Disability pride is all about acknowledging and embracing disability as a part of who you are, and celebrating being a person with disability.
Sharing your strengths and celebrating your disability can be an incredible boost for your mental health and wellbeing. So, on International Day for People with Disability (IDPWD), try some of these tips and show your disability pride!
Why is disability pride so important?
Celebrating your disability and showing pride in being a person with disability can benefit you in many different ways.
Disability pride can help you to:
- identify your strengths and what you love about yourself, and create a robust sense of self
- become more comfortable in your skin, and can help you to learn more about yourself and figure out your place in the world as a person with disability
- find community that supports, validates and empowers you
- boost your self-esteem and self-worth, which helps to maintain healthy and positive mental wellbeing.
How can you celebrate being a person with disability?
Consume content made by and for people with disability
A great way to discover just how much there is to learn and celebrate about disability is by reading, listening to and watching content shared by other people in the community.
You could listen to podcasts created by people with disability or read books written by writers with disability. There are also lots of popular content creators with disability on Tiktok. Their content is all about their lived experience and helps spread awareness, disability pride and joy!
Hear from young people about their own disability pride
Listening to others’ lived experience is one of the best ways to learn about the different ways to celebrate your disability. There’s lots of different articles and videos online featuring young people with disability sharing their stories and disability pride, such as this video from Youth Disability Advocacy Service (YDAS), or this story from Phillip, who talks about nailing his exams because his disability gives him hyperfocus.
Or if you’d prefer to make connections directly with other people with disability, you could join some of the youth disability groups that exist around the country, such as YDAS, the Youth CaLD Disability Collective or The Disability Trust.
Share your own lived experience with someone
Sharing your own stories can be an empowering experience that can help you to establish your own sense of disability pride.
Whether it’s sharing difficulties you’ve faced and finding a sense of community and solidarity, or sharing your achievements to celebrate with other people who really understand, sharing can be a powerful tool.
You could talk to a trusted family member or friend about your lived experience, which can help to educate them about the disability community, and guide them with how to further support you. If you’d prefer to share your story online, you could visit the ReachOut Online Community.
Learn about the disability pride movement and Australia’s history of disability rights
One way to foster a sense of disability pride is to learn about the disability pride movement and the history of disability rights in Australia.
The disability pride movement is about being vocal, increasing visibility and awareness, and being proud to take up space in the world as a person with disability. You can learn more about the pride movement here and here.
There have been some incredible achievements by people with disability in Australia, which have contributed to increasing and improving the rights of the Australian disability community. Reading up on these victories can be empowering, and can help you find a sense of pride not just in your own disability, but pride for the disability community as a whole.
Watch Stella Young’s TED Talk
The late Stella Young was a beloved Australian writer, comedian and disability activist. Her famous TED Talk, titled ‘I’m not your inspiration, thank you very much’, is relatable and powerful, and is a must-watch/read for any person with disability.
Speak up and spread your pride
If you’re feeling empowered after doing all the above and feel like you want to yell about your disability pride from the rooftops – do it! Sharing your lived experience and helping to spread awareness can be really fulfilling, building up both your pride and your sense of self.
There’s plenty of ways to speak up and show your disability pride. You could:
- Online or in real life, wish everyone a fantastic International Day for People with Disability on 3 December 🎉.
- Check to see if your local area is celebrating IDPWD and holding any events that celebrate the disability community – find local events with this country-wide IDPWD calendar.
- Share something about yourself with your friends on social media – maybe something that you love and celebrate about your disability.
- Share a post, article, podcast or book about disability that resonated with you.
- Share an awareness post – perhaps about a fundraiser or disability service that needs donations.
- Head to the ReachOut Online Community to share your story of disability pride or to hear from other young people. For example, check out this thread about what disability pride means to different people.
- Post something on social media about what disability pride means to you, or how you started learning about disability pride. (Everyone has to start somewhere – and by sharing, you could be helping someone else begin to celebrate their own disability!)
It’s okay to take your time
But remember, you don’t have to rush to do all this. The journey of celebrating your disability pride takes time. It can often be tough to celebrate on the more difficult days, and there might be bumps in the road while you learn how to celebrate yourself as a person with disability — and that’s okay.
The important thing is to prioritise yourself and your mental health and wellbeing while you go through this journey of self-discovery and self-love. You can find lots of different tips and strategies for self-care here.
What can I do now?
- Check out the Disability and Chronic Illness space on the ReachOut Online Community.
- Learn about celebrating your strengths and learning to love having ADHD.
- Find some tips on how to practise self-care and improve your mental wellbeing.