Disability within LGBTQIA+

In July, we celebrated Disability Pride month. It’s important to acknowledge the specific experiences of disabled people in society, especially within LGBTQIA+ spaces, and work together to make these spaces safe and accessible for everyone. 

July provided an opportunity for us to look at the specific issues facing this community and consider the ways we can fix this.

Disabled people often struggle with discrimination in many areas of life, this discrimination is often heightened among queer people with disabilities.   

Stonewall has found that: 

  • There is a higher rate of hate crime towards disabled members of the community 
  • 19% of disabled LGBTQIA+ members have had difficulty accessing healthcare 
  • 20% of LGBTQIA+ disabled people have faced discrimination in healthcare  
  • Many disabled people also struggle with their mental health at a much higher rate 
  • 8% of disabled LGBTQIA+ people had attempted suicide in 2018.  
  • 59% said life was not worth living at some point in comparison 31% of LGBTQIA+ who are not disabled  

These experiences reflect so many of those who identify as Queer and yet these experiences are not always appreciated or acknowledged in our activism. It is important to include disabled people in our activism and recognise the intersectionality of ableism and queerphobia. 

It is also important to recognise the systemic issues within our own community. Disabled members of the community often feel excluded from LGBTQ spaces due to their inaccessibility. Many spaces are difficult to get to without transport or do not have step free access. Umber Ghauri has also spoken about how much of LGBTQ spaces revolve around nightlife or activism, neither of which are accessible for many disabled people.  

The focus on drinking in LGBTQ spaces also often excludes those in drug and alcohol recovery or those who cannot drink. Clubs are often not physically accessible to many, as well as being inaccessible to neuro-divergent people. This is often also the case for activism spaces that frequently rely on marches or large crowds.  

This emphasises how the community should seek to make spaces accessible and make everyone in the community feel welcome. This Disability Pride Month lets continue to educate ourselves on these issues, how to better support everyone in our community and campaign for change and inclusivity!  

Increasingly these spaces are becoming available Queer House Party run in person and online events with disabled artists, the most recent being ‘Right Queer Right Now’ earlier this month. In person events often provide BSL and online events are usually captioned with audio description. There is also often the option of partaking in in person events online. Allowing everyone to access their events.  

Bi Pride also offers online events such as BiFi, with speakers and panellists. By hosting the event online, we hope this allows it to be accessible to a much wider audience.  

There is still so much work to be done, but like Pride month in June, July is a time to celebrate disabled people and reflect on how best to empower them and better our world. 

Sources and Helpful Resources:  

Stonewall – https://www.stonewall.org.uk/resources-disabled-lgbt-people-and-lgbt-people-accessibility-needs 

Regard – http://regard.org.uk/lgbt-history-month-2021-regard-lgbtqi-disabled-people-and-covid-19-a-presentation-by-dr-ju-gosling-frsa/ 

The Independent – https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/coming-out-lgbt-gay-queer-disabled-disability-twice-sexuality-open-family-friends-a8212431.html  

The Queer House Party Instagram: @queerhouseparty