Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Disability & Pride: Celebration, Hope and Rebellion

As we celebrate Pride month across the globe and close to home, inclusion is top of mind for many celebrants with disabilities. In this speech given at the Chicago Pride Parade in 2010, Eli Clare shares a perspective.)

"Disability Pride calls for celebration, hope and rebellion. We take shame, fear and isolation, turn them around and forge wholeness. Pride refuses to let the daily grind of ableism, discrimination, exclusion, and violence define who we are.
Pride knows our history, joyfully insists upon our present, and stretches into our future. It must not leave anyone behind—not folks in prison, not folks in nursing homes, group homes, their families’ back rooms, not folks in psych facilities, not our elders nor our youth.
Pride demands and nurtures open, expansive community. Pride means listening hard and being accountable to each other. It means struggling against racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and classism just as stubbornly as we fight ableism.
Pride isn’t about any single identity or community but rather about all of who we are—disabled people of color, disabled lesbians, gay men, and bisexual people, disabled women, disabled poor and working-class people, disabled immigrants, disabled transgender and transsexual people, psych survivors, people with intellectual disabilities, people with chronic illness, people with non-apparent disabilities. Pride asks uncomfortable questions and demands honest answers. It dances, sings, protests, loves, cries, fights, rolls, limps, laughs, stutters. Pride invites us to make home in our bodies and with each other.
“Pride fuels rebellion, and strong, vibrant, rebellious communities are more necessary than ever. I hope we, as disabled people, will continue to take to the streets, knowing that war, environmental devastation, corporate greed, and criminalizing people of color have everything to do with disability. We need revolutionary pride now!”
(Eli Clare is a writer, speaker, activist and teacher with disabilities in Vermont who addresses disability, gender, race, class and sexuality in his work. He has cerebral palsy and identifies as genderqueer and as a trans man.  http://eliclare.com



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