Juli is Disability Pride Month. If you didn’t know, that’s one reason it needs to be celebrated. While millions of people live with disabilities and anyone can be disabled at any time, all too often all attention takes the form of pity. Disability Pride Month celebrates disabled people with a reminder that being disabled is not a bad thing.
While Disability Pride Month is not a national celebration, New York City has recognized it since 2015 as an opportunity to strengthen one another. Disability Pride Day parades are also held in cities across the country, including Los Angeles, San Antonio, and Madison, Wisconsin, among others.
“This annual celebration is used to increase the visibility and general awareness of the positive pride of people with disabilities,” says the disability rights group AmeriDisability. “Proud comes from celebrating our heritage, the culture of disability, the unique experiences we have as people with diverse abilities, and the contributions we make to society.”
Disability alliance means supporting the disabled community in more ways than one. Below are five people with disabilities share how they can become a better ally.
How can you be a better ally for people with disabilities?
1. Disability is not a dirty word
Many euphemisms for the disabled have surfaced over the years such as “special needs” and “other disabled”. Disability rights advocates say these words make it seem like disability is a bad thing. While there are certainly offensive terms that refer to people with disabilities, “disabled” is not one of them.
Hannah Griffin, who describes herself as a professional patient, said in an Instagram post that people shouldn’t be afraid to say “disabled”. “Being disabled isn’t wrong or gross, and it’s not a dirty word,” says Griffin. “Disability is more than just the physical and / or mental effects on the body. Disability is more than the pills you take or the doctors you see.
2. Understand basic wheelchair etiquette
Editor and fanfiction writer Charlie Knight shared some basics everyone should know about wheelchair etiquette on a Twitter thread. First of all, it is never okay to move someone’s wheelchair (whether in it or not) without their permission. “A wheelchair is an extension of our body,” says Knight. “If you didn’t lift and move a disabled person without being asked, you are not pushing a wheelchair.” Unless you are screaming to be heard, they say you don’t have to bend down to speak to someone in a wheelchair. Also, do everything possible to avoid saying things like “walk”. “We’re pretty likely going to put things that way too, and ‘Take a Roll’ as a cute alternative isn’t as fun as you think,” they said.
Since it’s Disability Pride Month, I’d like to address something that I see a lot of problems with in the wild:
There are appropriate and inappropriate ways to interact with someone in a wheelchair. Knowing them benefits everyone involved.
A non-exhaustive one
– Charlie Ritter [they/them] (@CKnightWrites) July 3, 2021
3. Remember that a disabled person cannot look one way
While some disabilities are obvious to the eye, many are not. Remember, you never know when you will be interacting with a disabled person.
“One of the most common comments I get about my videos is, ‘Why should we care about access and ability when disability affects only a small portion of the population?’ But that’s just not true – every fourth person is disabled, ”said Isabel Mavrides-Calderón, a rights activist for the disabled, in a TikTok. “That means you almost certainly know someone who is disabled or will one day be disabled. Remember, 90 percent of disabilities are invisible. It could be your coworker, neighbor, friend, and one day even you. “
@powerfullyisaor j care Cause ur a good human ## disability ## disabilitypride ## disabilitypridemonth ## disabled ## chronicallykrank ## disabledandproud ## accessibility ## ableism ♬ Original sound – Isabel🇪🇨🇨🇺
4. Don’t lead with assumptions
Instead of letting your assumptions guide your thoughts, do some research, and if you know a disabled person who wants to share things about their disability, give them the space to share them.
“Knowledge is power, and giving someone the opportunity to explain their condition helps everyone feel more comfortable, understood and welcomed,” says Betty Gold, Senior Food Editor at Well + Good. “When I say I have diabetes, I appreciate it [if people] Let me explain what Type 1 is without assuming many things. People always say, ‘Wow, so you can’t eat sugar then?’ or say something very rude about how they could never get diabetes because they hate needles. “
5. Offer help just as you would offer it to others
They don’t want to infantilize people with disabilities, but help is often welcomed. It’s like helping others. For example, Spencer West, a disability activist who uses a wheelchair, explained in a TikTok video that rainy days are difficult for him. “When it rains it sucks going outside. The reason is that my wheelchair gets soaked and it takes 12 hours to dry,” he says in the video. “If you have folx with disabilities in your life, sign up. See if they need help or if you can offer assistance.”
@ spencer2thewestRain vs My Wheelchair ## rain ## learnsomething ## disabilitytiktok ♬ Blue Blood – Heinz Kiessling & Various Artists
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