Disability pride is a radical act
Hello, and happy Disability Pride Month!
This month I’m going to be bringing you loads of great DPM content - what it means, it’s history, and other thoughts along the way. There’ll be more over on my Instagram page, too.
But first, I think it’s important to acknowledge the radicalism of disability pride.
In a world that equates disability with failure, weakness and exclusion, being proud is a radical act.
In a world that says disabled bodies are broken, ugly and less than, being proud and loving ourselves is a radical act.
In a world that seeks to silence disabled voices, being loud and proud is a radical act.
In a world that ignores the disability community, standing together with pride is a radical act.
And in a world that fundamentally devalues disabled lives, celebrating and being proud of ourselves is a radical act.
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It took me so long to accept and embrace my disabled identity because the world taught me that disability is something to be ashamed of. I tried to distance myself from the label and the community. I hid my body and ignored my needs. And like so many others, that denialism was the source of a huge amount of misery.
Learning to love who I am and finding a space where I belong was a process of liberation. Celebrating my body and asking for help was an act of liberation. Claiming this identity was an act of liberation. And true liberation is always radical.
I am proud to be disabled. I am proud to be part of this community.
The radicalism of those statements no longer daunts me. Instead, it emboldens me to be more confident in my identity and to fight harder for a world in which we no longer have to be radical - a world in which we can just be.
I think it’s also a reminder that to achieve such a world, we’re going to have to be radical in our demands. Incremental change isn’t going to cut it. Faffing around the edges won’t be enough. We need a wholesale remaking of society, and we need in now. Until that happens, no matter our personal disability pride, our collective liberation will always be a work in process.
All power to those making it happen.
See you next week,
A disability pride reading list
The Valuable 500 has produced a great introduction to Disability Pride Month
Check out Sophie Butler’s pride post, which looks at the societal and internal battles disabled people have to fight
I also did a little introduction over on Instagram
My friend and fellow disabled journo Rachel Charlton-Dailey has guest edited a series on disabled Britain for The Mirror. The first piece, on the thousands of disabled people who died after the DWP removed their benefits, is a must read. Follow Rachel on Twitter to keep up to date with the series