature to protect them. Even now, people will experience discrimination because of their disabilities, even though it is a protected characteristic by law.
There are many different types of disabilities, so disability pride will mean something different to everyone, for example:
- You are a wheelchair user fighting for better accessibility,
- You have a mental illness and advocate for better understanding of mental illnesses,
- You have a visual impairment and want to show people how important guide dogs are,
- You have an auditory impairment and don’t agree with cochlear implants,
- You have an immunological disorder and want better accommodations in the workplace,
- You have a developmental disorder and show that you are just as intelligent as anyone else.
There are a variety of reasons as to why a person with any kind of disability will choose to celebrate disability pride.
What disability pride month means to me
I have hidden disabilities and have often struggled with not being taken seriously, especially in academic and work environments. When I was in secondary school, I was told by a high-ranking member of staff that I wouldn’t be accepted into university because of my disabilities, and I had other teachers mocking me for attending medical appointments due to my disabilities.
Disability pride gives me a chance to speak out about the treatment myself and other disabled people face every day. My aim is to show people with disabilities that they can do the things they want, even if there are other people around them trying to limit them. I also like partaking in disability pride as I spent many years of my life hiding aspects of myself in fear of being ridiculed or rejected, but during disability pride I feel safe to show my disabilities and talk about how they affect my life.