'Queer Eye' Star Karamo Brown Is Learning to Be a Better Disability Ally

“Queer Eye” Fab Five member Karamo Brown is the culture influencer on the show, who teaches men how to have “swagger” and build better relationships in their lives. Brown doesn’t just teach others about culture, he’s also educating himself on how to be a better able-bodied ally to people with disabilities.

On Tuesday, Brown posted a video on Instagram with an important accessibility feature. In the video, Brown said he downloaded an app that adds subtitles to make his videos more accessible to the hard of hearing and Deaf community.

#DearFriends, as a culture I’ve noticed that when it comes to supporting people living with a disabilities… we often don’t think how we can show up or support them unless they are in our family or are a close friend. So I’m committing to making small changes in my life to support my disabled brothers and sisters. You will now see my videos captioned for my deaf or hard of hearing friends. I would love for you to post other ways we can support our brothers and sisters living with a disability. #Support (PS: In the video I say both “disabled people” and “people living with a disability.” I’ve been told that there is a debate over which to use. I used both to make sure everyone feels included depending on your preference. Just trying to educate myself so I can support.)

A post shared by Karamo (@karamobrown) on

In his caption, the culture guru said “we often don’t think how we can show up or support [disabled people] unless they are in our family or are a close friend.” He added that he’s never thought about making his videos more accessible, but has since realized the need. Now, while making changes in his life to support people with disabilities, Brown is calling on others to do the same.

As an able-bodied ally, one the best things you can do is ask how you can support people with disabilities. Brown does this by asking his followers for other changes he can make or ways he can support “our brothers and sisters living with a disability.”

People responded to Brown’s solicitation for advice in the comments.

One person said the disability community needs more spaces that are accessible for people in wheelchairs. Another person said physical descriptions of images and videos can help those who are blind use text-to-speech features on their phones, which tell someone what’s going on in the photo or video.

Another way to make yourself a good ally is to educate yourself, which Brown seems to be doing. He mentions how he uses a mix of “disabled” and “people living with a disability” because he knows people sometimes prefer one over the other.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Disability

The Lack of Accessible Toilets in the UK Is a Problem Families Like Mine Face Each Day

There are so many issues that affect the disabled community. Before I had a child with disabilities, I’m ashamed to say I didn’t give much thought to accessibility and the many issues that so many people in the disabled community face due to a lack of thought and care. I lived in a “disability free” bubble, [...]
Speechless TV show on ABC.

Why 'Speechless' Is a Must-See Show for the Whole Family

When I heard about “Speechless,” I was excited. Why? Because one of the characters in the show, JJ has cerebral palsy like me. Micah Fowler is not an able-bodied actor playing someone with CP. That is often the case when it comes to characters with disabilities. He actually has cerebral palsy. It is so refreshing [...]
Woman in a power wheelchair.

Addressing the Problems With Wheelchair Repair Service

Your car breaks, you get a rental car straightaway. Your wheelchair breaks, you wait for four weeks. Should wheelchair repairs be more timely? I think this answer has to be yes. I want to start by saying it saddens me to have to write this because I never wish to criticize anyone, nor do I [...]

Tommy Hilfiger Expands Its Adaptive Line for Adults With Disabilities

Tommy Hilfiger is expanding its Tommy Adaptive line for spring. The new collection launched March 28 and is the fashion line’s second adult collection. The collection is available online and has options for both women and men. Its ad campaign includes notable members of the disability community including gold medal Paralympian Jeremy Campbell, speaker and model [...]