A common misconception is that Pride events are easily accessible to all: unfortunately, this is frequently not the case if you’re disabled. With recent figures suggesting that around one-third of all people who identify as LGBTQ+ also state that they are disabled, it’s vital that Pride events are accessible and welcoming not only to people with differing sexualities, but also to those of differing abilities. AT DENW we are committed to ensuring that everyone who has a disability is able to access events which are important to them, which is why we are proud to be represented at what we hope will be the most accessible Pride event ever for disabled LGBTQ+ individuals.
DENW – planning Preston Pride for optimal disabled accessibility
We have been working hard with the organisers of Preston Pride, which takes place on 28 September, to ensure it’s one of the most disabled-friendly Prides on the planet! Our members have valued the opportunity to tell organisers what could be done to make the event one that they feel able to take part in easily. Many LGBTQ+ people with a disability tell us that they feel marginalised at gay-friendly events, as well as face difficulties in interacting with the community in a meaningful way. Examples of this include:
– Preconceived ideas about disabled people
Disabled people are often perceived as asexual or just not interested in sex! This means they can be overlooked or ignored at LGBTQ+ events.
– Stereotyping within the LGBTQ+ community
People with a disability frequently find that “their face doesn’t fit” within the LGBTQ+ community, even if they identify as gay or lesbian. This makes it difficult for them to meet a partner or take part in events which are a normal part of the able-bodied gay lifestyle.
– Hidden disabilities can be very limiting
Although many venues put in place obvious measures to make access easier for differently-abled people (for example, ramps for wheelchair access or toilets which are accessible by people with limited mobility), the needs of people with hidden disabilities (for example autism, ADHD or epilepsy) are often overlooked.
– Lack of awareness of disabled experiences
For example, a wheelchair user’s experience of being in the middle of a large crowd with limited (or no) easy exit routes can be far more overwhelming and stressful than the same experience for somebody who can simply walk to the fringes of the crowd.
We will be at Preston Pride, raising the profile of disabled people
DENW has been a long-term supporter of Preston Pride, having had a stall at the event every year since 2012. We acknowledge and celebrate the fact that disabled people may also be part of the LGBTQ+ community and value the opportunity to raise awareness of the added richness and diversity their presence can bring. We hope that with the input provided by our members, Preston Pride will be a fantastic event for disabled people to attend and look forward to meeting you there! Our stall will be selling a wide selection of rainbow merchandise, fundraising to support local disabled people.