Disability Pride Month, which takes place each July, challenges the stereotype of defining individuals by their disabilities. Many people misunderstand what “disability pride” means: it’s not about saying “I love every minute of my health problems,” but rather it’s about being proud to raise our voices together to work for change. It offers an opportunity to recognize the strength, resilience, and countless achievements of the disabled community.

By empowering individuals to embrace their uniqueness and highlighting the extraordinary strengths and talents that often emerge from our lived experiences, Disability Pride Month brings people with disabilities together to shift the narrative toward a more positive and inclusive one.


Fostering Acceptance and Inclusion
One way that Disability Pride promotes acceptance and inclusion is by creating awareness about the challenges faced by individuals with disabilities. Disability pride goes hand in hand with promoting accessibility and making sure that people with disabilities have equal access to the resources they need to survive and thrive. It’s not just about ramps and wheelchair-friendly spaces: accessibility encompasses everything from inclusive education and employment to digital accessibility and health care services.


Shifting the Narrative on Disability
Shifting the narrative surrounding disabilities plays a crucial role in challenging societal misconceptions and stereotypes about disabilities. It helps reshape and de-stigmatize the way society perceives, understands, and portrays disability in media, pop culture, and everyday conversations. Above all, disability pride challenges the notion that disabilities are solely and always a deficit.


Demanding Representation
There has been a growing movement toward authentic representation of individuals with disabilities in movies, TV shows, and other forms of media, both by casting actors with disabilities in diverse roles and by telling their stories. This shift in representation helps dispel misconceptions and allows individuals with disabilities to be seen as multidimensional characters, not defined solely by their disabilities.

Celebrating Icons and Innovators With Disabilities 
Disability Pride Month is also the time to highlight the achievements and contributions of individuals with disabilities. These role models become symbols of strength, resilience, and the endless possibilities that exist for individuals with disabilities. By sharing success stories and showcasing disabled leaders, artists, athletes, and professionals, we find inspiration and challenge the notion that disabilities limit one’s potential. 


Putting the Person First
An important way of shifting the narrative is using person-first language (“person with a disability” rather than “a disabled person”), which emphasizes that disability is just one aspect of a person’s identity. (However, some people with disabilities choose to embrace the term “disabled person,” an important example of how language about disabilities is not one-size-fits-all.) Another way to change the conversation around disability is challenging the notion that people with disabilities should be pitied or treated as “inspirational” simply for living our lives. 

Disability Pride Month helps create a more accepting society by challenging stereotypes, promoting inclusivity, and celebrating achievements. By highlighting the talents, accomplishments, and diverse experiences of individuals with disabilities, we can move toward a future where disabilities are viewed as just one part of a person’s identity and where everyone is recognized for their inherent worth and potential.

–Janet Jay

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