This July, as part of Disability Pride Month, Team Xbox proudly celebrates players, creators, and community members with disabilities. More than 400 million video game players have disabilities worldwide, and we recognize the incredible contributions the gaming and disability community has made in making Team Xbox, and the broader gaming industry, more inclusive and welcoming for everyone.

Disability Pride holds a special place in my heart, as I am not only a Program Manager on our Gaming Accessibility Team, but also a person with disabilities. Most people wouldn’t think of me as having a disability at first glance. In fact, I didn’t know I had disabilities until I was in my 20’s when I was diagnosed as being neurodiverse. Now I know that I have had Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Sensory Processing Disorder since I was a young child. And, as the years have gone by, I’ve acquired new disabilities due to illness, injury, and trauma. Chronic pain is now part of my life, as is hearing loss, and anxiety and depression related to complex post-traumatic stress disorder.

The reason I share all of this is that if you aren’t already dealing with your own disabilities, chances are very good that someone close to you is. It’s estimated that at least 15% of the world’s population has some form of disability, and the vast majority of those are invisible.

So, this month, we encourage everyone to take a moment to recognize and celebrate the many players with disabilities across the globe who make up the vibrant gaming community, as well as think about those people in your life who also are part of the disability community and what you can do to be an ally for them. For example, one way to support the disability community is to learn about the technologies and tools they use to play. You can do this by taking our free Gaming Accessibility Fundamentals learning path. Or, if you are an Xbox Ambassador, consider completing the Xbox Ambassador Accessibility Explorer Path, a gamified experience that allows Xbox Ambassadors to learn more about accessibility in gaming, as well as try out new gaming accessibility features across PC and console.

As for all of us at Xbox, a source of pride is being able to work to ensure our industry is welcoming of players of all abilities and backgrounds, celebrating and partnering with the Gaming & Disability Community, and investing in solutions to help ensure everyone can play. Because when everyone plays, we all win.

In celebration of Disability Pride Month, check out how Xbox is supporting the disability community to help make gaming a place where everyone feels heard, included, and supported in gaming in a way that brings them joy.

We are proud to highlight stories and experiences from members of the Gaming & Disability community, including what Disability Pride means to them. Check out their stories, in their words, below:

MikeTheQuad smiles at the camera, wearing a purple plaid shirt and a purple beanie with a white Xbox logo.

MikeTheQuad

He/Him

July marks Disability Pride Month. What does Disability Pride mean to you, personally?
Disability Pride is acceptance of all disabilities. It’s the celebration of all people who have a disability, and not the fact we are proud of our disability, but we are proud of overcoming all the obstacles we face on a daily basis.

How do you “show” or “live” your pride?
I showcase Disability Pride by living my life as a problem solver. Many people with disabilities have to adapt to their surroundings, because we live in an inaccessible world. I overcome these obstacles daily, not letting anything stop me from achieving my goals.

How has gaming enabled you to showcase your pride?
Gaming is my biggest enabler with showing disability pride. My handle “MikeTheQuad” was the name I chose because it immediately draws attention to my disability as a quadriplegic. I’ve actively broken down barriers by showing how I play through my gaming content,  in turn inspiring others that they can not only game if they have a disability, but they can use that mentality in everyday life.

Queerlybee smiles at the camera wearing a blue tshirt and white headphones. A rainbow Pride flag is displayed behind them.

Queerlybee

They/them

July marks Disability Pride Month. What does Disability Pride mean to you, personally?

Disability Pride represents a time for the disabled community, which has historically been ostracized and shunned, to be visible and show that we can have pride in our identity and community. Oftentimes, abled people associate disability with a life that is lesser than or not worth living, saying things like “Oh I don’t know how you do that, I could never live like that,” but the reality is that we make the most out of our situation and you would too if you were in our shoes. And it’s important to remember that disability is the only marginalized community that anyone could become a part of at any moment and when/if that happens to you, due to old age, injury or sickness, you’ll be grateful for this community of support we’ve built that will help you when the government/society often fails to do so.

How do you “show” or “live” your pride?

I show my pride by being open about my disabilities and sharing my lived experiences as a disabled content creator; I think this normalizes the experience and helps others feel less alone and like they can open up about their experiences too which can be healing. I curate a space that specifically caters to the disabled and neurodivergent community to have a safe space during this period of the pandemic where it feels as though everyone has moved on and left us behind.

How has gaming enabled you to showcase your pride?

Gaming has created a way for me, as a disabled person, to have accessible income and community. Through simulation games, I’m able to be a storyteller and share both queer and disabled stories that we don’t always see in the media. Seeing other creators talk about the importance of accessibility in games and gaming spaces has inspired me to make it a pillar of my own space… Accessibility for some benefits all, so I highly encourage other creators, game developers and others to talk to disabled gamers and uplift our voices so we can make sure gaming is for everyone!

Shawn stands in front of a step and repeat, smiling at the camera and wearing a grey suit over a maroon shirt.

Shawn Games

He/Him

July marks Disability Pride Month. What does Disability Pride mean to you, personally?

I have been disabled in speech-language for 100% of my life and with fibromyalgia for over 50% of my life without knowing it. I was undiagnosed with lupus for 14 years until getting a confirmed diagnosis this year of fibromyalgia which has allowed me access to care and improvement of my life. Disability Pride allows me to showcase my invisible disabilities that still affect me on a daily basis.

How do you “show” or “live” your pride?

By educating as much as I can about my experience, so others do not have to wait as long as I did for care.

How has gaming enabled you to showcase your pride? Are there characters, stories, or experiences with your community or fellow creators that have positively impacted you?

Queerlybee is a disabled creator in the gaming space whose voice allowed me to feel safe enough to share my experience. Without them being as vocal as they are I know I would not be as vocal as I am today. Having others in the space being vocal about their lived experiences allows more people to know that they aren’t alone in the world and that they also can share their stories. I know we’ll see more diversity in characters in years to come and I am excited to champion them.

DeafGamersTV smiles at the camera and uses his right hand to show the American Sign Language sign for I Love You.

DeafGamersTV

He/Him

July marks Disability Pride Month. What does Disability Pride mean to you, personally?

Disability Pride is a celebration as a person not hidden away in the shadow of society. We are out here too and existing just as everyone else is.

How do you “show” or “live” your pride?

I show that I’m proud of being Deaf. I’m proud of my American Sign Language as a culture and language. I show that there should be no reason to fear. Love what makes you smile.

How has gaming enabled you to showcase your pride? Are there characters, stories, experiences with your community or fellow creators that have positively impacted you?

Gaming lets me show that I can’t be backed down by barriers. It allows me to speak up on how to be inclusive & allow gamers with disabilities to be invited to play games.

To learn more about the above Gaming & Disability community members, who earlier this year joined the first Xbox Next Level (XNL) Creator Program, a six-week accelerator designed to help gaming streamers from underrepresented communities, click here.

Two Xbox Adaptive Controller users high-fiving one another at Craig Hospital’s adaptive game night.
Mike and Jake – users of the Xbox Adaptive Controller – enjoy connection, mentorship and friendly competition at weekly adaptive video gaming nights at Craig Hospital – a neurorehabilitation and research hospital in Denver, Colorado, specializing in spinal cord injury and brain injury – as part of the hospital’s adaptive video gaming program, a collaboration between its Assistive Technology and Therapeutic Recreation teams.

Xbox believes that everyone should be able to experience the joys, connection, creativity and fun of gaming, and it is our job to make that happen. For Disability Pride Month, the Xbox Accessibility team is thrilled to announce some new updates, which are all part of our mission to empower gamers around the world to come together to play the games they want, with the people they want, on the devices they want. These include:

New Xbox Adaptive Controller User Guide

On June 28, a new resource called the Xbox Adaptive Controller user guide launched on support.xbox.com. Consisting of new instructional videos, resources, and links to external peripheral options, the guide serves as a comprehensive “one-stop-shop” focused on helping players with disabilities, their family members, and anyone else new to gaming or Xbox learn about what the Xbox Adaptive controller is and how to use it.

Whether you’re completely new to using the Xbox Adaptive Controller and want to check out the “getting started” page (video above), or have the basics of the controller covered and want to explore the “advanced functionalities” page that discusses lesser-known adaptive controller functions like shift mode, un-mapping, action remapping, and more, the guide has you covered!

Check out the full Xbox Adaptive Controller User Guide below, which includes:

Spotlighting 3D-Printed, Accessible Gaming Peripherals

A 3D-printed joystick attachment connected to an Xbox Adaptive Controller.
A 3D-printed joystick attachment connected to an Xbox Adaptive Controller.

The team at Xbox has been amazed at the creativity shown in the maker community, a group of innovative individuals and non-profit organizations that identify problems and design inventive solutions by creating 3D-printed peripherals meant to help make gaming with Xbox controllers and Xbox Adaptive Controllers more accessible for those with fine motor disabilities.

In celebration of this impressive work, we’ve partnered with a couple makers, including Adam Breece and Caleb Kraft, to curate a list of some of our favorite 3D-printed peripherals, which can be found in a new article on Xbox’s accessibility support pages. If you have a 3D printer and want to try making some yourself, or want to send a design to a 3D print vendor to make for you, check out our resources.

Xbox Brazil Releases Glossary of Gaming Terms Used by Deaf and Hard of Hearing Players

It’s common for gamers to use different terms while they play, whether it’s drifting in Forza Horizon or anchoring the ship in Sea of Thieves. In May, Xbox Brazil partnered with streamer, content creator and leading Brazilian figure in game accessibility, Jessyka “Suuhgetsu,” to create a glossary of gaming terms commonly signed by deaf and hard of hearing players (like “drift” or “Xbox”). These expressions, also known as “Libras” (the short term for Brazilian Sign Language), were featured on Xbox Brazil’s official YouTube channel. Check out a video detailing Forza Horizon 5 terms above, and the full glossary via Xbox Wire.

Team Xbox is incredibly excited to celebrate and honor Disability Pride Month. We strive to uplift and honor the disability community not only this month, but each and every day. Please stay tuned for even more exciting announcements this fall!

Source: https://news.xbox.com/en-us/2023/07/05/xbox-disability-pride-month-2023/