Mad Pride Toronto is a grassroots peer movement that
● Celebrates and empowers all types of ‘madness’ and ‘neuro-diversity’
● Challenges diagnoses, interpersonal, and social stigma of mental ‘illnesses’ and ‘disorders’
● Is anti-oppression and welcomes all individuals and entities to participate
● Provides a supportive network for neuro-divergent and marginalized people
OUR MISSION is to create an inclusive and supportive space where consumer/survivors/ex-patients, allies, peer workers, community members, students, and citizens can find and build strength, creativity, and community. Together we collectively connect people and communities to advocate for human rights and the appropriate treatment of those diagnosed or labeled as mentally “ill”
As Mad Pride Toronto’s publication,
Mad Times Magazine is committed to celebrating ‘madness’ in all its forms and expressions. Through critical discourse, art, and community collaboration, we question accepted methods of diagnosis and treatment. Our work aims to transcend stigma by understanding how society creates and labels mental ‘illnesses’ and ‘disabilities.’ Mad Pride Toronto, and by proxy Mad Times, challenge oppressive beliefs through open, inclusive group structures, which empower and engage personal opinions and views. There is no strict definition or format of Mad Pride and Mad Times; we engage with diverse communities and individuals to better understand our group and ourselves.
We aim to deconstruct social barriers caused by stigma. This is realized by community education, advocacy, and by sharing personal experiences and wisdom. We also acknowledge that certain societal pressures and issues can cause psychological distress; we aim to identify these social issues by providing an open forum and collaborative medium for the broader community. The term ‘Mad Pride’ intends to invoke a celebration and awareness of ‘mad’ ideas, studies, and values—especially those concerning individuality, the existence of neuro-diversity, and the upholding of integrity and basic human rights.
Mad Times is free of vertical and horizontal hierarchies and refuses any strict format. Rather, it is a free form, grassroots publication where the contributors themselves choose different modes of expression. We do not focus on clinical diagnoses or labels: we understand there to be neuro-diversity among individuals’ perceptions and subjectivities. We welcome and encourage the participation of all allies – sane, absurd, and otherwise. Mad Pride and Mad Times are inclusive and engage in intersectionality. The group is founded on a radical inclusivity which is the foundation of our ever-shifting and ongoing activism and discussions.
Advocacy & Collaboration
By working in solidarity with other ally groups, we advocate for the rightful treatment of people who identify as ‘mad,’ have been neglected by institutions, and other marginalized individuals. We understand that ‘mad’ issues are related and not exclusive of other socio-economic or socio-political factors and are therefore connected to multiple institutions of oppression. By working with other ally groups we find commonalities and support each other’s efforts. Through our work with different groups we nurture and build community and a space for free-form expression and collaboration. From petitions and academic discourses, to protests and street marches, Mad Pride and Mad Times are on all fronts of social activism.
Understanding Our World and Ourselves
It is our right to be as we are and use our respective subjectivities to understand ourselves and the world around us. We question and challenge psychiatric, as well as anti-psychiatric, perceptions and treatments of mental ‘illnesses’ and seek freedom for intra-personal understanding and self-fulfillment. We believe that we have the right to seek the types of lives that are right for us, and interpret our conditions as we experience them. While we ask to be free to interpret and understand ourselves, we do not wish to claim that our beliefs are laws or dogma–through constructive dialogue with different individuals and opinions, we create an inclusive conversation that does not alienate nor condemn any ‘opposing’ beliefs or their respective parties. Paradox is understood as creative and necessary for ongoing discussion. We seek greater understanding of the influence of power and subtle control over both subjectivity and groups of subjects. Character is destiny.