Disability Pride Month
Digital Paintings Created for Disability Pride Month, 2023.
Disabled americans have been celebrating Disability Pride Month since July 1990, when the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) was first signed. Even though 1 in 4 individuals in the USA has a disability, this month is widely unknown and uncelebrated. This year, I aimed to change that.
I decided to use my social media presence to educate others and spread awareness about disability pride month while celebrating my own disabled joy! The following posts feature digital portraits alongside captions that dive into different topics throughout the month of July.
Posts were featured on my instagram page @kaleighd.jpg 
​​​​​​​July is disability pride month and I want to kick off celebrating with some facts: 
✦ 1 in 4, or 27% of the US population has a disability
✦ Boston held the first disability pride in 1990, the year the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) was signed
✦ Many metrics in the US estimate that 10% of those with disabilities have what are known as “invisible disabilities”- or those that aren’t apparent upon first glance
✦ There are many reasons to be proud to be disabled!! These include pride in our ability to adapt and innovate our way through an inaccessible world, pride in our community and solidarity, pride in the ways we face ableism, and pride in the activists before us who have paved the way to the changes being made today!
Over the course of the month I’m going to try to share some more information, general facts, and share from other disabled creators. I encourage you all to fill your timelines with disabled voices and join in the celebration !! ♿️🎉
✶ disability pride month continues, and today I’m going to talk about person-first vs identity-first language!!
Identity first language is when you use the phrase “person with a disability” rather than “disabled person” (identity first). The idea of using this phrasing is to “separate the person from the disability”- which can be harmful.
Disability is just as much a part of someone’s identity as race, gender, sexuality, etc. Ignoring someone’s disability is not a compliment- and the word disabled is not dirty or wrong. Acknowledging that someone has limitations does not make them less human or deserving of respect.
Generally, you wouldn’t call someone a “brown haired person”, you would just say they’re a brunette! While some individuals may prefer person-first language (which is very valid!) the majority prefer to identify ID-first. This will be a running theme with my posts this month but, when in doubt, just ask! Let’s respect one another and spread our learning this #disabilitypridemonth ♿️
What is an invisible illness/disability?
Invisible illnesses or disabilities are those that are not made immediately apparent by looking at an individual. The list of conditions that fall into this category is EXTREMELY long, and includes all of my diagnoses- you can find quick info about psoriatic arthritis, POTs, hEDS, and hypothyroidism in my “chronicles” highlight if you’re interested in learning more about them!
This term, though widely used, reinforces the ableist idea that you can tell whether or not someone is disabled just by looking at them. Many individuals have been yelled at, and even attacked, for using mobility aids, disabled parking, or posting about their disabilities because they “didn’t look disabled”. You can never know someone’s entire story from a single glance- how many diagnoses they have, how severe the pain they feel is, how many symptoms they feel day to day.
I challenge you today to think about your own perceptions of disability. Do you think it has a look? What is it? Why do you think that? How can you dismantle these beliefs and spread awareness to those around you?
Let's talk about dynamic disabilities.
When you see me out and about, you might see me walking without a mobility aid. You might also see me with forearm crutches, a cane, or even in my wheelchair!! But no matter what I’m using (or not using!) I’m still just as disabled- my disability is just dynamic.

Dynamic disabilities are those which tend to fluctuate in severity in a difficult to predict manner. Someone with a dynamic disability may be able to complete one task one day, but not the same task the next day. Symptoms can fluctuate and be completely unpredictable.

So! Whether I’m running around or can’t make it out of bed, I’m still the same amount of disabled.

I dare you to take some time today to share this knowledge! Acknowledge that disabled people know their bodies best and you don’t get to question their legitimacy. Question why you believe that the disabled must look or act a certain way for you to believe they are “truly disabled” all the time.

Today’s #disabilitypridemonth learning is that we don’t always have to play teacher! Research things on your own, fill your feed with disabled voices, and stop expecting others to do the work for you.
Not every single disabled person is thrilled about sharing their thoughts, bringing awareness, or talking about their diagnoses- and that’s totally valid!!!
I personally don’t mind answering questions and sharing knowledge when I can as long as it’s done in a respectful manner 🌟

Some reminders for you for the last few days of #disabilitypridemonth

→ disabled is not a bad word
→ anyone can become disabled at any time
→ disabled people are not here for your inspiration
→ the disabled deserve love, support, and care like anyone else
→ marriage quality still does not exist for the disabled
→ it’s ok to not feel proud to be disabled this month
→ it’s ok to struggle with internalized ableism
→ disability rights are worth fighting for every month of the year!!! ♿️

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