July marks Disability Pride month, but not many people have heard about it. Originating in the USA, it is an annual, global event working to shine a light on physical, learning, hidden disabilities and mental health conditions.
Disability Pride Month looks to celebrate disability as an identity by sharing the experiences of the disabled community. While at the same time raising awareness of the barriers that are in the way for disabled people.
The LGBTQ+ community celebrates Pride month in June to bring about visibility and acceptance of queer identities; the disabled community celebrates Disability Pride month in July to do the same. It is used to change the conversation around disability and to have conversations about disability.
Happy #DisabilityPrideMonth! This is our flag as designed by Ann Magill. I'll be doing my best to share as many resources, articles, and accounts throughout the month as I can ? pic.twitter.com/93wVpWq69H
— Louise Bellamy | Disabled Climate Scientist (@Louise_Climate) July 1, 2021
It is important to listen to the voices of disabled people, hear what they are saying, and boost their platform so more people can become aware of issues faced by the disabled community
In the current issue of GCN, Alannah Murray, a non-binary disabled activist, wrote about accessibility and ableism within the queer community. In their piece, Alannah talks about how venues around Dublin are just not accessible to people with disabilities, there is no thought put into it.
“Any research I had done into club nights, and emails sent were met with a sympathetic response that they didn’t have any accessibility; I was effectively locked out of my community that I was craving.”
Happy #DisabilityPrideMonth!! Remember to practice solidarity and make everything you campaign for accessible to all or it's hollow ?? donate to & support disabled people/causes!
To my disabled followers, remind yourself you're iconic always, but this month especially ?
— Alannah O'Neill Murray (@AlannahEMurray) July 1, 2021
Alannah also has a blog, is a filmmaker, and has spoken at a TedTalkX event where they discussed the inaccessibility within the film industry. Alannah talks about making her short documentary film, Roll Camera, exploring the topic of disabled representation in Ireland’s screen media industry.
While on the road promoting the film, they were most excited to get the platform to be given to speak, to tell the story behind the film, and share their experience. Alannah was met with “that’s a great story, well done, how inspirational!” They were given a pedestal, not a platform.
As Alannah says we need “less pedestals and more platforms for change.”
Currently in Ireland, at Dart stations people have to ask permission to use the lifts; it was an initiative to cut down on vandalism but has created a new barrier for disabled people especially when there is no staff at the station to grant that access.
We’ve always called for it. We need staff in stations. It offers safety and security and will remove the discriminatory practice of having to ask permission to travel. 4hrs in Dublin 24hrs outside the pale. ???@adayinmywheels @EamonRyan @struggleiswheel https://t.co/W7Tz2Pdi7X
— Access For All Ireland (@AccessForAll7) June 30, 2021
People have no respect for disabled parking spaces, using them as loading bays or thinking it’s okay to park there for just a few minutes. People also like to park on the footpath, blocking access for wheelchair users.
— @TheStruggleIsWheel (@struggleiswheel) July 2, 2021
These are the small microaggressions that the everyday person can work on fixing, but there are bigger issues that also need addressing. In Ireland, there are similar systems of conservatorship that Britney Spears is under, controlling the lives of people with disabilities.
To get involved in celebrating Disability Pride month, follow more disabled content creators on social media, amplify the voices of those who are disabled by sharing their content, donate to charities that support the needs of disabled people, and lobby the government for better services and treatment of the disabled community.
Don’t forget to educate yourself, as it is not the responsibility of disabled people to educated you. More can be read about challenges faced by the disabled community at this link.
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