Happy Disability Pride Month!

Here are some things you can do to help disabled people:
Happy Disability Pride Month!
“Sunny Day” Painting by April Marie Mai, Acrylic on Canvas, 36″ x 48″ x 1.5″
[Image description: A horizontal rectangle impasto thick paint acrylic abstract painting in green, yellow, blue, orange, metallic gold, light blue, purple, metallic white, pink and white. The top left corner has more gold and white, the main color is green, and a beautiful bit of yellow sweeps down from the top of the painting, toward the left, then curls back up toward the top right, creating movement. It feels like a sunny day with a light breeze, sitting on green grass. The colors mix around. Each swipe of the palette knife is different and contains multiple colors.]
Work on your internalized ableism.
Society has programmed us to be ableist, and ableist language is common. Work on challenging the idea that nondisabled people are better than disabled people in any way. Remove ableist slurs from your language. There are many of them, so you will need to do research to find them all.
 
Recognize everyone’s inherent value.
People deserve the necessities to live because they exist. It’s not necessary to do more to deserve food, shelter, and all the other things we need as people. Each person’s existence brings something unique into this world. People don’t have to work to contribute to society, and people don’t have to contribute to society in any way to deserve for their needs to be met. Learn about how capitalism and racism have caused ableism, and counter it.
 
Stop using euphemisms for disabled.
There is nothing wrong with the word disabled. There is nothing bad about being disabled. It is just a fact. My needs aren’t special. They are just needs. When you use euphemisms for the word disabled, you stigmatize disability, which hurts disabled people. Refer to each person however they want to be referred to, but outside of that, please do not stigmatize disability further by saying things like “differently abled” (we don’t have superpowers), “special needs” (our needs aren’t special), “special” (umm, what?), etc. People try to be supportive by saying things like autism is a superpower, but it is not, and that rhetoric can be dangerous for us. Disability is neutral. Our different neurotype is neutral and deserves to be accommodated fully without us having to be savants.
 
Interact with us like you do everyone else.
Presume competence. Don’t ask for our personal medical information. Don’t give us unrequested advice. Don’t touch us or our mobility devices without prior consent. My cane is like my leg. Don’t tell us about your aunt’s cousin’s nephew who is disabled. We don’t all know each other. Don’t assume that proximity to a disabled person means you understand what disabled people experience. Don’t try to speak over or for us.
 
Support disabled people’s businesses.
Disability is difficult to get on even for those who need it, and it doesn’t pay enough to live on. We have to do our best to figure out how to make enough to eat and have shelter. Our lives often depend on our businesses. There are many disabled people who do emotional and mental labor to educate online. Give them tips if you can to pay them for the labor they are providing. It can be extra painful because we have to open ourselves up and deal with our traumas. Many of us have to rest most of the time and everything takes more energy. Those of us with different neurology might not be able to do the standard business stuff outside of creating or might find it very difficult. You can also support us by sharing our businesses with others and helping us market our work.
 
Don’t call us inspirational for existing or infantilize us.
We’re full humans. Yes, we might deal with things you can only imagine, but my struggle for existence or the way I adapt my life to do everyday things should not be treated as inspirational. We each have to play the hand we’re dealt. There’s a ton of inspiration p-rn of disabled people out there, and it is dehumanizing. Do not make it or share it, and hold people and groups that do accountable (without using yt* violence).
 
Dismantle yt* supremacy, capitalism, and patriarchy.
Yes, this is a big one! But together, we can do it. There is no freedom until we’re all free. Ableism is a tool of those systems, and cannot be ended without dismantling them.
 Thank you for working to support disabled people!
*yt=white

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