Pride: Making Celebrating Accessible

Every June, LGBT Pride Month begins to commemorate the Stonewall riots which occurred at the end of June 1969. Over recent years, these celebrations have extended across the following months, turning Pride Month into a season all of its own.

There are so many reasons to attend a Pride parade or event. Events, parades and social gatherings bring people from all walks of life together for a huge celebration, connecting people through a love of inclusivity. But unfortunately, while these events welcome the attendance of the disabled, the physical and mental demands required by some isn’t always catered for by organisers.

Bringing People Together with Pride

LGBT Pride can be a great experience for so many people, in so many different ways. It is an opportunity to be open about one’s sexuality, gender identity and love for the LGBTQ community. For some, celebrating Pride is relatively simple. However, when you’re living with a disability, these inclusive celebrations are not always inclusive enough through a lack of accessibility.

Unfortunately, Pride events typically consist of parties at gay bars and a big parade, limiting accessibility for disabled, deaf, blind or neurodiverse individuals. As inclusive as the event’s ethos proposes, the logistics don’t always deliver.

Some aspects are yet to be made disabled friendly, from uneven terrain or the length of the parade routes to soaring temperatures with little shelter or a lack of disabled seating – these events are inclusive of sexuality, gender and identity, but lack a physical and mental adaptation.

Celebrating More Than Love

Pride goes way beyond celebrating LGBT love, but instead it is a season to celebrate resilience, resistance and the vast spectrum of sexual and gender diversity. Alongside this, studies have shown a large proportion of the LGBT community also identify as being disabled.

An article by Rooted in Rights hammers home the effects of not making Pride events more accessible. Not only are Pride organisers missing out on attendees, but those attendees are missing out on true equality.

Read more on love, sex and SCI for the LGBT community.

Making Celebrating Accessible

What may be accessible for one disabled person can be completely different for another. However, making spaces and events accessible for the LGBT community’s disabled members shouldn’t be difficult. It’s 2019, we can’t really make any excuses.

Here are some of the ways Pride events can make those living with a disability – including a spinal cord injury – feel more welcome.

  • Supply designated disabled areas for attendees to watch parades/entertainment
  • Create resting places for those wanting to join in the parade but may feel physical strain and require breaks
  • Make more informed decisions on locations for after parties/events  – eg where ramps are available or can be added to allow disabled access
  • Plan further LGBT friendly gatherings, such as picnics, brunches or film nights

Some great resources for disabled members of the LGBTQ community include:

SCI Events

While Pride is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate love, identity, sexuality and gender, as we’ve discovered, these events aren’t always disabled friendly. Instead, we’ve gathered some truly SCI friendly events that welcome all forms of disability.

  • Disabled Access Day is a great event for celebrating accessibility – Find out more via their website for what’s planned for their next event.
  • Disability Pride Brighton is a relatively new event, with 2019 only being its second year – It involves a short parade, live music, BSL interpreters and more.
  • Disability Pride 2019 comes to Norfolk this September, challenging stereotypes of the disabled community.
  • Although not specifically for those living with a SCI, LGBT Health promote a disability led Pride, bringing together LGBTQ identities and disability.

Also keep an eye on SIA, Back Up and Aspire for upcoming events near you.

We Support the LGBTQ Community

Aspire Law is a specialist law firm, working closely with those living with a spinal cord injury. During Pride season and all year round we aim to support the disabled members of the LGBT community and everyone affected by SCI. Get in touch by calling us on 0800 030 20 40.