A Day to Honor LGBT People With Disabilities

The 20th International Day of Persons With Disabilities honors a group that includes many LGBT people.

BY Trudy Ring

December 03 2012 10:29 PM ET

An interpreter signs for the deaf and hard of hearing at the Los Angeles LGBT Pride celebration. Today is the 20th International Day of Persons With Disabilities.

As today is the 20th International Day of Persons With Disabilities, it’s worth remembering that this category includes many LGBT people, famous and otherwise.

Famous LGBT people of the past with disabilities include Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Lord Byron, Frida Kahlo, and Marcel Proust. Contemporary ones include Patrick Califia and Geri Jewell. And the Americans With Disabilities Act outlaws discrimination against people with HIV or AIDS, a population in which there are numerous LGBT members.

In his proclamation today, President Obama noted, “For more than two decades, our country has upheld those basic promises for persons with disabilities through the Americans with Disabilities Act — a sweeping civil rights bill that moved our Nation forward in the journey to equality for all. And from making health care more affordable to ensuring new technologies are accessible, we have continued to build on that progress, guided by the belief that equal access and equal opportunity are common principles that unite us as one Nation.”

He also emphasized the need to protect the rights of people with disabilities around the world. The U.S. and 153 other countries have signed on to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which calls on all nations to adopt policies similar to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“We have come far in the long march to achieve equal opportunity for all,” the president proclaimed. “But even as we partner with countries across the globe in affirming universal human rights, we know our work will not be finished until the inherent dignity and worth of all persons with disabilities is guaranteed. Today, let us renew our commitment to meeting that challenge here in the United States, and let us redouble our efforts to build new paths to participation, empowerment, and progress around the world.”

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