Disability Pride: What Does it Really Mean?

Disability Pride: What Does it Really Mean?

The Kiwi behind the idea for New Zealand’s Disability Pride Week is Wellingtonian, Nick Ruane, board member Disabled People’s Assembly. We ask him about the significance of the week for disabled New Zealanders, what “claiming our place” means and where he sees Disability Pride Week Aotearoa heading.

For a long time, disabled people, both in New Zealand and overseas have been defined and categorised by the systems and rules the state has placed around us. By and large we’ve existed in a system of care and treatment within a medical and welfare construct.

This is our history, we live with it, it is real for us, we carry it in our hearts and our minds, every day.

But this history carries with it an element of shame, the fact that members of our community were denied basic human rights while they were institutionalised is also part of our history.

This history that we carry can make it difficult for disabled people to claim pride in ourselves as people.

We are still in the process of righting the things that were done to us in the past, this is a process that will take time.

Pride is a feeling that grows over time as the collective experience of inclusion grows over time.

‘Claiming our place’ is a phrase that has two meanings attached to it. First, the disability rights movement is part of a much larger human rights movement that encompasses the civil rights, women’s rights and LGBTI rights movements over time.

All these movements used pride in themselves as people as an integral aspect to gaining momentum to then make gains for each community and ultimately improve society.

The disability rights movement is claiming its place within the wider human rights movements by using the Pride movement and is ‘Claiming it’s Place’ within this wider human rights context to improve society both for disabled people and for society as well.

The second meaning of ‘Claiming our Place’ relates to how disabled people see ourselves and are seen within society. By using the medium of Pride, the disability community is expressing a degree of confidence to the wider community and expressing a desire to engage with society. This is an invitation to society that we are on a journey of inclusion, some are fully ready today, others will need time but we are ready.

Disability Pride Week : Claiming our Place

30 November – 5 December 2017

Find out more at : https://disabilityprideaotearoa.nz/