For those who may not know, July is Disability Pride Month! This means that the month of July is a time for people with disabilities to show their pride, celebrate themselves and this incredibly diverse community. It is also a great time for able-bodied people to become allies, become aware of any negative bias they may harbour, and change their attitudes for the better. I’ve put together a brief list of resources for allies to better educate themselves. Of course, the #1 thing allies need to do is listen to what people with disabilities have to say. And remember: allyship doesn’t stop after July. There’s still lots to do and fight for within the disability community.
Disfigured: On Fairy Tales, Disability, and Making Space by Amanda Leduc. This is a fantastic book to get people thinking about the ways in which media depiction of people with disabilities influences our own attitudes toward disability. This book specifically looks at the Brothers Grimm fairy tales and Disney’s depiction of people with disabilities. It also discusses disability rights and stories that celebrate disability.
Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories From the Twenty-First Century edited by Alice Wong. This anthology brings the voices of people with disabilities into the spotlight. This is a wonderful collection of essays and stories written by a diverse group of individuals. It highlights different experiences with disability, such as visible and non-visible disabilities. It also celebrates their lives, passions, and talents.
Lives Worth Living (2011) looks at the pioneering individuals of the disability community who worked together to secure equal civil rights in the post-World War II era to 1990 when the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed. Dealing with demonstrations, legislative battles, and more, this documentary shows early disability rights activists coming together in a movement that changed millions of lives for the better.
Unrest (2017) is a documentary that follows Jennifer Brea’s experience with a sudden illness that leaves her bedridden at 28 years old, while doctors tell her it’s “all in her head.” This is a powerful story about the dismissing attitudes of doctors toward people with disabilities. It also asks its audience to rethink and engage with their own stigma around illness.
Activists on Social Media
Jillian Mercado is a disability activist and model who challenges beauty standards through her platform.
Annie Segarra uses her voice to advocate for better media representation, body positivity, mental health, and accessibility.
Chella Man is an artist who’s known for resisting normativity.