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What is Disability Pride Month?

Disability Pride Month has been described as a day to “accept and honour each person’s uniqueness” and “promote visibility and mainstream awareness” of positive pride felt by people with disabilities, according to AmeriDisability.

For the disabled community, the month encourages self-acceptance and embracing all disabilities.

The month is a chance to focus on and celebrate the disabled community and their pride. Alongside the celebration, the month is also a chance to kickstart conversations about disability experiences and issues.

When is Disability Pride Month?

Disability Pride Month is celebrated in July each year.

Inclusive Employers can help you to celebrate, raise awareness and highlight voices during the month (and beyond) with our Disability Pride Month webinars.

How did Disability Pride Month start?

Disability Pride initially started as a day of celebration in 1990 and was held in Boston. This is the same year that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed.

As time has gone on, the celebration of pride has progressed to a month, rather than just a day. The first celebration of Disability Pride Month was in 2015, which marked the 25th anniversary of the ADA being signed.

Why is Disability Pride Month celebrated?

Disability Pride Month can mean various things to each individual in the disabled community.

Some people may see the month as a time to celebrate their individual success and accomplishments, whereas others may celebrate the feeling of pride about being disabled.

No matter what the month means to individuals, the main focus is to be proud of being disabled and for people to be unapologetically themselves without having to fear making others uncomfortable or hiding for the comfort of others.

Ableism is a huge problem around the world and has created a stigma against disabled people and results in barriers to everyday life.

Disability Pride Month starts conversations and raises awareness among people who are not part of the disabled community on how to be better allies and what they can do in support.

Is Disability Pride Month related to LGBTQ+ Pride?

There has been much conversation and deliberation about whether the two months are related to each other. The answer is in some ways, yes, and in other ways no.

There are people that are part of both the disabled community and the LGBTQ+ community – and it’s an individual choice of how to celebrate both.

Both events celebrate overcoming obstacles and being authentic without having to hide. And both events celebrate and reclaim visibility in public, when historically (and in the present day) the communities have been pushed out and excluded.

Is there a Disability Pride Month flag?

Yes, there is a Disability Pride Month flag. Take a look at the flag below.

The flag was designed in 2019 by Ann Magill and initially, had a “lightning bolt” band of five bright colours with a charcoal background.

However, it was highlighted that the flag wasn’t fully accessible for some disabled people due to the brightness and array of colours, so a refreshed version was released in 2021 with more subdued tones to allow the flag to be more accessible and inclusive.

The symbolism of the flag is:

The charcoal background – to represent those in the community who have been subjected to ableist violence, as well as representing protest in the community.

The “band/road” shape – represents how disabled people face barriers and have to navigate their life according to them. The different colours in the shape represent the creativity in navigating life, and how the community is breaking free from authority.

The colours – the colours represent the various experiences and needs (mental illness, developmental disability, invisible disabilities, physical disabilities and sensory disabilities) in the disabled community.

How to celebrate Disability Pride Month

There are many ways to celebrate Disability Pride Month in the workplace. Here are a few of our suggestions to get you started for Disability Pride Month 2022:

Involve the disabled community in the planning

The disabled community may have ideas or suggestions for how to celebrate the month, so it’s important to consider this.

Make sure to speak and gain insight from your disabled colleagues – or consider an anonymous form so those with undisclosed disabilities can help contribute to the celebrations.

Raise awareness

It is crucial to raise awareness and start conversations with your organisation about disability and the disabled community. This can be something as simple as sending employees a link to a podcast, or discussing what the month is.

Attend a webinar

Webinars are a fantastic way of learning new things. This Disability Pride Month, consider attending a webinar to broaden your knowledge of disability, and how to support those in the disabled community.

Provide training

The more you and your organisation know about the disabled community, the better you can support those who are part of it in the workplace.

Consider workshops and training on things such as the different types of disabilities, the correct terminology for disabilities, disability inclusion and more.

If you’re a member, click here to access our disability pride month resources to help you celebrate and learn this year.

From all of us here at Inclusive Employers, we wish you a happy and knowledge-filled Disability Pride Month!

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