On TikTok, we want to create spaces where everyone feels safe and heard. In celebration of Disability Pride Month, we're featuring a creator who shares candid videos about living with a chronic illness, self-diagnosis, how to be a better ally, and so much more. Meet this week's Creator Spotlight - avid blogger, YouTuber and TikTok creator, @artiecarden (they/them/their) Artie's content focuses on their experience as a disabled non-binary person, with their TikTok videos capturing these moments in bite-sized, informative snippets. Totalling more than 162k likes, Artie's brilliant quick-takes are crucial to conversations we're having this Disability Pride Month and beyond.
In true TikTok fashion, Artie has also mastered some of our favourite trends including workplace "fit checks", popular sounds, and the good old "put a finger down" challenge. Not to mention, their acting and eyebrow-raise game is *seriously* strong.
We love Artie's range of videos, traversing themes including eating habits with ADHD, navigating the bisexual experience, and debunking pronoun myths. Reflecting multiple queer and disabled voices, their content clearly strikes a chord with many members of our community, who take to the comments to ask questions and share similar experiences. Keeping matters serious but conversations light-hearted, their page truly is a safe space for all.
This week, we asked Artie what Disability Pride Month means to them, where their inspiration comes from, and a few things they love about the TikTok community.
What does Disability Pride Month mean to you?
To me, it means that I can fully be myself and live my disabled life.
Throughout the year, I'm advocating for Disability Pride to be treated like Queer Pride where we can focus on legal change and have a party where everyone is proud to be themselves! Irony is, not many things are very accessible, including many LGBTQ+ Pride events and marches... So Disability Pride Month to me should be where people outside the Disabled Community take notice more, put the effort into raising awareness for us, hiring us to make these campaigns, and pledge to help us make a difference by really listening to us. I also wouldn't mind a holiday.
Why do you think raising awareness about disabilities matters?
Raising awareness on disability matters because it is often forgotten in many discussions of diversity and oppression. Ableist language and rules are so ingrained into our society, that they are difficult to see if you have no previous understanding of disability.
Healthcare is something everyone does and will need at some point in their life, adjustments at work are beneficial for everyone, and many people go undiagnosed for years because they are unaware of their diagnosis or doctors are under-qualified in identifying rare or complex conditions (especially in BIPOC, Women, and Trans/nonbinary people). Current statistics estimate globally disabled people make up to 20-25% of the population, but I'd bet on it being higher and many people do not realise a condition they have qualifies as a disability, or they are undiagnosed. This does also include mental illness, and very common neurodivergence such as dyslexia and dyspraxia. There is so much stigma around disability and I'd really like that to change. You can make adaptations for yourself if things don't work for you the way they are, that isn't and shouldn't be a disability-only thing.
What first inspired you to create on TikTok?
I've always enjoyed making content online, and TikTok has a bit of the 'old YouTube' about it with being able to lip sync to songs or other sounds. I love the creativity people have in interpreting these into jokes! Also, as an autistic person, it's nice to not HAVE to speak when I make video-based content. I spend much of my time not speaking and like to stay that way! I started using it a few years ago, roughly 2016, and have dipped in and out of use ever since. The app has changed so much in that time. What is your goal on TikTok?
Generally, I just like to make content on there for the most part, but it would be great if it could become something more than that and possibly be a way of supporting myself.
Many disabled people are living in poverty due to many factors such as social welfare rules preventing you from being able to save money, ableism in the workplace preventing you from being able to gain employment or be able to sustain employment, and we are estimated to spend more than £500 extra a month on disability specific needs. This can be specialist food, medications, disability aids, travel, etc. But in a non-monetary way, I just want to create more understanding of conditions and help create a safer place for disabled people to exist. One day I would love to work more directly with healthcare professionals on what they can improve on in their care of disabled patients.
What other creators (with a disability) are on your For You feed?
There are so many, I have a very varied feed so I'll try to remember the ones I watch most... @indigenously_eds @justsammorris, @disabled_eliza, @crutches_and_spice, @kathychaotic, @withloveaugust, @professionalautie, @slntwrlddd, @unpackwithcoachkat, @ludawinthesky, @deafthat, @kyle_weiss, @thanksmilla, @auticulate, @plomcake, @sambosworth, @burritos_and_adhd, @ndwellness, @disabledgirl, @auntyadhd, @toosmalltobeaverage, @chillingadventuresofsab, @khal_essie, @joris_explains, @paigelayle, @leos_takayasu and @chr0nicallycute (this is quite a long list! I wanted to include as much diversity of disabilities as possible, they are all so great in their own ways). There are obviously so many more and many new people pop up on my FYP all the time.
What do you love most about the TikTok community?
It's a great way of sharing so much information and so many experiences so many people can relate to. People can feel less alone because the algorithm is spooky at being able to find creators experiencing similar things to you. Also, I recently felt very impressed and validated by many strangers when someone was repeatedly misgendering me in the comments of one of my TikTok videos and the group response was to annihilate them (meaning, to be repeatedly called out for it and argued with, and I genuinely didn't have to lift a finger to respond to this person... this has never happened to me anywhere else and it was a very nice feeling to be defended by people who didn't know me. They were also very helpful and validating of my disabled experience in the UK when arguing with this person who was trying to invalidate my experiences here specifically because I live in the UK and no other reason.)
What is your favourite TikTok you have made to date and why?
These are my top three (it can be hard to pick just one when you are multiply-disabled):
This one is the a great example of taking such a random sound on TikTok and turning it into something that fits what I have gone through. For me the prompt was something you just find out about someone's growing up that's the same as yours, saying good things about it but also the bad things when 'a bit rainy' and 'a bit drizzly' are said. I just feel like it really suits my experience of growing up undiagnosed autistic.
Sometimes it feels like with my ADHD (and autistic) brain I could do anything, I have all these ideas and sometimes have really intense motivation (or hyper-fixation) to work on something, but the only thing that stops me is often my chronic illnesses. I have to rest, I don't have a choice. Basic self care like eating enough/safe foods, getting the right amount of sleep and physical rest, etc. have to be maintained otherwise I can get really sick. I often find myself in agony if I've hyper-fixated on a task or project that's too physically demanding or involved sitting in a strange position and even though my brain could keep going, I physically cannot.
This last one is about my Takayasu's. On one of my brief stints using dating apps I saw someone's profile said 'as long as you have a pulse, you have a chance' and I immediately found this really funny because Takayasu's is often known as 'the pulseless disease' due to inflammation it causes can thicken arteries to the point of little to no pulse in your limbs (and can limit blood flow to other areas too) and Bailey Sarian's sound on TikTok from one of her videos was really spot on. Being chronically ill, especially with conditions that can be really life threatening, often leaves you with quite a dark sense of humour about it all. So, whilst I think a lot of non-disabled people might not know whether to laugh at this or not, a lot of chronically ill people would find this hysterical (and many did, a lot of TAK patients responded to this).