LGBTQ people living with disabilities are marginalized in various ways. Unfortunately, one in three people living with a disability feel the prejudice against them is still alive and well, and disabled queer people struggle to find their place in society. No matter if you’re also part of the LGBTQ+ disabled community or just an ally, here’s how you can make life better for all queer people living with disabilities:
Today’s society is designed by non-disabled people to fit other non-disabled people. This setup often makes disabled people feel like outcasts who can’t gain access to activities and places non-disabled people can access. When trying to access public, entertainment, and leisure goods, more than 30% of people with disabilities struggle with their impairment. And when we look at LGBTQ-occupied spaces like clubs, marches and protests, this number can go up significantly. To make disabled people welcome in the community, it’s important to demand accessibility from event organizers. Ask the organizations behind the events how they are planning to provide accessibility for all members of the LGBTQ community.
Use the right language
The language we use helps us define our identities and makes us feel powerful, so it’s very important to know the right words to use with disabled LGBTQ people. When talking to someone with disabilities, you’ll notice them using a different set of words and terms. And much of the language we use colloquially is filled with offensive words that do nothing but reinforce ableism. Make sure to be respectful of their language and the preferences they have chosen. If you’re unsure what language to use, just ask, but otherwise, let the person with disabilities lead you by example. No ally should ever use ableist, homophobic, transphobic or any offensive language, and should call out others who do.
Learn about disabilities and struggles
It’s always necessary to expand your knowledge on subjects that concern your LGBTQ friends with disabilities. Be mindful about who you’re asking for information, though. People with disabilities don’t have a duty to educate you on their disability or sexuality—use your own research to become more educated on the subject. Prepare a few useful things you can share with non-disabled and disabled people to break the ice. Also, learn about independent living facilities that allow disabled individuals to enjoy a quality life every day. Through your research of facilities, activities, treatments and assistance LGBTQ disabled people might require, you can become a much better ally to everyone.
Don’t out anyone
No matter if it comes to their sexuality or disability, don’t talk about it with anyone who is not included in the situation. Unless people give you the green light, don’t disclose their sexuality or disability. Even if the person talked to you about it, it doesn’t mean they want everyone to know their status. If you think the information about someone else’s sexuality or disability needs to be discussed or shared, check with the person first and ask for their blessing.
Don’t make assumptions
Every person is an individual, and their disabilities vary in complexity and severity. There are disabilities that are not immediately noticeable, and keep in mind that not everyone in the LGBTQ or disabled community acts or looks the same way. Challenge your own assumptions about disabled people and keep in mind never to judge someone based on their sexuality, gender, and disability.
Support LGBTQ organizations for disabled queers
There are many organizations and alliances that greatly help LGBTQ disabled people, so learn about them and step up as an ally. Do your best to donate to charities that support the cause, and find time to volunteer with beautiful LGBTQ disabled folks out there—this is actually the best way to show your support.
Being queer and living with a disability is a double trouble for some, but with good support from allies like yourself, disabled LGBTQ people can have a happy, safe high-quality life.