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Mad Pride

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Title: Mad Pride  
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Subject: Outline of the psychiatric survivors movement, Neurodiversity, Judi Chamberlin, Linda Andre, Leonard Roy Frank
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Mad Pride

A flyer for a 2003 Mad Pride event.

Mad Pride is a mass movement of the users of [2]

Mad Pride activists seek to reclaim terms such as "mad", "nutter", and "psycho" from misuse, such as in tabloid newspapers. Through a series of mass media campaigns, Mad Pride activists seek to re-educate the general public on such subjects as the causes of mental disorders, the experiences of those using the mental health system, and the global suicide pandemic. One of Mad Pride's founding activists was Pete Shaughnessy, who later committed suicide.[3] Robert Dellar and "Freaky Phil" Murphy were among the other founders of the movement. Mad Pride: A celebration of mad culture records the early Mad Pride movement.[4]

Mad Studies

As noted in Mad matters: a critical reader in Canadian mad studies (LeFrançois, Menzies and Reaume, 2013)[5] "Mad Studies can be defined in general terms as a project of inquiry, knowledge production, and political action devoted to the critique and transcendence of psy-centred ways of thinking, behaving, relating, and being" (p.13). As a book,"Mad Matters offers a critical discussion of mental health and madness in ways that demonstrate the struggles, oppression, resistance, agency and perspectives of Mad people to challenge dominant understandings of ‘mental illness’" (Castrodale, 2014, p.3[6]). "Mad Studies is a growing, evolving, multi-voiced and interdisciplinary field of activism, theory, praxis and scholarship" (Castrodale, 2014, p.1).

Mad Studies in Education

Mad Studies may occupy an important counter hegemonic onto-epistemological place in education. As a field Mad Studies may serve as a platform from which to critically unpack dominant discourses surrounding mental health issues in education and the ways "mentally ill" subjects are often constituted in individualistic, pathologizing, negative and reductionist ways. As Castrodale (2014) asserts: "The term Mad is reclaimed by people pathologized and psychiatrized as ‘mentally ill’ to take back oppressive language. Notably, Mad people’s voices are often absent education. Pluralities of Mad people’s perspectives need to be better represented in the field of education, to inform increasingly critical and inclusive curriculum, pedagogy, theory and praxis. Acknowledging the voices, agency and counter-knowledge of Mad people in discussions of mental health in education and related policies may transform educational possibilities. Mad teaching may be a site of academic and activist political engagement. Thus, teaching madness in ways that recognize the often subjugated knowledge of Mad people through highlighting lived experiences may develop sites of resistance to psychiatric power and oppression and a way to challenge understandings of ‘mental illness’ in education" (p.2-3).


Mad Pride was launched alongside a book of the same name, Mad Pride: A celebration of mad culture, published in 2000.[4] On May 11, 2008, Gabrielle Glaser documented Mad Pride in The New York Times.[7] Glaser stated, "Just as gay-rights activists reclaimed the word queer as a badge of honor rather than a slur, these advocates proudly call themselves mad; they say their conditions do not preclude them from productive lives." The Mad Pride movement was further mentioned in The Huffington Post.[8]

Mad culture and events

Mad Pride parade in Salvador, Brazil, in 2009.

The Mad Pride movement has spawned recurring cultural events in Toronto, London, and other cities around the world. These events often include music, poetry readings, film screenings, and street theatre, such as "bed push" protests, which aim to raise awareness about the poor levels of choice of treatments and the widespread use of force in psychiatric hospitals.[9] included British journalist Jonathan Freedland[10] and popular novelist Clare Allan.[11] Mad Pride cultural events take a variety of forms, such as the South London collective Creative Routes, the Chipmunka Publishing enterprise, and the many works of Dolly Sen.[12]

Bed push

Mad Pride Week in Toronto is proclaimed as such by the city itself. Highlighted by the MAD! Pride Bed Push, the festival is now in its fourteenth year. A series of bed push events take place around London each year.[13]

The ABC-TV show Primetime: The Outsiders ran a segment about Mad Pride on August 25, 2009 that included interviews with actor Joey Pantoliano, musician Madigan Shive, and director of MindFreedom International David W. Oaks.[14]

See also


  1. ^ Reaume, Geoffrey (July 14, 2008). "A History of Psychiatric Survivor Pride Day during the 1990s". The Consumer/Survivor Information Resource Centre Bulletin, No. 374. 
  2. ^ 'Mad Pride' Fights a Stigma
  3. ^ Pete Shaughnessy r.i.p.
  4. ^ a b Mad Pride. Chipmunka Publishing. 2000-03-01.  
  5. ^ Mad matters: a critical reader in Canadian mad studies, edited by Brenda LeFrançois, Robert Menzies and Geoffrey Reaume, Toronto, Canadian Scholars’ Press Inc., 2013, 380 pp., CDN$49.95 (paperback), ISBN 978-1551305349
  6. ^ Mark Anthony Castrodale (2014): Mad matters: a critical reader in Canadian mad studies, Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research, DOI: 10.1080/ 15017419.2014.895415
  7. ^ Author: Gabrielle Glaser. Web page: "'Mad Pride' Fights a Stigma." Web site: The New York Times. Date: May 11, 2008. Institution: The New York Times Company. Date of access: May 11, 2008. Web address:
  8. ^ Author: The Huffington Post. Web page: "Glad To Be Mad: Mentally Ill Start 'Mad Pride' Movement (VIDEO)." Web site: "The Huffington Post. Date: May 12, 2008. Institution:, Inc. Date of access: May 26, 2008. Web address:
  9. ^ The Great Escape Bed Push
  10. ^ Brand, Jo (2007-05-08). "Glad to be 'mad'?". The Guardian. 
  11. ^ Allan, Clare (2006-11-27). "Misplaced pride". Guardian Unlimited. 
  12. ^ "World Is Full of Laughter: 1 Million People Commit Suicide Every Year", Dolly Sen, Chipmunka Publishing, October 2002 ISBN 978-0-9542218-1-2
  13. ^ "MAD! Pride Breaks the Stigma of Mental Illness". 2009-07-11. Retrieved 2013-08-02. 
  14. ^ Robinson, Ia (2009-08-24). Mad Pride' Activists Fight Against Mental Illness Stigma - ABC News"'". Retrieved 2013-08-02. 

External links

  • Mad Pride Toronto
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