Disability Pride Month: Celebrating People with Disabilities

Disability Pride Month is celebrated every July in recognition of people with disabilities, much like Black History Month in February, LGBTQIA+ Pride Month in June, and Hispanic Heritage Month in September celebrate these communities. According to the National Council on Independent Living, it started in 1990 with Disability Pride Day in Boston, coinciding with the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and growing to include the first Disability Pride Parade in Chicago in 2004. In 2015, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio declared July to be Disability Pride Month in celebration of the ADA’s 25th anniversary. Emily Ladau, disability activist and author, stated in What is Disability Pride Month?, a segment in The Takeaway podcast, “By calling it Disability Pride Month, we’re really reclaiming the power in the word, disability, in the identity of disability.” Although Disability Pride Month and Disability Pride Day are not yet nationally recognized, parades and other events are held nationwide in cities that include Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco, and internationally in countries like Norway. People with disabilities, their families, advocates, and others use Disability Pride Month to raise awareness, advocate, celebrate the signing of the ADA and other civil rights laws, and work towards changing society’s views of disability and the rights of people with disabilities to live, learn, and work independently in the community.

Currently, there is no single point of organization or definition for Disability Pride Month; like other pride months, its focus is to portray the disability community in a positive light and to create space for more people with disabilities to explore their own lives as people with disabilities in positive and public ways. The disability community is the largest and most diverse minority group. People with disabilities live at the intersection of many identities: race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, language groups, country of origin, religion, and socioeconomic background, in addition to their lived experience with disability. As diverse as disabilities are and the people are within the community, so are the opinions and thoughts about Disability Pride Month. The USA Today article, A chance to ‘amplify one another’: What is Disability Pride Month?, discusses the perspectives of advocates and community leaders with disabilities on Disability Pride Month. The Forbes article, 5 Questions To Think About This #DisabilityPrideMonth, discusses the history of Disability Pride Month, what people with disabilities are proud about, how Disability Pride Month is related to LGBTQIA+ Pride Month, if Disability Pride Month is a good thing that should be more widely recognized and celebrated, and more.

NARIC’s information specialists searched REHABDATA and found over 190 articles from the NIDILRR community and elsewhere related to disability pride and self-esteem and how they, along with changing attitudes toward people with disabilities, have an effect on employment, homelessness, wellbeing, and more, for people with disabilities. Contact NARIC’s information specialists to learn more about Disability Pride Month and more.

About mpgarcia

I'm the Bilingual Information/Media Specialist at NARIC.
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