July 12, 2021 at 7:00 am #27489Kevin SchaeferKeymaster
Hey everyone, hope you’re all doing well!
July is recognized as Disability Pride Month, as it coincides with the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. I’ve written about this topic before in my column. I recently did an Instagram post about this, and I wanted to share it here.
“July is Disability Pride Month, so I’m kind of obligated to make a post about the importance of accepting disability, both personally and in society.
Growing up, I didn’t have a full grasp of what ableism was, but I remember feeling awkward anytime people stared or strangers asked me questions like “what happened?” I also remember getting legit angry watching an episode of Kim Possible in which a wheelchair user freaked Kim out and made her really uncomfortable. Good show, but even as a kid I had a knack for analyzing disability representation in pop culture.
While I’m blessed to have family and friends who support me and who understand that my disability is nothing to be ashamed of or pitied for, I still encounter numerous stigmas and prejudices in the world at large. Many examples come to mind, such as when two dudes prayed for me to be “healed” in a movie theater a few years ago, literally right before the trailers started. Another is when a lady approached me in the waiting room of my PT clinic to ask me if I thought about walking one day. Pretty sure I was thinking about what to eat on the way home, so I hated to disappoint her.
All this to say, disability is not a bad word. It’s something I embrace as a key part of my identity. Is my life filled with challenges and have I dealt with periods of emotional and mental distress? Yes and yes. Yet, no matter the hard stuff, I wouldn’t trade my disabled life or my disabled community for the world.”
What do you think about Disability Pride Month? Do you agree with this notion? Do you disagree with the concept? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
July 12, 2021 at 3:38 pm #27513Kelly MillerParticipant
I’ve never been a big fan of any of the collection of “Pride” months we seem to be overwhelming our calendars with. I feel like it serves as a way to separate the people of our country by pointing out the differences that others do not care to celebrate. The people who usually participate in rallies and awareness events are, for the most part, those who already belong to whichever group is recognized for that particular month. I fail to understand how this brings enlightenment or cohesiveness to our society, but instead opens up competition for groups who don’t have their month yet.
That being said, how do I feel about Disability Pride Month? I still don’t like it even though I’ve now got my 31 days. For those of us who choose to celebrate, demonstrate, and educate about the disability we were born with, we’re going to continue to do these things 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year. It doesn’t, nor should it, turn off when the end of July rolls around. Announcements like the possibility of a new law that would overhaul the SSI benefits system shouldn’t only come one month out of the year, but they should be expected every month in the year! After the 1st of August, society’s attention will be tuned into the next group who celebrates, leaving Bird-Feeding Month, Women’s History Month, Autism Awareness Month, Irish-American Heritage Month, Mustache Month, along with dozens more, behind in the minds of Americans.
Will I celebrate the nuances and complexities of being disabled, more specifically with SMA? Absolutely, as I do throughout the year. I will also hope and pray that our messages of equality, ableism, and success haven’t been watered down in the attempts to be politically correct.
July 13, 2021 at 8:30 am #27514Sherry TohParticipant
For me, Disability Pride Month is about honouring the people who came before us and got us to where we are today, as well as looking ahead to our future and breaking down barriers and stigma for the generations after us. Modern societies are only just breaking away from eugenic philosophy that’s permeated every social sphere and lent credence to ableism. We’ve seen the poor responses disabled folx have gotten during the pandemic, the utter devaluation of our lives. If Disability Pride Month is the one time of year we get a megaphone, I say we yell into it and point at the unnecessary losses and barriers until we’re heard.
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