July is considered Disability Pride Month to positively acknowledge the diversity among disabilities and to remember how far we’ve come in making the world an accessible place.
On July 26, 1990, the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed to prohibit discrimination against disabled people, and according to the ADA anniversary website, the first Disability Pride celebration was in Boston 1990.
In July 2015, New York was the first state to officially hold Disability Pride Month celebrating with a parade. Other cities across the U.S. since then have begun holding events to celebrate as well.
According to the National Council of Independent Living, this month is set aside to view the social models of disability because it’s “more positive than the medical model, which is often used to subdue and/or place the individual in a less-empowered role.”
This social viewpoint of disability is then used to promote how one can accept their disability, and show that in order to be independent, one must be able to access places and be given the same opportunities just like anyone else.
Another aspect of disability that can be often overlooked is how some disabilities, whether physical, mental or a combination of the two are not always visible to people which can make it difficult to bring up in conversation.
I have a disability myself and only discovered Disability Pride Month recently through social media. From my own experiences, people often don’t know how to ask someone about their disability nor is it a topic that people like to talk about.
Disability is often associated as something bad to have but for those of us with disabilities, this month is about showing how we accept our disability and being able to know how to adapt to our environment to thrive to the best of our abilities. It’s also a month about voicing the problems with ableism, representing disability better in media, and the on-going issues with things that are still not accessible today.
For a pride month that is only 31 years old, it’s something many people in the Disabled Community are just discovering now.
It’s through social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram that people are realizing how important it is to connect with other people around the globe who can relate to situations as well as to share awareness for a specific disability or even disabilities in general.
What I’ve done to bring awareness this month is to share my story with my disability through multiple Facebook groups sharing what I’ve overcome, and what my disability has taught me. Through sharing stories, it helps others to see how varied a disability can be.
Although Disability Pride Month is not yet nationally recognized, the Disability Community has taken steps of the importance of looking into the history of accessibility, having more conversations regarding disability and continuing to make the world a more accessible place.
Written by Isabella Schneider, Copy Editor. Photo courtesy of speciallygifted.org.