TikTok creators educate while showing their disabilities with pride

Three TikTok creators correct misconceptions about the disabled community and discuss the importance of disability representation in all media.
8:10 | 04/30/21

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Transcript for TikTok creators educate while showing their disabilities with pride
It's here on the family farm in franklinville, New Jersey where they come alive. Living here is a fun, unique way to grow up. It's one big, happy family. These are my pets and, like, my family. Mckenzie's upbringing was unique in more ways than one, born with a rare form of send one of only 175 documented cases in history. She's had to find ways to adapt her whole life. Competing in equestrian shows and now the aspiring actress is making her own path on social media. Now, I'm no yogi, but I think that was pretty good. To go from growing up on a farm to this pasture you have turned into a pretty big tiktok star. Yeah it's been a bit of a welcome, fun change. What's that like for you. When quarantine started I was like now's the time to do a tiktok and post educational and fun videos. So I just made one. I felt silly posting it. Then I woke up the next day to a couple thousand views. On my first video ever. And it's been like a roller coaster ever since. Mckenzie isn't alone, for what seems like the first time disabled content creators have a genuine audience like never before. The largest video has over 200 million views, this is an audience we haven't tapped into before. Using tiktok influencers with ll types of disabilities have tapped into a younger and more eager audience. It's exciting to see a second-generation of online advocates on tiktok. They're so passionate and well-versused. Now disabled creators are using the app to tell their story in their own word dissecting privilege in a media landscape otherwise ignore them. Having access to other people telling stories in a variety of platforms is community-building. Often times society tries to put us in a box. For me it was see yourself as non-disabilitied. Don't be gay. Everything changed for me. When I leaned into my disability, came out as gay and started finding happiness in my own way. Spencer west has been a star long before tiktok. I wanted to share some words with you that helped describe my journey and who I am. A youtuber and inspirational speaker Spencer gives audiences a sense of what it's like to live life with no legs. What's that mean? Time for the next lesson. This here, didn't touch it. This stuff here, didn't touch it. I hope that clears up any confusion. Thank you. He's built a following and even made a famous friend along the way. Demi Lovato but not until tiktok did things take off. I'm going to the bathroom like everybody else. Now with 3 million followers he is educating and letting audiences to know it's okay to be proud of your disability. I group in the 80's, early 90's at that time to be seen as disability was sort of taboo you wanted to be seen like everybody else that your disability didn't limit you in those ways now we're learning that's a terrible way to think. I'm proud to have a disability. It is a part of me. And she couldn't agree more. I don't have a problem of being disabled, you have a problem with me being disabled, one of those things is a problem and it sounds like it's yours. She's an activist and writer who focused on the intersection of race and disability. So many different thing, political backgrounds, I wish we could no longer be seen as a monolith. If I pull up your tiktok page what can I respect. The truth. My videos are geared towards not sugar coating my disability. The video has an uncompromising honest take as a reality of life as a black woman with cerebral palsy, is looking to change the way society represents black and disable people. I'm so glad you agree. We should have way more disabled people in media, film, all of it. Not you. I thought you just said. Excuse me, I have no more time for this, I am about to profit off representations that will create stereotypes you will have to live by that don't include you at all. In terms of making people feel better by comparison our bodies are litmus tests how much grateful you could be because you could be us. I really hope black and brown, disabled people see themselves reflected on social media, we need to be seen by the public, by society, because we exist and we're here. Representation of disabled people in Hollywood and media or lack therefore is glaring problems while 26% of the adult pop lapgs is living with disability a study on top grossing films in 2019 found only 2.3% of speaking characters had a disability. I film is the only place you can access or have seen a disabled person and that story becomes the only narrative that you learn about, carries so much more weight in shaping your understanding of what disability mites be like. When disability appears in a story it always serves a function. The doctor who coproduced the film "Code of the freaks" how movies treat disability on screen. Stories are everywhere and Hollywood gets hold of our stories ant want to shove it into these really set stereo typical narratives. There's more nuanced roles like Walt junior on "Breaking bad". Are they too tight? You don't want to get them if they're too tight. They're pretty short. And Steve Wang who had muscular dystrophy. You don't really see people like me on television or their stories are not truly what we go through. Back on the farm in Jersey there's still work to be done and Mckenzie has made a promise to herself that she won't take roles that make her disability a punch line. As I got older I was offered roles in like commercial marshalls but like you're going to be playing an elf. Just portraying that stereotype is hurting the community. I wouldn't be able to sleep knowing I contributed to that and I'm privileged to be able to say no to that. I'm proud of my content. I like to say maybe somewhere in the back of their mind the video will stick with them. It's just 15 seconds but these creators are making sure with each tiktok they're forging a more inclusive future for not just disabled community but for everyone. Funny when people ask where's this community been, right here, we've been here the whole time and I think it's our time, I really do.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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