At the beginning of July I discovered that July was disability pride month, but had never heard of this before. I got rather excited as I’d wanted something like this for many years now. I wanted a whole month dedicated to celebrating, advocating and talking about disability in the same way other marginalised group have. I felt it unfair that other groups have awareness or celebratory months dedicated to them as a whole. So I got very excited when I saw this. However my heart fell when I realised that in actual fact, disability pride month was something that only got celebrated officially in America, in relation to the American Disability Act legislation. My heart dropped and I felt so disappointed to discover that it wasn’t an international or global thing. I wanted something global for disability, something we could all share. Although the person who brought disability pride month to my attention reassured me that despite it being something celebrated in America, there was no reason why people all over the word couldn’t celebrate it and encouraged me to continue sharing and spreading disability awareness and celebrating disability. It didn’t have to just stop at America. But even still it would have been nice for something that was widely known and celebrated officially, rather than just a handful of us outside of USA doing it.
It’s not that we don’t have anything dedicated to disability, it’s just that there isn’t anything celebrating all disabilities together. We have things like Autism awareness month, I don’t think there are any other disabilities that have a whole month dedicated to them. We might have the odd few days and weeks dedicated to other disabilities, such as nystagmus awareness day/week, dyslexia week, etc. But we don’t have anything for disability as a whole, which means some people with conditions that don’t have days, weeks, or months don’t get celebrated or be talked about. My own condition congenital rubella syndrome, a rare condition being one of those that don’t get a look at. We have no logo, or awareness days/weeks or anything dedicated to that which makes me sad.
While it is true that in October we have disability history month, which is good, the truth is I want something more than that. We need something that is both contemporary, and universal. Something that everyone in the disabled community can celebrate and share together. We don’t just need the history, we need to spread awareness of the here and now. We need to get people talking widely and openly, starting discussions on disability if we want any change and to see things becoming better. We have such a long way to go in getting disability seen in a better light, and as I’ve said people need to include us when discussing diversity. Disability is overlooked, and that is part of the problem and needs to change. We need to dismantle the taboo and fear around disability, and I feel we’ll have a better chance if we have a universal, global month dedicated to disability as a whole, as well as the smaller celebrations for certain types of disabilities as well.
change cannot happen if disability stays hidden, and not talked about widely, and not brought to attention with something official. We need that official month in order to bring our voices to the forefront alongside other marginalised groups. Look how successful and and well pride month is doing, which is celebrated in June is. Their voices get heard, and the community and allies speak and post things in celebration for the whole month. If it can help them, it can help us, and I think we need disability pride month to be something global that is celebrated by everyone and made official. We need more allies too, and it may help people become more aware of how to be supportive and to understand us better.
While it is an official month celebrated in America, apparently I was made aware that there is something for disabilities pride month that is celebrated in Bristol UK. It’s not something widely known, and there is a festival that usually takes place, and has been going on for four years. But I have not heard about anything else in UK like this, and it is very small.