In today’s media industry, diversity and inclusion are hot topics, but unfortunately, disability representation is still largely forgotten when it comes to Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters. While disability increasingly features in the plots of up and coming new films, able-bodied actors are disproportionately cast to play these roles. Entertainment has a long way to go in the fight for positive disability representation and inclusion of actors with lived experiences of disability.
The disability world is full of romance myths, some of which can be incredibly disheartening for members of the disability community, and when assumptions are particularly destructive, they can actually perpetuate ableism. Despite common misconceptions, negative stereotypes, and ableist assumptions, people with disabilities fall in love every day. Dating with disability is possible; disability can be part of a happily ever after. These are some of the most common disability dating myths and the facts that prove them wrong.
In a world where to be able-bodied is to be accepted as a member of the social majority, positive disability representation can be hard to come by. Often used in the context of humour, pity, innocence or inspiration, disability becomes a repetitive stereotype as the media miss opportunities for inclusion and normalisation.
Since its conception in early 2005, YouTube has been pushing the limits of conventional media and handing the proverbial microphone to grassroots creators around the globe. What was once a humble sharing platform for home videos and movie trailers has now given way to a world-stage for passionate people to document their experience of life.
YouTube is also a space for activism, education, and social connection. Entire micro-communities can, and often do, blossom in the comments section of a video, and viewers often credit content creators for making them feel less alone in their experiences.
I am an intrepid adventurer who has osteogenesis imperfecta - which means that my bones are brittle and break easily, and often for no clear reason. Osteogenesis imperfecta is a genetic disease that affects how my body produces collagen, the protein that helps to strengthen bones. Because of this, I use a wheelchair to help me get around.