Disability rights activists fight for access to cities’ Pride events

By Giovanna Coi and Aitor Hernández-Morales: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Cobblestones, steep inclines, gravel — for members of the LGBTQ+ community with disabilities, seemingly small obstacles on the route a Pride march takes through a city can mean they are left out and forced to watch from the sidelines.

That’s something Pride march organizers are only slowly starting to address.

“Pride is the main event of the year for queer people,” said Ingrid Thunem, a paralympic swimmer and activist who leads the Norwegian Association of Youth with Disabilities. “It’s an event for partying, for protest, for making social contact … but we [have been] contacted by queer disabled people who told us, ‘Why can we not go to the parade? ‘We feel excluded.’”

Steve Taylor, board member of the European Pride Organisers Association (EPOA) and secretary-general of Copenhagen Pride, said city infrastructure is a key part of the problem.

“By virtue of their history, [Europe’s] capital cities are not accessible places,” he said. “Pride [organizers] can take steps to make events as accessible as possible … When the city infrastructure works against you, that presents a challenge.”

Beyond physical barriers, people with disabilities can face additional obstacles, like a lack of sign language interpretation or an overload of sensory stimulation, that require special attention to allow them to take part in such large-scale events.

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