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Disability Pride - even when it's hard
If you’ve been following any of the great content being put out by the community for Disability Pride Month, you might have seen a smattering of posts about how difficult it can be to feel disability pride when so much of disabled life is so hard. Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand this sentiment - I really do; when you’ve spent four days in bed wishing you could get up and do something, feeling proud isn’t exactly the first thing on your mind. But just because I understand, doesn’t mean I agree.
In fact, I think it’s the hard parts that make me really, properly proud to be disabled.
It’s easy to celebrate the good stuff: the disabled joy, the community, the history of activism. And I love celebrating all that. But pride is about having a deep sense of self-worth in the face of oppression. It is about staring ableism and inaccessibility in the eyes and knowing we deserve better. It is about acknowledging pain and fatigue and claiming our right to real rest. It is about renouncing narratives that say we do not belong and rejecting unbelievable pressure to conform.
In other words, to be proud to be disabled is not a simple celebration but a radical rewriting of the world. And there is no radicalism without struggle; no reclamation without pain.
I am proud not because my community and I have achieved things in spite of our impairments, I am proud because we have survived and thrived in an ableist world that does not want us here.
And no, I don’t want to celebrate that (except maybe on an individual level with my badass mates) because I wish it wasn’t true. But it does sit at the very heart of what disability pride is, at least to me. Because I truly believe that surviving and thriving is the most meaningful form of protest, of asserting our worth, and of moving the needle, even just a little bit, towards a better future.
Hopefully, in that future, being disabled won’t be so hard. And maybe then Disability Pride Month can be renamed Disability Celebration Month. But until then, I will see all of it - the joy and the ableism, the pain and the success - and I will be proud. Because we’re here, and we’re still laughing.
See you next week,
Pre-order my book!
That’s right! My debut book is out on 7 September and it’s now available to pre-order!
It’s a memoir about life as a disabled woman, how ableism and sexism interact in complicated and multifaceted ways, and how we often have to fight to be seen as women at all. Find out more here.
I put my heart and soul into this book and I’d love it to reach as many people as possible. Pre-orders will help it do so, as they encourage media coverage and stock buying by booksellers.