These Women are Bringing Disabilities Education to YouTube

03/27/2017 06:14 pm ET Updated Feb 13, 2018

YouTube continues to grown overtime as a platform where millions of creators upload thousands of videos each day. From Tag Videos to Short Films, YouTube provides a space for creators of all kinds to share their work with the world. However, it can become hard to find new creators with the overwhelming amount of content that exists on the website. With March being International Women’s History Month, what better time to highlight some of the amazing women on YouTube that are making content about disabilities, educating others on their experiences, and making online content more accessible to others.

Annie Elainey:

Annie is a queer lifestyle blogger and writer who creates content that gives audiences a glimpse of how Ehlers-Danlos impacts her life in a number of ways. Annie also creates videos that touch on body image, the LGBTQ+ community, and occasionally posts some amazing musical covers that are sure to put a smile on your face. Annie is a passionate advocate for proper representation for disabled people in a number of fields and works to shed light on invisible disabilities, their importance, and how it’s often related to limited representation of disabled people in the media. You can also find Annie at VidCon in Anaheim this year where Annie will be a featured creator.

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Rikki Poynter:

Rikki describes herself as a “25 Year Old Deaf Vlogger” in her channel description, but her work online stretches far beyond a simple identifier. I first came across one of Rikki’s videos nearly a year ago where she talked about the importance of captions on YouTube Videos, which inspired me to start putting captions on to my own videos. In Sept 2016, Rikki launched an online campaign called #NoMoreCraptions that aimed to raise awareness about the inaccuracy of automated captioning on YouTube, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) guidelines of Closed Captioning, and why “jokes” are inappropriate in captions, since millions of people depend on accurate captions. If you are looking to learn more about the deaf community, Rikki’s channel is a perfect place to start, especially if you are a Pokemon fan!

Claire Wineland - The Clarity Project:

Claire is a YouTuber who documents her daily life as she lives with cystic fibrosis, a disease that  impacts her lungs and digestive system, and requires her to do treatments for hours each day. Claire’s channel is dedicated to answering questions, providing information about cystic fibrosis, and making discussions surrounding such topics more common on YouTube. Channels like Claire’s are important because not only does she work to educate others on an experience outside of their own, but also shows others in similar situations that they aren’t alone.

Haben Girma:

While Haben is not a traditional “creator” in the way that the other women mentioned are, she’s no stranger to online video. YouTube is full of countless interviews with Haben, discussing her activism within disabled communities; and she’s even given a TedTalk! Haben is the first Deaf-Blind Harvard Law School Graduate, and is a passionate advocate for the rights of people with disabilities, receiving recognition from Forbes 30 under 30 and Former President Barack Obama. Haben offers training in providing accessibility for various types of disabilities and also speaks professionally to audiences of all sizes. While she may not run a typical YouTube Channel, Haben’s advocacy is incredible and important.

There are countless women doing amazing work to erase stigmas surrounding disabilities on YouTube and in other creative spaces. Having conversations about different experiences is one of the greatest aspects of online culture, and it truly is a privilege to be able to learn from these women who are willing to share their experiences with the world in such dynamic ways. They’re proving that YouTube isn’t just for able-bodied creators.

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