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What is Disability Pride Month and Why Does it Matter?

July is Disability Pride month, and while it is not widely celebrated here in Australia, it is certainly significant in what it represents for people living with disabilities.

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What is Disability Pride Month and Why Does it Matter?

More than 4 million Australians have a disability, which is almost 20 per cent of our population. World-wide, there are over one billion people, or 15 per cent of the world’s population who experience some form of disability.

Disability Pride Month began in America with the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act on the 26th of July 1990. It runs for the month of July each year, and is about promoting and celebrating disability pride.

At its core, Disability Pride month looks to celebrate disability as an identity – by sharing the many different experiences of people in the disability community.

According to award-winning writer, speaker and appearance activist, Carly Findlay OAM, “It’s a month to celebrate our disabled identity, our disabled community and our disabled culture.”

“Reaching a sense of pride as a disabled person takes work – every damn day. I didn’t always have disability pride. I didn’t even have disability as part of my identity, even though I’ve had Ichthyosis since birth,” she explains.

“It was just over 12 years ago when I met other disabled and chronically ill people and that saw our lived experiences were so similar that I realised that yes, I am disabled, too. It’s been liberating and affirming.”

To celebrate disability pride month, we share our top five picks of the best shows, films and documentaries currently streaming on Netflix, which celebrate people and characters with disability.

Love on the Spectrum
We couldn’t love this series more if we tried. Featuring two seasons of the Australian series, and one season of the American version, there is so much to love about Love on the Spectrum. This joyful series follows young adults on the autism spectrum as they plunge into the world of dating.

Special is based on the life of actor and writer Ryan O’Connell, a gay man with cerebral palsy. This show is special indeed, as it follows his character as he learns to embrace his disability and go after the relationships and the career he desires.

Crip Camp – A Disability Revolution
The documentary follows the journey of disabled campers in the 1970s many of whom went on to lead the disability rights movement in the United States. The ground-breaking summer camp brings together a group of teens with disabilities, all of whom were not welcome at mainstream summer camps. Together they helped build a movement, forging a new path toward greater equality for those living with disability.

My beautiful Broken Brain
Filmmaker Lotje Sodderland documents her recovery process from the haemorrhagic stroke she had at 34 — and the new life she builds in the aftermath.

Rising Phoenix
Rising Phoenix follows nine Paralympians in the run-up to the Paralympics in Rio in 2016. The documentary shows the history of the Paralympic Games, as well as the frustration felt by athletes and organisers that it is still viewed as a ‘lesser than’ the Olympic Games.