England’s first Disability Pride Festival took place in Brighton on July 9th, celebrating the disabled community with live music, street food, arts and comedy.
The event was organised by Jenny Skelton from Saltdean, near Brighton, after her daughter suffered disability discrimination at a venue in the city during Brighton Pride 2016. According to a BBC report, the incident occurred when Jenny’s daughter, who has severe learning difficulties and chromosome abnormalities, became startled by a loud noise and crouched temporarily under a table. They were then asked to leave. Jenny told the BBC: “I told [the bar staff] she’s disabled and quote the equality act to him, but he said ‘I don’t care, I’ve only got your word for it, now leave.’”
Although the Disability Pride event was the first of its kind in England, the Disability Pride festival coincided with similar events in New York and Italy. According to the Brighton Journal, Jenny hoped to launch this annual event to educate people about all physical disabilities, for which may people may need to use mobility scooters or mental disabilities. It has been hailed a ‘huge success’.
The one-day event was supported by disability charities Scope and Amaze and was funded by a £10,000 National Lottery grant, according to a BBC report. Jenny Skelton, who has three adopted children with special needs, said: “Living in Brighton is a bit like being in a bubble. It’s a very inclusive community and is very accepting of people who may feel as though they don’t fit in anywhere else.”
Actress Sarah Gordy, who has Down’s Syndrome, attended the festival, which welcomed performances from Daniel Wakeford from Channel 4’s The Undateables and rock outfit The AutistiX.