We're back for another pride month post, and today we're starting the conversation on ableism in Queer spaces. Our last post talked about the BG Pride parade and ways in which we were able to start offering accessible options to the community- especially queer disabled people- but we all know there is always room to grow. We're not perfect, and we often view the world from our own lens. Part of being an ally is ensuring that there is space for everyone, and a large portion of the queer community is made up with disabled people. How can we start to see the world through the lense of disabled people? How can we understand what someone's needs or challenges may be? We can search. We can question. We can ask.
There has been a stigma associated with asking disabled people about their disability. For many years, there was a feeling of ignoring disabilities, or trying to ensure that nobody feels different. However, we are different. Long gone are the days of awareness; we've moved on past acceptance. Our society is built upon acknowledging, accepting, and embracing the differences of others. It's on us to do the work to make space for everyone, or to acknowledge that there is work to be done and to ask for help.
If you're someone who has yet to understand some of the challenges disabled people face in queer spaces, the links below lead to some of my favorite reads over the last decade. Vignettes, personal experiences, and guiding questions from disabled people who did the work help to really set the stage for what queer spaces can be like for a large portion of queer people.
The Built-In Ableism in Queer Spaces discusses the history of creating queer spaces, and the questions queer disabled people need to ask when determining if there is space for them.
Ableism in Queer Communities is a quick read by a genderfluid woman sharing their personal stories and ideas.
Queer, disabled people like me are excluded from LGBTQ+ spaces – it is dividing our community is well, just that- sharing stories about coming out and the discrepancy that divides the queer community.
Finally, 5 Ways Ableism Looks in Queer Spaces shares stories, but also has a great list of things to ask when creating (physical) spaces for queer disabled people.
I want to end with one note: the queer community has been one of the most accepting communities. The queer community attempts to engage in equitable, open spaces for everyone- BUT- the queer community often forgets about people who have different needs. Pride was created by a black, trans woman whose needs helped shape the way in which our world functions today. Making pride accessible to EVERYONE is necessary, and to do so we must move beyond our experiences, and truly recognize the needs of others.