Disability Media: YouTubers, Speechless, and Viral Hashtags

If you consider yourself liberal, feminist, intersectional, mindful of diversity, or any combination of the above, that consideration of diversity needs to include disabled people, and it needs to include a spectrum of disabled people.

Media that (ACCURATELY!!!) concerns disability can be extremely difficult to find, especially since mainstream media largely ignores it and/or promotes media with inaccurate and even unhealthy depictions of disability.

So here’s some media you should definitely check out. They will have descriptions so you can try to find stuff you think you’ll be interested in. It’s 2019, so most of these people have allllll da social medias, but if they have a YouTube, I’ll be linking that first and foremost because it’s a simple one-stop shop. There is tons of disability media out there, so I’ll just be linking some of my current favorites. The first four are YouTubers, then there’s a tv show and a few hashtags.

MEDIA YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:

Jessica Kellgren-Fozard: Deaf, chronically ill, queer ambulatory wheelchair user living in England with her POC wife Claudia and her two adorable little dogs. She makes videos about disability, being queer, traveling, fashion (especially gorgeous vintage fashion!), and sometimes movies. Her YouTube can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/user/MissJessicaKH

Oliver Lam-Watson: Wheelchair fencer for Great Britain, disabled Youtuber and photographer, POC, in a long-distance relationship, and actual cutie. He makes videos disability, fitness, being productive, and the occasional adorable video involving his girlfriend, Carola. His YouTube can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/user/107sundance

Annie Elainey: Chronically ill/disabled, queer, gender non-conforming, POC/latinx American (pronouns she/they). She makes videos almost exclusively about disability and being queer, including the video I linked earlier about ambulatory wheelchair users. Her YouTube can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/user/theannieelainey

Annika Victoria: Disabled, chronically ill student and YouTuber from Australia. She makes videos primarily about disability and sewing projects, including her popular series Make Thrift Buy. She also has merch on DFTBA lol. Her YouTube can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/user/AnnikaVictoria24

Speechless is an American sitcom (that recently started airing in the UK too) that follows a family through both serious and hilarious situations as they navigate life with a disabled person in the family. The family is made up of JJ, the oldest child who has Cerebral Palsy (my disability!) (played by Micah Fowler, who actually has Cerebral Palsy in real life) who is unable to speak and uses headgear and a word board read out by other people to communicate, and is a filmmaker, middle child Ray (Mason Cook), a complete and total nerd who is always being pranked by his sister, and youngest child Dylan (Kyla Kenedy), an athlete, the only daughter, and a total prankster. Their parents are Maya DiMeo (Minnie Driver), a British mother who is willing to do whatever it takes for JJ, and Jimmy DiMeo, Sr. (John Ross Bowie) who is easily persuaded to go along with whatever the rest of the family wants.

In addition to Micah actually having CP, the show’s creator, Scott Silveri, chose to write the show based on his own experience growing up in a family with disability, as his brother has CP. From the beginning of the show he also kept in contact with information sources like the Cerebral Palsy Foundation and Zach Anner (YouTuber with Cerebral Palsy, wrote a memoir called *If At Birth You Don’t Succeed*, etc.) to ensure he was portraying things accurately and appropriately. Zach Anner now also occasionally guest stars on the show and is a full-time writer on the show. This award-winning and accurate, beautiful, relatable, hilarious show may not get another season unless it gets new viewers and more buzz on social media. I don’t know what countries it’s offered in, but the entire show thus far is on Hulu and I’d 100% be willing to rabbit it for people if people were interested in watching it. So, let me know if you are and we can set up a doodle and stuff.

Tangentially related to social media buzz, two disability-based hashtags have gone viral in the last week:

https://twitter.com/hashtag/abledsareweird has disabled people talking about the weird shit able-bodied people (ableds) think it’s okay to ask disabled people. It’s an excellent read and an easy way to learn what dumb shit you shouldn’t ask strangers just because they’re disabled.

https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/100outof100/ / https://twitter.com/hashtag/100outOf100 A week ago today, actual idiot and piece of garbage Dr. Phil had inter-abled couples (couples where one person is disabled and one is not) on his show. During this show, he commented “You’re a young, single, attractive female. Out of all the people that you can choose, why choose someone in a wheelchair?” He then later went on to say that she could be “his lover or you can be his caregiver, but you can’t be both… It won’t work, 100 out of 100 times this won’t work.” A) that’s bullshit. B) it’s none of Dr. Phil’s business how anyone else’s relationship operates. C) I sure as fuck hope his vows with his wife never involved the words “in sickness and in health” because yikes at him.

Because the whole “100 out of 100 relationships that involve caregiving fail” thing is absolute bullshit, disabled people in inter-abled relationships have taken to social media to point out just how bullshit it is. The Instagram tag is personally my favorite because so many cute inter-abled couples. And just on the very unlikely off chance you weren’t aware: hello, it is I, a literal disabled person in a successful relationship with an able-bodied person.