When You’re Disabled, Visibility and Representation is So Important
As a writer with multiple physical and mental disabilities, I know first-hand how important it is to see other writers like myself in the world. Compared to many others, I’m still a newbie writer. The folk at Wear Your Voice have really given me the confidence to continue telling and sharing my experiences and what I’ve learned from other activists and educators.
One of the biggest things that I’ve learned, for sure, is that representation for people with disabilities (PwD) matters! It’s so major to witness other disabled folks shaking things up, enacting change and creating platforms, both in their communities and online, for other PwD — especially youth. Here are four disabled bloggers, writers, and content creators that I have learned from, been inspired by and most certainly feel you need to check out!
Annie Segarra is a 25-year-old disabled woman of color. She’s a blogger, YouTuber, writer and artist from Miami, Florida. She cranks out wonderful content on ablesim and body positivity as well as other social and intersectional feminism topics. She has been active on YouTube since late 2011. Segarra also has blog called Stop Hating Your Body, which discusses self-image and self-esteem while prioritizing the voices and experiences of those from intersecting marginalized backgrounds. Not to mention she’s a pretty awesome singer and photographer! You can check out her work on YouTube, Facebook, Tumblr and even support her on Patreon.
Karin Hitselberger is a freelance writer. She started her blog, Claiming Crip, in the spring of 2009. At the time she was working on her masters degree in Disability Studies from the University of Leeds in England. She writes about disability justice, ableism and her own experiences navigating the world as a woman with disabilities. Her work has been featured in several places around the web, including the Huffington Post. She also runs CeepStyle, a disability fashion blog where she shows off her outfits and encourages other people with disabilities to share their own. Hitselberger’s writing is so poignant and relevant, and she’s an incredible activist. Check out her blogs Claiming Crip and CeepStyle and her Instagram as well.
Lydia X. Z. Brown
Lydia X. Z. Brown is a fantastic writer and radical disability justice activist. They are a genderqueer person of color, chairperson of the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council and is currently in law school. Brown started their website, Autistic Hoya, back in 2011. Not only are they a writer, they have been doing grassroots activism work for several years as well as public policy advocacy and outreach. They write about ableism in language, public policy and Autism awareness, accessibility, and other social justice topics that affect people with disabilities. Their work has been featured in the Washington Post, Black Girl Dangerous and the Georgetown Voice — and they were the lead editor for All the Weight of Our Dreams, an anthology of writing and art by Autistic people of color. Check out their website Autistic Hoya, as well as their Twitter and Youtube channel.
Mickey is a Black femme disabled writer, and though they’re new to the writing world, they’re a force to be reckoned with. They’re based in NYC but also making noise in the greater Boston area. They are a passionate social justice educator and writer here at Wear Your Voice. They specialize in areas like disability, sexual, reproductive, gender and racial justice. They are actively creating workshops and curricula like “Count Me In: Ableism in Queer Spaces” as well as workshops centering on the intersections of disability and kink. Their work has been featured in online publications such as The Body is Not an Apology and Harlot. As an educator, this work is important to them because they know how often disability justice is ignored in other marginalized groups — and especially how disabled voices of color are pushed to the side. By doing this work, they hope to increase awareness and create the seeds for liberation. Check them out here at WYV and on Facebook as well!
The work that these writers do is so vital. Not only because disability justice is important, but also because the visibility of people with disabilities is equally as important. It’s imperative that folks of all ability levels see this work from PwD. Without PwD, our movement would not have made as much progress. We are the ones doing the bulk of the physical and emotional labor. We are activists, advocates, educators and more. Whether we’re out on the front lines or creating content online, this work is crucial!