Disability pride means you take pride in your whole self, which includes your disability. It means you understand your limitations, including chronic pain or illness, but accept and love who you are. Disability pride means different things to different people, so we suggest checking out the resources below to learn more from diverse voices.
In response to negative views of disability, and to promote human rights, disability pride emerged. Many people view their disability as an integral part of who they are, rather than a flaw or something that should be separated from their identity. Disabled people (or people with disabilities — more on terminology later) are sometimes framed by society as pitiable or helpless, waiting for a cure to solve any problems they may have. This view of disabled people damages confidence and self- esteem, especially since ableism (discrimination against people with disabilities) is so prevalent.
Self advocacy is simply advocating for one’s own rights rather than other people advocating on your behalf. There are a lot of self-advocates in the disability community pushing toward change in politics and society that directly impacts their lives. But being a self-advocate does not mean you fight alone — you fight alongside others with similar goals.
Person-first language positions the word person before the disability, as the commonly-used phrase “person with a disability” or “people with disabilities.” Many feel that this wording ensures that people can look beyond the disability to see that person as they are, while others feel this further stigmatizes disability by separating it from one’s identity.
Critics of person-first language usually prefer identity-first language. The latter is used in phrases like “disabled person” or “autistic person,” where the disability identity comes first and is intrinsically linked with personhood. This terminology is often prefered by self-advocates and disability-led organizations, and is becoming more popular.
Regardless of how someone identifies, it’s important to respect the terms they use to describe themselves. If you are unsure whether or not to use identity-first or person-first language, it’s okay to ask.