Disability Pride Month
July is Disability Pride Month, a time to celebrate the diversity of human minds and bodies, to end stigmas around disability, and to invest in the accessibility of our communities and the needs of disabled people.
"Disability" is a big word. It encapsulates a large, incredibly varied number of diagnoses and individuals. And within the disabled community, disability pride means different things to different people. But at its core, disability pride is a rejection of the idea that disability devalues a person. It is an affirmation of the importance of diversity and of the worth of disabled people.
In the words of Ardra Shephard, a writer, consultant, and speaker with multiple sclerosis:
Being proud to be disabled isn’t about liking my disability. It isn’t about pretending that disability doesn’t straight-up suck. Rather, claiming disability pride is a rejection of the notion that I should feel ashamed of my body or my disability. It’s a rejection of the idea that I am less able to contribute and participate in the world, that I take more than I give, that I have less inherent value and potential than the able-bodied Becky next to me.
Disability Pride Month & the ADA
While not federally recognized in the United States, Disability Pride Month is celebrated with parades and events in cities across the nation — and around the world. In the U.S., the July celebration commemorates the enaction of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which was signed into law in 1990.
Similar to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (but prioritizing a group not included in the 1964 act), the ADA afforded protections against discrimination based on disability. The act also established accessibility requirements for public spaces, and stipulated that employers provide accommodations to disabled employees. While in no way a quick fix for institutional ableism, the ADA represented a significant win for the disability rights movement — and over time, celebrations of this victory coalesced into Disability Pride Month.
Why celebrate Disability Pride?
Despite the ADA's legal protections and a growing discourse around disability rights, Americans with disabilities are confronted with the ongoing challenges of a largely ableist culture.
Disabled individuals face the choice between marriage and social support. Schools and workplaces often lack the resources and training to accommodate disabled and neuroatypical individuals. Public areas remain inaccessible, despite accessibility requirements. And in spite of it all, disabled people are still here: resilient, diverse, and valued members of our communities.
So as this Disability Pride Month draws to a close, take a moment to learn more about disability activism. Listen to the perspectives and stories of disabled people. Consider the accessibility of spaces you move through. Learn more about mental disabilities and neurodiversity, or about hidden disabilities that go unseen and underrepresented. Or simply commit to being kind, compassionate, and adaptive as you move through a world filled with people whose abilities differ from your own.
To our disabled friends and customers: we see you. We’re committed to continuing to make our store and website more accessible and to lifting up the voices and stories of disabled individuals. Please continue to call us out where we fail.
Below, we have compiled a few books for Disability Pride Month. These are just a few of the wonderful books that share disabled stories. Happy reading — and Happy Disability Pride Month!
For the Kids:
For Young Adults: