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Disability Pride Month: what is it?

Disability Pride Month: what is it?

The Abled Lawyer


Reading time: three minutes

I’ve actively worked in the disability inclusion space since I joined The Law Society’s Lawyers with Disabilities Division (LDD) in September 2019. However, this year has taken me by surprise as I've learnt something new… July is Disability Pride Month.

I was aware of and have previously celebrated Disability History Month every December. However, I've never heard of Disability Pride Month only until this year where other disability activists on Instagram raised awareness of this. Adding to this, we also have a flag!

Here’s a quick post giving a rundown on Disability Pride Month and why we all should be celebrating it.

What is it?

Disability Pride started as a day of celebration in 1990 held in Boston following The Americans with Disabilities Act being passed in that same year. Since then, the celebration of disability has progressed to a month and is now celebrated in various cities across America and the UK. Excitingly, the list of participating cities is continuing to grow.

The idea of Disability Pride can be traced back to similar movements like LGBTQ+ and Black Pride. It’s an event that celebrates disabled people and those with long-term conditions. Disability Pride, similarly to LGBTQ+ Pride, is all about celebrating and reclaiming visibility because people with disabilities have historically been pushed out of public spaces.

In 2013, Chicago’s Disability Pride parade defined their mission in three principles: “To change the way people think about and define “disability,” to break down and end the internalised shame among people with disabilities, and to promote the belief in society that disability is a natural and beautiful part of human diversity in which people living with disabilities can take pride.” 

Why is it important to celebrate Disability Pride?

Disability Pride Month can mean various things to individuals within the disability community. The main focus of the month is to be proud of being disabled and for people to be their true authentic selves.

Ableism is a major problem in society which creates a stigma against disabled people resulting in barriers to everyday life. Disability History Month raises awareness of the barriers disabled people face in society and helps to kickstart the conversations on disability. This month is a brilliant time for allies to listen and learn about what they can do to support the community.

For me, I will use this month to celebrate and feel pride for being disabled. Let’s not forget that being disabled makes us inherent problem solvers, innovative thinkers, encourages diversity of thought and gives us an ability to see the world through a unique and valuable lens.

The meaning of the flag

The Disability Pride flag was created in 2019 by Ann Magill to help increase the community’s visibility. The flag has recently been re-designed in 2021 with photosensitive people to become a more accessible version.

The re-design of the flag is a great example which shows how brilliant the community is in action. We can come together and work out a solution that works for everyone.

There are five diagonal stripes of different colours that rest on a black background. Here's what the colours mean:

  1. The black background: represents the disabled people who have lost their lives due to not only their illness, but also to negligence, suicide and eugenics
  2. The colours of the stripes: each colour on this flag represents a different aspect of disability:
    • Red: physical disabilities
    • Yellow: cognitive and intellectual disabilities
    • White: invisible and undiagnosed disabilities
    • Blue: mental illness
    • Green: sensory perception disabilities

Remember, please use the updated version of the flag as the older ‘lightening bolt’ version of the flag causes a strobe/flicker effect when scrolled on electronic devices. This can be a trigger for seizures, migraines, disorientation and other types of eye strain.

How can we celebrate Disability Pride?

Although, I've learnt about disability Pride later in the month, you could still share this article on your social media or even share the Disability Pride flag to let others know we're celebrating!

Then, next year, try to encourage your firm or organisations to write or share a post about Disability Pride. These celebrations seem very early days and it would be great to see more people celebrate disability.

Read Demi's summary of the LDD's June summer social in her previous blog post.