Disability Pride Month


Disability Pride Month

Disability Pride Month occurs in July to recognize the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 26, 1990. 

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed by President George H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990. It was a landmark law the prohibited discrimination against people with disabilities.

This same year, Boston held the first Disability Pride Day. 

The ADA protects the rights of individuals in several areas such as employment, transportation, public accommodations, and access to state and local governments’ services.

Disability Pride Month Flag

The artwork above is based on the Disability Pride Flag designed by Ann Magill, a disabled woman. She sought feedback within the disabled community to refine its visual elements. The elements have the following meanings:

  • The Black Field: This field represents the disabled people who have lost their lives due not only to their illness, but also to negligence, suicide and eugenics.
  • The Five Colors: Each color on this flag represents a different aspect of disability or impairment.
    • Red: physical disabilities
    • Yellow: cognitive and intellectual disabilities
    • White: invisible and undiagnosed disabilities
    • Blue: mental illness
    • Green: sensory perception disabilities
  • The Parallel Stripes: Solidarity within the Disability Community and all its differences
    The Diagonal Band: “Cutting across” barriers that separate disabled people; creativity and light cutting through the darkness

Relevance of Disability Pride Month

  • According to the WHO, 15% of the world’s population identify as disabled
  • Disabled Americans make up at least 1/3 of all police killings.
  • Deaths from Covid-19 are almost 2 times higher for people with disabilities
  • Disabled individuals are 2x more likely to be the victim of a violent crime than a non-disabled person in the US. In the UK, disabled individuals were almost 2x as likely to be the victim of sexual assault.

What is Ableism?

Ableism is discrimination in favor of able-bodied/able-minded people. Ableism also characterizes persons as defined by their disabilities and as inferior to the non-disabled.
Ableism can be found in physical environments, in language, and in societal attitudes and behaviors. (Examples follow)

  • Environmental Ableism: Public transportation without adaptations or seating for disabled passengers, or able-bodied passengers seated in disabled spaces; “Ramps” with harsh slants and inclines beyond the accessible usage of wheelchair users
  • Language-based Ableism: Telling someone “but you don’t look disabled;” relatedly, compliments that frame positivity in spite of disability (eg. “You’re so _____ for a disabled person”); calling a disabled person brave, heroic, or inspiring for their everyday experiences, or conversely, saying you could not live their lifestyle
  • Societal Attitudes and Behavioral Ableism: Movies portraying disabled characters with non-disabled actors; Pushing a stranger’s wheelchair as if to support them without asking first; reaching to engage or pet a service dog that is not yours and is trying to support their owner; The rapid adoption of online work and schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic, something many disabled people have advocated for (and subsequently, the reduction or cancellation of virtual options when administrations push for in-person or back to office settings)

How You can Celebrate Disability Pride Month

  • Follow and share authentic Disabled Stories on Social Media 
  • When discussing current events with family and friends, be sure to include disability intersectionality
  • Take time to educate yourself about the disabled community