photo courtesy of a crazy person and big pharma
I watched my Father a Gay Rights pioneer fight homophobia in NYC in the years after the Stonewall riots. The Stonewall is still a bar I still frequent in NYC and find as a safe harbour in my life. These riots where the incubator of what we know as the Modern "Gay Pride" movement. Years of fighting for equal rights and end to homophobia still have not ending the hate or reversed laws but there have been amazing changes in the views and acceptance of the gay community.
I am mentally ill, I suffer from as alot of you know Bipolar disorder. I am vocal and self "Outed" years ago. I use my blog, facebook and twitter to openly discuss mental illness and it's world view.
For years and still people who live with, or have a family member living with mental illness have suffered mostly in silence, out of fear of being shunned, loosing employment, mocked, mistrusted and generally thought of as less than. This stigma is not just from lay people but also from medical professionals. That is why the time for "Mad Pride" has arrived.
"Mad Pride" is a movement quite like Gay Pride, it started from a need for a stigmatized segment of our community to be given respect and equal rights. The movement started in late 1990s in the UK as a way to re educate the public and healthcare professionals about living with mental health. There are parades in many cities already even Toronto has a Mad Pride week. But we do not here in Vancouver and we need one.
Vancouver has a very high per capita mental illness rate, we see it all around us almost everyday. So what do we do? How do we evoke a pivotal change in the public and professional views of crazy?
My plan is simple, I will continue to speak out on Mad Pride and my mental illness. I intend to also use social media, like twitter, facebook, and blogging to create a Vancouver Mad Pride movement. My goal in the short term is a parade, and festival. Just one day for now with a dream of it being a week long event.
The time has come.... We need to join the Crazy the Sane, the lay person and professional to come together to break down the walls of hate, fear, stigma, and blindness and stand up for Mad Pride.. Because we are all a little mad!