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Disability Pride Month

July is Disability Pride Month.

Even though this has been celebrated by members of the disabled community for over 30 years, it’s something I’ve learnt about recently. For many people with disability (PWD), including myself, seeing the two words “disability pride” together is a new concept.

Growing up, my disability wasn’t something I felt proud of. If I ever needed accomodations or something outside the “norm”, it brought feelings of shame, of being a burden and the constant need to apologise for requiring changes (e.g. a ramp, seats). However, I’ve come to realise these feelings are a result of society reacting to our disability i.e., the inaccessibility and exclusion is the disabling aspect. Not us.

Over the last few years, connecting with other disabled individuals, sharing experiences, educating myself, has led me on the path of connecting with my disability identity & pride.

For me, disability pride is unlearning internalised ableism, increasing representation & creating spaces where we are all encouraged to not only accept our differences but be celebrated for them. It means having equitable opportunities to thrive.

Finding my disability pride has led to me becoming a model, share my story and raise awareness for the inequities & discrimination we face. To question development of policies, organisational practices & service delivery. It’s also a continual learning process.

So, this July, please consider:
– Learning about & celebrating achievements of different PWD.
– Leveraging your influence to promote accessibility and authentic inclusion in all of your communities.
– Advocating for Universal Design.
– Opening the discussion to include PWD so barriers can be identified and eliminated.
– Understand intersectionality in disability, take an intersectional approach to address and dismantle barriers.

And keep going, long after July ends.

Happy Disability Pride Month – wherever you are on the journey to finding your disability identity and pride 🫶🏽

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