This week overlaps two Pride celebrations: the end of June and Pride Month, widely recognized to celebrate and affirm the rights of people who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or other gender or sexual minorities (abbreviated LGBTQIA+); and the beginning of July and Disability Pride Month, which includes the anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Many people who identify as members of the LGBTQIA+ community are also people with disabilities. They may experience barriers to participation similar to their peers who identify as straight or cisgender (the same gender they were assigned at birth). They may also have experiences similar to people in the LGBTQIA+ community who do not have disabilities.
Recent research has begun to explore how those experiences may be similar to or differ from each other. One recent NIDILRR-funded Fellowship study explored the experiences of LGBTQIA+ adults on the autism spectrum. Our Research In Focus series highlighted recent NIDILRR-funded studies of the unmet healthcare needs of transgender people with disabilities and LGBTQIA+ people on the autism spectrum, using data from the National Survey on Health and Disability. Diving into our collection, we found 25 abstracts of publications from NIDILRR-funded projects which discuss people with disabilities who identify as LGBTQIA+. More than 200 abstracts in total mention LGBTQIA+ people or issues.
While the research is emerging, the community is creating resources to support people who live at the intersection of disability and gender or sexual identity. These include resources to support mental health, create inclusive disability programs that welcome LGBTQIA+ individuals, and creating LGBTQIA+ events that are inclusive of people with disabilities:
- Providing Culturally Competent Mental Health Care to LGBTQIA+ Youth and Young Adults, published by the NIDILRR-funded Learning and Working During the Transition to Adulthood Rehabilitation Research and Training Center, is a collection of resources for featuring an introduction to the population, statistics on adverse life events experienced by these youth, and tips from providers. It also includes a blog article featuring the voices of Center staff who are LGBTQIA+ on their experiences with mental health and employment.
- Creating Inclusive Programming and Practice for LGBTQ Youth Through Awareness was a webinar hosted by the NIDILRR-funded Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Pathways to Positive Futures.
- Impact: Feature Issue on Sexuality and People with Intellectual, Developmental, and Other Disabilities was published by the NIDILRR-funded Rehabilitation Research and Training on Community Living
- The NIDILRR-funded National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities publishes stories from parents with disabilities and is gathering entries from LGBTQIA+ parents.
- ACL’s 2021 Pride celebration included a Q&A with people with personal and professional experience at the intersection of disability and LGBTQIA+ issues, including discussion of NIDILRR-funded research.
- Explore more resources from the NIDILRR community on inclusive event planning, employment and mental health, and more.
Elsewhere in the community:
- Advancing Evidence-Based Interventions to Improve Access to Mental Health Services for LGBTQ+ Youth was a recent webinar hosted by the National Institute on Mental Health at the National Institutes of Health spotlighting recent research at the intersection of mental health and LGBTQ+ identity.
- RespectAbility, a national disability rights organization, shone a spotlight on the intersection of disability and LGBTQ+ identities and gathered articles, books, and other resources for the community.
- LGBTQI+ Health and Well-Being features resources from the Department of Health and Human Services in honor of Pride month.
As June winds down and July gets underway, we hope you and your community enjoy safe, welcoming celebrations!