by Melody E. Holloway
Blind LGBT Pride International is the American Council of the Blind’s special-interest affiliate founded and operated by and for people who live with visual impairment who also identify with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and allied community. Blind Pride International was previously known as Blind Friends of Lesbians and Gays (BFLAG). BPI was founded in 1996 in hope that both broader communities as well as society in general would accept, understand, support, and recognize the daily plight of individuals who live with intersectionality among us.
BPI is known for a welcoming, non-judgmental environment as well as informative, enlightening, often delicious activities. These include advice about constructive methods of asking for help, topic-driven movies, wine tasting, legal advice for self-care as well as caring for our partners, relaxed fun chats, and a biweekly radio program called “Pride Connection,” which airs on ACB Media. “Pride Connection” features a wide variety of guests, from authors to musicians to artists to members themselves. They also discuss a broad spectrum of topics such as treatment of different ethnic populations, HIV education, standards of medical care, defining often misunderstood terms used by the LGBTQA community, personal accounts of coming out to ourselves and those we interact with, and the history of not only BPI, but of awareness, oppression, and acceptance of all who identify as not exclusively heterosexual.
Blind Pride International is the ultimate “come as you are” affiliate, made up of a diverse group of members. Some are visually impaired. Some have sight. Many are on the LGBTQ spectrum. Some identify as straight. Some live with additional physical disabilities or chronic medical and/or mental health conditions. Many ethnicities, education, and employment backgrounds are also represented, as well as living situations. There are therapists, social workers, wine connoisseurs, life coaches, assistive technology specialists, parents, guide dog handlers, and white cane users. The only requirement to join BPI is that you support its members with positivity, patience, compassion, and an open mind. Blind LGBT Pride International invites you to come see who we are and what we stand for. The opportunity to open yourself up to different points of view is too vital to pass up. Divided we fall. United we thrive!