July is Disability Pride Month!
What is it?
Disability Pride Month is a month that is dedicated to celebrating the Disabled community, as well as showing off our achievements and making our voices heard. It was first celebrated in Boston, USA in 1990, when the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed into law. It was seen as ‘the world’s first comprehensive declaration of equality for Disabled people.’
Since then, Disability Pride has been recognised around the world! We even have a flag!
Liberate Dance wanted to celebrate Disability Pride Month by discussing some of the things that make us who we are. We wanted to dispel some of the myth that disability is not something that should be celebrated.
We believe that we do not have to do something ‘outstanding’ to be celebrated. Some people with disabilities have grown up with the obscure view that they have to aspire to be something, in order to celebrate their achievements. When actually, it should be about celebrating people for who they are. Achievements, big or small, deserve to be celebrated in the same way.
"Accept me for being me."- Liberate Dancer
We also wanted to show people that disability doesn’t have to be ‘the end of the world.’ Many of our dancers have become disabled through illness or accident and some of them have said that, although what happened to them wasn’t something they would’ve chosen, they now would not change it. As they have flourished and have had many amazing opportunities through disability.
Some of our dancers who have always been disabled, have said that they have chosen to embrace who they are. They wanted to show that they are proud of who they are and they would not have the life they have or have been given the amazing opportunities they have had, if they weren’t disabled.
"I am grateful for my disability because without it, I would not have had the any of the amazing opportunities that I have had."- Liberate Dancer
Collectively, we also believe that some of the language used to describe people with disabilities does not reflect how most people with disabilities want to be seen. The Disabled community is made up of many different disabilities with different backgrounds etc, so it would not be right to assume that all disabled people will feel the same way about everything.
Using words and phrases such as ‘you’re amazing, even though you are disabled’ can be damaging to people with disabilities, because the word ‘even though’ suggests that the person with the disability has done something out of the ordinary just by getting out of bed in the mornings! There seems to be a misconception about people with disabilities not being able to do normal things. People make presumptions about what they are capable of, which can be damaging to our mental wellbeing; making us feel lesser in society which is not the case. There is still a lot of learning that needs to be done by the general public around communicating about disabilities, and what is an acceptable way to communicate with a disabled person and about their disability.
Main points we want you to know about people with disabilities and how to interact with us:
Being celebrated for our achievements and who we are as people not just being a person and brushing our teeth in the mornings.
Having a disability is not the end of the world - being disabled is not a tragedy.
Being mindful about how you communicate with someone with a disability- it's not a 'one size fits all' scenario.
Liberate Dance is proud to provide a platform to support people with disabilities, our dancers are proud to be disabled and we want to celebrate who they are, disability included. People are all different and having a disability doesn’t make us inferior.