“Pride isn’t accessible enough for LGBTQ+ disabled people.” Pride is about being comfortable about one’s sexuality yet disabled people are often viewed as non-sexual beings. During the month of June, the world is celebrating the LGBTQ+ community for Pride month. Pride month is a time to commemorate and normalize a world where people belonging to the LGBTQ+ community feel safe, empowered, and comfortable for their identity. This is a pivotal time to recognize the intersectionality that exists within the LGBTQ+ community.
Intersectionality is defined as “the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, disability, sexuality, gender, etc., as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.” Intersectionality applies to every identity, including LGBTQ+ and disability. What are the intersections of being LGBTQ+ and having a disability? There are actually many similarities that overlap between the LGBTQ+ and disability community – a horrific history of institutionalization, social isolation, sexual stigmatization, the fear of showing affection towards each other in public, etc.
There is a negative, derogatory view about people with disabilities that they are not sexual beings, and/or they are unable to have a healthy, sexual relationship with someone. The LGBTQ+ community and people with disabilities contiunally have to navigate an able-bodied and heterosexual world where anything that doesn’t reflect a traditional view of sexuality is frowned upon. While both of these communities experience these sigtmas, someone who has a disability and identifies with the LGBTQ+ community will encounter the weight of two marginalized identities, making it even more challenging to explore their sexual autonomy.
This is why it is important for the LGBTQ+ community to embrace all identities and experiences, by doing so, will create a world where LGBTQ+, disabled individuals will feel supported and embraced at different pride events. This will help challenge and reconstruct what sexuality looks like for both the disability and LGBTQ+ community.
While it is essential for people with disabilities to be socially and culturally accepted at Pride events, it is also invaluable for Pride events to be accessible, inclusive, and spacious. If you are planning a Pride event, it is paramount to consider the different challenges people with disabilities may face at your event. Plan with universal design, as it will make the event, in general, more welcoming and inclusive.
Together, we can create a world where people with disabilities and the LGBTQ+ community are always honored and recognized.
This post was written by Accessible Festivals’ intern Zane Landin. Zane is a Communication (Public Relations) student at Cal Poly Pomona with a passion for mental health access, disability rights, and diversity and inclusion.