Thanks to the support of community sponsors The Mental Health Association of San Francisco and The Arc San Francisco, we have organized a pan-disability contingent for San Francisco Pride 2018 ready to make a strong statement about intersecting identities in the LGBT+ community.
Learn more about their reasons for marching with us below:
Meet the Mental Health Association of San Francisco
Q: What is the mission of the Mental Health Association of San Francisco?
A: The mission of the Mental Health Association of San Francisco (MHASF) is to cultivate peer leadership, build community and advance social justice in mental health.
Q: Why is the Mental Health Association of San Francisco a proud sponsor of the LightHouse Disability Pride contingent?
A: MHASF is a proud sponsor of the LightHouse Disability Pride contingent because we care deeply about the mental health of the LGBTQ+ communities we serve. Many of us are LGBTQ+ identified ourselves and have personal experience of mental health challenges due to stigma, isolation, and discrimination. We support one another and we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our community partners to raise awareness about disability pride, rights, and resources.
Q: How does the work your organization does connect with the work we’re doing here at LightHouse?
A: Just as LGBTQ+ communities are not a monolith but a coalition of community partners with common goals and a shared vision, MHASF is a part of the larger community of disability advocates, including LightHouse. While the focus of our work may differ, our communities sometimes overlap, and MHASF is committed to promoting equality and self-reliance for people with mental health challenges, providing professional development and skills training, and amplifying the voices of people with lived experience.
Q: What does Disability Pride mean to you?
A: At MHASF, Disability Pride means bringing our whole selves to all we do and celebrating all of what makes us who we are. For many of us, our mental health conditions and histories have played an important role in making us the amazing, compassionate, resilient people we are today. We are proud of all we’ve accomplished, alone and together, and we want to share that pride with our community.
A: The first Pride was a riot. How can we keep this activist legacy in Pride and stay true to the spirit of the event?
Q: Our goal at MHASF is to advocate when possible — and agitate when necessary! Pride is a celebration of everything LGBTQ+ communities have accomplished, but now more than ever, we recognize that we can’t afford to be complacent, especially when it comes to our rights and our mental health. MHASF is proud to stand with LightHouse and other members of the Disability Pride contingent to support each other and call out injustice wherever we find it.
Meet The Arc San Francisco
Q: What is the mission of The Arc San Francisco?
A: Our mission is to transform the lives of adults with developmental disabilities by advancing lifelong learning, personal achievement and independence. Our full name is The Arc San Francisco. The “arc” in our name represents the arc of achievement. We believe that with the right support, over time, people with developmental disabilities can fulfill their highest potential, achieving personal goals and lifelong success — however it is personally defined. Our vision is to foster an inclusive world in which all people with developmental disabilities can thrive.
Q: Why is The Arc San Francisco a proud sponsor of the LightHouse Disability Pride contingent?
A: We are thrilled to be partnering with another organization that believes in the absolute equality of people with disabilities, and recognizes the intersectionality of people who have disabilities and are part of the LGBTQ community.
Q: How does the work your organization does connect to the work we’re doing here at LightHouse?
A: We have clients with developmental disabilities who are blind or have low vision. Both organizations recognize the full humanity of the people we serve which includes sexuality and sexual and gender identifications.
Q: What does Disability Pride mean to you?
A: Like LGBTQ Pride, we recognize that people with disabilities have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. People with disabilities are all born with unique gifts and talents to share, and have every right to fulfill dreams, achieve goals and participate fully in our communities.
Q: The first Pride was a riot. How can we keep this activist legacy in Pride and stay true to the spirit of the event?
A: It’s so important to recognize that The Stonewall Riots were a response by mostly drag queens, gender fluid people, and trans woman of color. They were what the police and US culture at the time thought were easy targets for bullying, harassment and abuse, and these revolutionaries had finally had enough. It’s a great story of how people who are ostracized, looked down on, shunned and seen as less than fully human can empower themselves, stand up, and demand justice and equality. By doing so, they not only liberate themselves, but all of us. People with disabilities experience so many of the same challenges that people who are LGBTQ face, and if you’re queer and disabled your challenges are even greater. By recognizing the true history of Pride we can learn from our achievements and empower everyone who is disenfranchised by our culture. We are not all free until everyone is free.
To sign up to march or learn more about our SF Pride Disability Contingent, visit lighthouse-sf.org/sf-pride-2018.