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Vince Laws Blog - disability arts online
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Vince Laws on the importance of Disability Pride / 14 June 2010

I was telling a disabled woman I know, let’s call her Tina, that I was about to perform at Disability Pride.

“I don’t get it,” she said, with a frown. “What have we got to be proud of?”

I was a bit taken aback. Maybe it’s easier for me to understand as a gay man because I’ve grown up with Gay Pride events. These events have given the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) community visibility, strength in numbers, a chance to educate the wider world, and yes, a chance to party.

There are still people out there who think it’s acceptable to hurl abuse at queers. Only last week I heard about a man being homophobically abused on a bus in Norwich because he got out his knitting. It would funny if it wasn’t so tragic; that man is now worried about travelling on public transport.

“Oh well I understand that,” said Tina. “I get people following me and doing my limp, like it’s a big joke.”

So why is Pride important?
Let me tell you why.

The bird that lives life in a cage,
Lives no life at all.
The bird that never sees the sky,
Never feels the sun -
Is like the caged canary
That only knows one song.

Imagine! Setting that bird free
Letting it be the best canary it could ever be.

That’s why Pride’s important
And it belongs to everyone,
Because we all deserve to be our best
To see the sky, the sun.

Norwich, once you were canaries,
But now that you have Pride
I can see your eagles soar
Across a rainbow sky.
 

Keywords: disability pride,disabled people's movement,discrimination,gay and lesbian issues,poetry,social model,