July: Disability Pride Month

July is Disability Pride Month, which is celebrating its 32nd year after the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed on July 26, 1990, to prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities. The month is a time to recognize and celebrate how disability is a natural part of human diversity in which people living with disabilities can take pride. According to the WHO, 15% of the world’s population identify as disabled and they needed representation and safety as much as everyone else. The Disability Pride Flag was created by Ann Magill, a disabled woman.Before we go any further let’s see what is the significance of each color on the flag:

  • The Black Field: this field represents the disabled people who have lost their lives due not only to their illness, but also to negligence, suicide and eugenics.
  • Red: Physical disabilities.
  • Yellow: Cognitive and intellectual disabilities.
  • White: Invisible and undiagnosed disabilities.
  • Blue: Mental illness/es.
  • Green: Sensory perception disabilities.

Disability pride is of utmost importance for organizations, corporations, governments to look at the disabled community and their needs with respect to healthcare, employment and safe environment. Intersectionality has never been more key than now. Everyone has their own unique experiences of discrimination and oppression or being othered, and we must consider everything and anything that can marginalize people – gender, race, class, sexual orientation, religion or belief, and disability. And having this month on disability pride hopefully helps eradicate the need for the misplaced pity of people with disabilities or the thoughts that those with a disability are not as fortunate or valuable. 

Additionally, many people without disabilities still view disabled individuals as lesser humans. Because many people with disabilities are unable to work in the same capacity as their able-bodied counterparts, they are deemed weak and unproductive. In our capitalistic society, this obviously doesn’t bode well. These hostilities and viewpoints are incredibly damaging to the self-esteem and mental health of people with disabilities.

A lot of times disability pride month is considered an extension or a replica of the LGBTQIA+ pride month which is not true. “Disability Pride is not about appropriating LGBTQIA+ Pride. In fact, the disabled and the LGBTQIA+ communities have long been intertwined and have long survived under similar systems of oppression. Disability Pride, much like LGBTQIA+ Pride, is all about celebrating and reclaiming our visibility in public because people with disabilities have historically been pushed out of public spaces.”, writes Laken Brooks. 

This month of awareness reminds us that it is radical for disabled people to just be. To find moments of joy and solidarity in a world that remains unwelcoming to many people with disabilities. This month is for the disabled community by the disabled community, and it is about embracing what their conditions are and the value that they all have.