7 queer and trans creators with disabilities fight for an accessible world

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Asked about the inspiration for their organization, Ben-Oni cites their ancestry, in particular their great-great-grandfather, Reverend Richard Henry Boydwho learned to read at age 20 and founded a publishing house that is still in business today.

“I practice ancestor worship, and I am eternally and infinitely inspired by my ancestors. So much so that it led me to develop a new term that I coined, “neuroidindigenous,” they recount. Their. “To be neuroindigenous is to be neurodistinct and in conversation with, admiration and respect for one’s indigenous and ancestral ways of knowing and being.”

Makeup artist, writer, model and speaker Umber Ghauri (they) knows firsthand how difficult it can be to feel desirable when living with one or more disabilities. That’s why the artist uses her skills as a makeup artist to help affirm the people of QTPOC, especially those living with disabilities.

“When you’re disabled, and you’re South Asian and queer, in Britain it’s hard to want to speak out,” Ghauri said. Their. “You feel invisible most of the time.”

Umber Ghauri

Nora S Whelan

Working with makeup to transform your appearance can help combat these experiences of invisibility. What helps even more, notes Ghauri, is to transform the reflection of his “disability” into a unique and personal style.

“Even when I’ve had issues like my hands going numb from neuropathy, I can still gamify it,” adds Ghauri. “Even though I can’t really do winged eyeliner, what I’m going to do is different, and I always try to do something different.”

Ghauri also mentions how putting on makeup with their disabilities allows them to be creative, and that creativity can heal:[Makeup] it’s also playing, which makes you feel connected to yourself.

Karli Drew (her), aka “KarLeia”, is a freelance writer, activist and wheelchair user. At 16, she began to write professionally. She now works as a writer, editor and disability inclusion specialist.

In Drew’s eyes, the main way for able-bodied people to present themselves as allies for people with disabilities is to first recognize how pervasive ableism is in the world.

“Social action always begins with the recognition of inequalities. So I think the first natural step toward action is to recognize the prevalence of people with disabilities in society and how we are actively excluded from, well, everything,” Drew said. Their. “Ignoring our existence won’t make us disappear, but it certainly makes it easier for non-disabled people to forget the amount of work that remains to be done.”

Corin Parsons (he/him) is a disabled, queer, trans, academic man. In addition to studying disability in higher education, the lawyer is known for his social media presence, where he tweets about how the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic or the overthrow of Roe v. Wade has a specific impact on people with disabilities.

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