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Disability Pride

Celebrating Disability Pride

Disability Pride Month is an opportunity to honor the history, achievements, experiences, and struggles of the disability community and to amplify their voices. It is celebrated in the United States every July to commemorate the July 26, 1990 passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), landmark legislation that prohibited discrimination against people with disabilities and broke down barriers to inclusion in society. But barriers still exist, which is why we need to honor every kind of disability, the people who identify with them, and the wide range of supports they need to thrive.

Disability is a part of the rich tapestry of human diversity, and something that nearly all of us will experience at some point in our lives. People with disabilities are the largest and most diverse minority within the population representing all abilities, ages, races, ethnicities, religions, and socio-economic backgrounds. Disability is also a significant identity that defines how we experience the world. All disabilities and their intersecting identities should be acknowledged, valued, and respected, and one way to do that is during Disability Pride Month.

Disability pride is broadly defined as accepting and honoring each person's uniqueness, seeing it as a natural and beautiful part of human diversity, and connecting it to the more significant movement for disability justice. It also seeks to change how people think about and define disability and to promote the belief that disability is a natural part of human diversity in which people with disabilities can take pride. It both uplifts and challenges. Disability pride is an integral part of movement-building, and a direct challenge to systemic ableism and stigmatizing definitions of disability.

Since disability pride is a fairly new concept, it is important for people with disabilities to be proudly visible in the community. Pride comes from celebrating disability heritage, disability culture, the unique experiences that people with disabilities have, and the contributions that they can give to society.

(Adapted from Disabled World, Disability Community Resource Center, and The Arc)

Disability Pride Flag

Disability Pride Flag

Ann Magill designed the Disability Pride flag in 2019 and updated the design in 2021 in response to feedback from the disability community. According to Magill, the diagonal bars of color represent cutting across barriers, and each color in the flag represents something:

  • Black: the anger and mourning over the eugenics and the neglect that disabled people have to fight against
  • Red: physical disabilities
  • Gold: neurodivergence
  • White: invisible disabilities and disabilities not yet diagnosed
  • Blue: emotional and psychiatric disabilities
  • Green: sensory disabilities

Learn more about the flag by listening to or reading The Accessible Stall interview with Magill.

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