Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone doing? Can you believe it’s already July? I hope everyone survived the fireworks and what have you with their sanities, pets, and houses intact. Three days to celebrate the 4th. Why did it take three days? Anyway, I don’t really have anything to ramble about, so I thought I would take the chance to remind people that the LGBT+’s Pride month might be over, but July happens to be Disability Pride Month! Most people still don’t even know it exists. I didn’t know until last year. Apparently some cities even have parades and crap for it. Not mine, but Chicago has been doing one for like 18 years. I believe NYC and LA usually do something too. There’s even a flag.
So, why do we need a Disability Pride month? A few reasons, really. One, to help normalize disabilities and fight against the ableism that runs rampant in the world. I’ve always rambled on this blog about the various ways people treat me just because I’m cripple, especially when I get ignored at restaurants. I brush it off as people being idiots, but it’s blatant ableism. And it’s the tip of the iceberg. There are so many different forms of ableism that it’s hard to keep track. Aside from the way people treat the disabled community, there’s also lack of physical access because for some reason the government here in the U.S. thinks old architecture is more important than making it accessible. So, they grandfather buildings to make it so they don’t have to be ADA compliant. And these are just examples of things I have to deal with. There are many other disabilities, all of which have their own issues to face. Ableism is so ingrained in our society that even I’m guilty of it. I’m trying to be better, but it’s hard. Helping people to understand disability and to recognize that it’s a normal part of life is the only way to move forward towards a more inclusive future.
Two, to help fight for equal rights. In the U.S., people with disabilities are discriminated against all the time. Most of that stems from ableism, but we also have to contend with idiotic laws. We’re forced to choose between our benefits and things like jobs or marriage. And most of us can’t live without those benefits. I can’t live without Medicaid because it funds the program that pays for someone to take care of me. If I lose Medicaid, I lose that. But because the only way I could get Medicaid was by getting on SSI, a program designed for the indigent, I’ll get kicked off if I make too much money. So, I can’t get a job unless it’s a ridiculously good one (for someone with no real experience and zero references, hahaha) and I can’t get married (they would start counting my spouse’s income against my benefits). It’s basically forced poverty and it’s ridiculous. Disabled people deserve to be able to contribute to society or get married without risking our benefits. Sure, if I get rich and no longer need the benefits, kick me off, but I can’t get to that point without working.
Three, to help disabled people remember that they are indeed people and that they aren’t alone. This might seem like an obvious thing, but it’s not. Disabled people internalize ableism as well. It’s hard not to feel like a burden, especially when you have to ask for help or accommodations or whatever. Throughout my teens and early twenties, I was constantly reminded of everything my mother sacrificed for me (she was a toxic narcissist, but she’s dead now, so yeah). I still have a hard time even asking for stuff I need (like having my nose wiped or needing pillows moved at night or whatever) when I know it will inconvenience someone (usually Dad). Part of that struggle is just left over from my mother, but part of it is the whole cripple burden thing. Seeing that I’m not alone, that other disabled people exist and live happy lives, helps a lot. So, yeah. Disability Pride Month is good for educating others, but it’s also good for people who live with disabilities every day.
Like I said, the examples in this post are my own. Other disabilities have other issues, but there’s always going to be some overlap. Anyway, happy Disability Pride Month! As always, feel free to leave your comments, questions and thoughts here or on my social media pages!