Well, we are fast approaching the first - but definitely not the last - Disability Pride Brighton, which is happening on Sunday, 9th July 2017 from 2pm to 7pm in New Road. I have been planning this event for almost a year and I thought it might be time now to remind people of why I started it.
Seventeen years ago, I adopted three adorable children, aged 2, 3 and 3 (see photo) one of whom is my daughter, Charlie, who has multiple special needs and who is now 20. As many of you may recall, it was Charlie who suffered an incident of disability discrimination last year because, due to her disability, she was momentarily startled by a loud noise. What shocked and upset me most was that the person in question said he would not have treated her in this way if she had been in a wheelchair. He would not listen to me about Charlie’s condition or how it affected her, nor that it was against the Equality Act to discriminate because of her disability so, after he told me I had had my say and to get out, in frustration, I wrote a Facebook post which quickly went viral. I don’t want to dwell on this incident because the bosses of the venue were so apologetic afterwards and I am very happy that we have managed to turn a negative into a positive. Anyone can make a mistake and I have been told that the individual concerned realised soon afterwards that he had made a massive error of judgement.
Although I feel that Charlie's special needs are pretty visible, my other two adopted children also have disabilities which are much less visible and that is what prompted me to start Disability Pride Brighton. Of course, it is essential that visible disabilities are not discriminated against but it is often harder for people with so-called invisible disabilities to get the respect and recognition they deserve. Since my Facebook post, I have spoken to hundreds of people who have had similar experiences and the sad thing is that they are still happening, as can be seen by a post I shared earlier.
Please come and join us for music, entertainment, singing, dancing, food, a family picnic area with fun for children, information stalls and you! There will be accessible facilities as well as a changing places toilet to make sure that even people with the most severe disabilities are able to attend and celebrate.
We are running our event on the same day as Disability Pride New York City and Disability Pride Italia and it is my hope that there will be more and more of these events happening very soon.
Let's make a massive step towards completely eradicating disability discrimination. I have met some wonderful people who have been helping me to plan Disability Pride Brighton, most of whom identify as having disabilities, and my life has been enriched by this whole journey. Thanks to everyone who has helped along the way - I couldn't have done it without you - and sorry to all the people I have neglected because I don't have any time anymore. Love you all!
Disability Pride Brighton
PS Charlie was traumatised at the time but, as you can see from this video, it didn't affect her enjoyment of life. 🙂