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Disability Pride: Definitions and Awareness Information

  • Synopsis: Published: 2015-07-03 (Rev. 2017-07-01) - Article looks at the concept of the Disability Pride movement and what it means to the community. For further information pertaining to this article contact: Ian Langtree at Disabled World.

Disability Pride

Disability Pride has been defined as accepting and honoring each person's uniqueness and seeing it as a natural and beautiful part of human diversity. Disability Pride is an integral part of movement building, and a direct challenge of systemic ableism and stigmatizing definitions of disability.

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"There is a tremendous need to create a counter-culture that teaches new values and beliefs, and acknowledges the dignity and worth of all human beings. Disability pride is a direct response to this need."

Recently, New York City Mayor de Blasio declared the month of July as "Disability Pride Month " in honor of Americans With Disabilities Act's 25th anniversary. Disability Pride Month and the parade will be annual occurrences the mayor's press office said. On Sunday, July 12th. New Yorkers with disabilities and their families and friends will descend on Manhattan, celebrating their way from Madison Square Park to Union Square. United States Senator Tom Harkin, the Iowa Democrat who authored the ADA, will be the parade's grand marshal.

So What is Disability Pride, What Does it Mean?

People with disabilities are the largest and most diverse minority within the population representing all abilities, ages, races, ethnicities, religions and socio-economic backgrounds.

Many times people think about a disability as a medical diagnosis. "My disability is a spinal cord injury" or "my disability is depression" or "my disability is a brain injury." Disability is more than just the physical and/or mental effects on the body, disability is more than the pills that you take, or the doctor that you go to. It's actually a part of who you are. However, a disability is not the only identity you have, of course you have others such as being male or female, black or white, short or tall, each one is important. And each one we should never be ashamed of.

Negative attitudes about people with disabilities need to change.

Disability pride is a fairly new concept. Like other minorities people with physical and developmental disabilities are speaking about the pride they feel within their community. It is important for people with disabilities to be proudly visible in the community. The disability pride movement wants to present people with disabilities as full citizens and respect. Using bold images and strong words, Disability Pride awareness dates, parades, and festivals both uplift and challenge. Positive thinking and positive attitudes will help people with disabilities achieve real goals. Pride comes from celebrating our heritage, disability culture, the unique experiences that we have as people with disabilities, and the contributions that we can give to society.

Disability rights movements in different countries have made many gains in the area of civil rights over the past decade, but what good is an Americans with Disabilities Act or a Disability Discrimination Act if people will not exercise their rights under these laws because they are too ashamed to identify as being disabled "As long as the mind is enslaved, the body can never be free." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As long as people with disabilities remain ashamed of who we are, we will never realize the true equality and freedom we so desire. We must first take pride in ourselves as a community. We must no longer be ashamed of being disabled.

Disability Pride Week

Disability Pride Week is an annual event used to promote visibility and mainstream awareness of the positive pride felt by people with disabilities within their community. It marks a break from traditional concepts of disabilities as shameful conditions, which were often hidden from public spaces and mainstream awareness.

The first Disability Pride Day was held in Boston, MA in 1990. Disability Pride Week events often combine the celebration of "disability culture" with educational events, such as seminars on legal rights for people with disabilities, accessibility awareness, and other similar topics.

Disability Pride Parades

Disability Pride Parades are held to celebrate people with disabilities. Disability Pride Parades seek to change the way people think about and define disability, to end the stigma of disability, and to promote the belief that disability is a natural and beautiful part of human diversity in which people living with disabilities can take pride.

The United States first Disability Pride Parade was held in Chicago in 2004. Today, Disability Pride Parades have been held in a number of places across the United States, including Silicon Valley/Santa Clara County, Chicago, Philadelphia, Colorado Springs, Houston, Atlanta, Detroit, New Jersey, and Columbus as well as around the world in locations such as South Korea, Norway, and the U.K.

Disability Culture

Today, people with disabilities are emerging as artists, writers, and performers with something new to say about the experience of being disabled. The culture and media these artist/activists are producing has come to be collectively called Disability Culture. Disability culture is about visibility and self value. As with many groups in society, recognition by others only comes with self awareness within the group of the groups' differences and strengths. Disability culture offers ways for people with different disabilities to pursue their own - as well as shared goals.

"There is a tremendous need to create a counter-culture that teaches new values and beliefs, and acknowledges the dignity and worth of all human beings. Disability pride is a direct response to this need." - Sarah Triano, National Disabled Students Union.



Related Information:

  1. Definitions of The Models of Disability - Ian Langtree - (2010-09-10)
    https://www.disabled-world.com/definitions/disability-models.php
  2. Thoughts on Ableism in America Today - Thomas C. Weiss - (2014-08-17)
    https://www.disabled-world.com/editorials/political/ableism.php
  3. Disability Participation in Cultural Life, Recreation, Leisure and Sport - Wendy Taormina-Weiss - (2011-09-22)
    https://www.disabled-world.com/editorials/participation.php

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