“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat, “We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
– Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
The word ‘mad’ has often had negative associations in history. It brings up images and ideas of mental instability, craziness, and individuals who are meant to be feared. In the spirit of reclaiming once harmful and stigma-causing words (as we’ve seen with many words in the LGBTQ community), many people have decided to reclaim marginalizing words like ‘mad,’ ‘crazy,’ ‘nuts,’ and ‘psycho.’ These people wear their banner of madness with a sense of pride and are not afraid to shake off the negative associations that come with the label of being ‘mentally ill.’
This week is Mad Pride Week in Toronto, an arts and culture festival celebrating the lives and contributions of those with psychiatric issues. From the Mad Pride Website:
“When we talk about culture, we are talking about mad people as a people. Madness is a political and social identity that we take pride in. As mad people, we have unique ways of experiencing the world, making meaning, developing community, and creating culture.
We take pride in our culture. This culture is showcased and celebrated during Mad Pride.”
For more information on festivities and how to get involved, visit http://www.madprideto.com