Twitch Users Rally for a Disability Pride Month

Published January 25, 2022

Users of the gamer live streaming giant Twitch are rallying the platform to add a “Disability Pride Month” celebration in which content from disabled gamers would be featured on the site’s front page, similar to LGBTQ gamers being featured during Pride Month in June.

A Twitcher posted the request via twitch.uservoice.com, a forum that allows Twitch users to have a voice in the events and policies that shape their community, and the posting has over 1,000 “Yes” votes as of January 24th. The request states:

“Twitch does an excellent job curating teams and featuring marginalized creators on the front page during identity-based pride months. However, I’ve never seen one of these happen for disabled creators which I believe is a big missed opportunity. Being a content creator as a disabled person adds a whole host of additional challenges, such as navigating algorithms that favor consistency with inconsistent bodies. Finding games and programs that are accessible for us for streaming, etc. I would love to see Twitch uplift the hardworking disabled creators by also hosting a Disability Pride Month and highlighting disabled creators the way they do with Black History Month, AAPI month, LGBTQIA+ month, etc.”

Comments on the post unanimously gave the idea two enthusiastic thumbs up and many suggested another addition—integrating closed captioning of content directly into the platform instead of it being an extension.

One commenter pointed out that Twitch is the perfect place in which to uplift disabled content creators because the very nature of the Twitch platform allows for it to be a virtual meet-up spot where people from “intersections of all walks of life” can find each other and share their lives and content, adding that content creators “who are disabled offer different perspectives and their streams are the most safe and accessible.” Comments like this reiterate what many who advocate for accessibility already know: When disabled people are given a voice in the matters that shape their lives, the result will always be increased accessibility, often with changes that improve experiences for all users, not just those with disabilities. The nature of Twitch makes it a platform in which users of all ability levels can thrive and find community. To some extent, it is an equalizer, and as such, no doubt attracts many content creators with disabilities. And as such, it would be remarkable and empowering for creators with disabilities to be featured, to be made visible for the entire platform to see. Representation matters and visibility leads to normalization, and hopefully even more accessible content, site coding, and games.

When Is Disability Pride Month?

Though Disability Pride Month is not recognized officially on a national level, the unofficial Disability Pride Month in July after July 26th became a day of celebration for many in the disabled community with the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act by President H.W. Bush on that day in 1990. It’s a bit more official in New York with NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio declaring July to be Disability Pride Month in 2015 in celebration of the ADA’s 25th anniversary. Annual parades are held in NYC and other major cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco. Presumably then, if Twitch and other communities/platforms begin to celebrate Disability Pride Month, it will be in July.

What does celebrating Disability Pride Month look like?

Just as disabilities vary greatly, so do attitudes and perspectives within the community. For some, Pride might be a celebration of self-acceptance. Existing in a world where many want disability to be invisible, accepting oneself and simply being visible can be a revolutionary act in itself and certainly cause for celebration. Others might approach Pride as an opportunity to build on self-acceptance and celebrate the things that make them different, celebrate their uniqueness. For others, Pride can be a time to take stock of how far they’ve come and to celebrate small achievements and their continued progress.

In the context of Twitch and other online communities, a Pride Month celebration would offer the opportunity for the community to explore these differing perspectives, all while making the work and achievements of creators with disabilities more visible. For gamers with disabilities, this increased visibility would not just be empowering, it would also allow other users with disabilities to discover accessible games and to connect with creators making content that is accessible to their abilities. In other words, a Pride celebration would bring people together, building a richer sense of community, one that is more diverse, welcoming, and accessible.

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