'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.)
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.