Advocacy is the center of a lot of the work that we do here at ADAPT Community Network. Therefore, it is important that the people we support are informed and understand the various topics that concern them. This includes discussions and activities about LGBTIQ+ to LGBTQIA+. Hans Anggraito, the Community Specialist at ADAPT, with the help of other staff members, started the group LGBTQ Allies after the rising interest in the topic. “We all live complex intersectional lives. Unfortunately, there is still a stereotypical view that people with disabilities are automatically asexual and not seen as full and complex human beings,” said Hans. Hans believes that there are similarities between disability and LGBTQ rights. “Both communities are constantly fighting for the rights for self-expression, to be in public, and to be seen as complex human beings as such this is the foundation of the LGBTQ Allies,” Hans added.
The group meets weekly and engages in various discussions such as the right to self-express, intersectionality, sexual health, and the concept of allyships and showing up for each other. Kathleen Archibald, a member of the LGBTQ Allies, believes that having a sense of belonging and the freedom to be yourself is very important. “I identify as an LGBTQ Ally, which means standing up with the LGBTQ Community and speaking up against discriminations,” she said
As the group continues to grow, ADAPT’s partnerships with Planned Parenthood of New York City, ACT UP, and New York City Anit-Violence Project helps us provides opportunities and educate the people we serve. Currently, Vernita Paige, one of our self-advocates, serves on the Advisory Disability Council for Planned Parenthood to help create a curriculum for middle school students with disabilities. “Being part of the Planned Parenthood Disability Advisory Council allows me to expand the students’ minds and to show them a new part of life they might not have known. I hope the students take away what they were taught and apply it to their everyday life and that this will help them with their decision-making,” Vernita said.
For the first time this year, ADAPT Community Network held our first annual Radical Joy Ball to celebrate the vibrancy and diversity of the LGBTQIA+ and disability community through music and dance. For years, the Ball has served as a vehicle by which LGBTQ individuals can express themselves authentically and support their community. “We want our Ball to serve the same purpose by highlighting disability advocacy and showcasing the creativity of the people supported,” said Hans. So, if you missed it, you can now catch a glimpse of our community’s creativity and vibrancy below.
The LGBTQ Allies group meets every Friday and is open the all the people we serve. It’s a place where you will have the opportunity to learn more about the LGBTQ community and allyship. If you are interested in joining, please get in touch with Hans Anggraito at firstname.lastname@example.org.