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Why is Pride month important for the disabled LGBTQ+ community?

Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Posts: 4,959

Scope community team

edited June 22 in Coffee lounge

What is Pride month?

Pride month is a time for people to come together and celebrate what it means to be part of the LGBTQ+ community, and highlight the continuing fight for equality.

There are usually parades, protests, and other mass gatherings, but that won't be the same this year for obvious reasons. That being said, you don't need a crowd to be proud, so there are plenty of opportunities for online activism, celebration, and awareness-raising.

Is it still relevant?

Some people might think that equality has already been achieved for people whose identities fall under the LGBTQ+ umbrella, and that there's no longer a need for Pride month. However, this isn't the case. Unfortunately, discrimination towards LGBTQ+ people is still common, and many people still hold bigoted views.

Did you know that:
  • 1 in 5 LGBTQ+ people have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their sexual orientation or gender identity in the last 12 months 
  • 2 in 5 trans people have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their gender identity in the last 12 months
  • It's estimated that 4 in 5 anti-LGBT hate crimes and incidents go unreported, with younger LGBT people particularly reluctant to go to the police
  • Around 1 in 2 LGBTQ+ people said they’ve experienced depression in the last year
  • Only around 1 in 2 of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans people feel able to be open about their sexual orientation or gender identity to everyone in their family
  • Around 1 in 3 LGBTQ+ staff hide that they are LGBTQ+ at work for fear of discrimination
  • 1 in 2 LGBTQ+ pupils hear homophobic slurs 'frequently' or 'often' at school
(Information reported by Stonewall)

What are the LGBTQ+ identities?

There are lots of different identities contained under the LGBTQ+ umbrella, and it's important to recognise that there are a spectrum of different sexualities and gender identities. 

Some people like to use more concrete labels to describe their sexuality or gender identity, but others prefer not to. The labels people use to describe their sexuality or gender identity can also change over time, and that's completely fine. 

This post would be very long if I tried to cover them all here so, if you hear a term that you're unsure of, perhaps in the media or during a conversation, please feel free to ask in the comments and we can all take the opportunity to learn :)

If you want to read more about what it means to be trans, you can read this post I wrote for Trans Day of Remembrance.

Disability, gender, and sexuality

As some of you may have unfortunately found, disabled people's experiences of gender and sexuality are often ignored or erased. 

Jamie Hale, a poet, essayist, and health and social care policy researcher based in London, has written a really insightful article about what it means to be disabled and LGBTQ+. I've included some of the key points below, but I'd encourage you to read it. 
Disabled people are often desexualised by others, and expressing a sexuality or gender outside the ‘heteronormative’ framework becomes quite a statement – not only do you have desires, but they’re different from those of the people around you.

In practice, there’s no contradiction between being disabled and being LGBTQ, and there’s lots of us out there. Here are five things for you to know:

1. Disabled people don't just have sex, we have sexualities
2. Other people's responses are not your responsibility
3. Take your time working things out
4. Labels are there to support you, not constrain you
5. You can be disabled and trans
I also read an article on the BBC, featuring stories about people with learning difficulties who've faced barriers in discovering and exploring their identities. Here's an excerpt from Shaun's story:
"I thought I was going mad, I thought there was something wrong with me." That's how Shaun Webster felt when he first realised he was attracted to both men and women.

Shaun is 48 now, but It took him over a decade to come out as bisexual - in part he says, because of barriers many LGBT people with learning disabilities face.

Shaun has short-term memory issues and dyslexia. He attended a special needs school when he was younger, where he says he wasn't given a "proper sex education".

"I didn't know what bisexual meant," he says. "Special needs schools didn't do proper sex education for people with learning disabilities. They think people like us don't have sex."
I also drew attention to some disabled LGBTQ+ people throughout history on my 'what's it like to be disabled and LGBTQ+?' post from earlier this year, so please feel free to give that a read if you're interested too. 

rainbow flag waving against a blue sky

People to follow

I've listed some people I know of below. Again, there are loads, so give me a shout if you're searching for some more!

Jessica Kellgren-Fozard

Jessica is a disabled lesbian YouTuber. Jessica is deaf, and has hereditary neuropathy with liability to pressure palsy, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). She lives with her wife, Claudia, and makes videos about a range of topics. Here's where you can find her:

Aaron Philip

Aaron is an Antiguan-American model. She became the first black, transgender, disabled model to ever be represented by a major modelling agency in 2018. You can find her over on her Instagram, and a Google of her name will bring up some interesting articles.

The Feeding of the Fox 

Imogen is a blogger and body-positivity advocate. She has dyslexia and a genetic impairment, and has experience of an eating disorder. You can read her content on:

Rosie Jones

Rosie is a disabled comedian and writer. She lives with cerebral palsy, and often talks about her experiences of being disabled and gay. You can find her on:

Useful resources


Whether you're an ally, out and proud, questioning, or in the closet, I hope that you all have a good Pride month 2021. Please remember that the online community is a safe place for you to share your experiences, and you can also contact us directly if anything is worrying you on [email protected] 
Online Community Coordinator, she/her

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Replies

  • 66Mustang66Mustang Community Co-Production Group Posts: 5,023 Disability Gamechanger
    I’m really interested in the last statistic “1 in 2 LGBTQ+ pupils hear homophobic slurs 'frequently' or 'often' at school”. As I actually am pleasantly surprised as I find that very low.

    At my school most students used homophobic slurs and even a couple of the teachers were rude about certain sexualities. Also, the word “gay” was taken to mean “bad” I.e. “I only got a C, that’s so gay”. 

    Maybe things have improved in the 10 years since I was at school. :)
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Posts: 4,959

    Scope community team

    1 in 2 is still too high, but it was quite bad when I was at school as well @66Mustang. 'Gay' and words to that effect were always used negatively, and in that sort of indiscriminate way you describe. I hope things have improved in schools now, as I don't think people realise how hurtful things like that can be. I still find myself calling people out on it even to this day. I wonder whether schools are being more proactive in tackling things like homophobia and transphobia now? I'll see if I can find anything. 
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  • 66Mustang66Mustang Community Co-Production Group Posts: 5,023 Disability Gamechanger
    I wonder if now maybe school children are just more accepting as they have more exposure to different kinds of people via things like social media these days? It would be interesting to know if they are more tolerant of other minority groups (like disabled people) for the same reason

    I agree that 1 in anything is still too high
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Posts: 4,959

    Scope community team

    Yeah I definitely think that's a huge factor @66Mustang. When someone in my year that I knew came out as trans, I was able to use things like YouTube and social media to learn more about what that meant and how I could be supportive. It can be a really useful tool. 

    Good point. I'd hope that attitudes towards other minority groups have improved, but there's definitely still a long way to go. 
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