- Andrew Farkash created #DisabledJoy to celebrate the disabled community.
- Hundreds of people have taken to social media to join Farkash in creating visibility of those who have disabilities but are joyful.
- Farkash told INSIDER, “My goal was to empower — and bring joy — to my Disabled community and I was happy to see that it did for so many people.”
On Sunday, writer Andrew Farkash took to Twitter to tackle a flawed thinking many people have regarding those with disabilities.
Along with four pictures by photographer Myai Jackson, Farkash wrote, “There’s a common misconception that you can’t be Disabled and happy. That you can’t express joy, and if you do, you must not be hurting or Disabled anymore. I propose a new hashtag to empower us and show people otherwise: #DisabledJoy.”
Since then, the post has received thousands of shares with hundreds of people all over the world posting in solidarity with Farkash, proving that being happy and being disabled are not mutually exclusive qualities.
“I got the idea to start #DisabledJoy recently when people in my life noticed that I was starting to go out more and seemingly feeling better,” Farkash told INSIDER. “I hated the idea that every time I expressed joy it meant that I was no longer suffering. I felt like I wasn’t able to be happy without people automatically assuming that I am ok. I also wanted people to realize that Disability and joy/happiness aren’t mutually exclusive and that people who are Disabled don’t live a miserable existence.”
Farkash has pudendal neuralgia, also referred to as chronic pelvic pain, as well as bipolar disorder. His ultimate goal for #DisabledJoy is to, as they explained, “empower — and bring joy — to my Disabled community, and I was happy to see that it did for so many people.”
Since Sunday, the reaction on social media has been amazing and, to Farkash’s surprise, unanimously positive.
“I don’t think there was a single negative reaction, which is rare for social media. Hundreds of people shared their photos or moments of Disabled Joy and it was beautiful to see,” Farkash told INSIDER. “Disabled people go through a lot, be it ableism or just dealing with their conditions, and so when they do have a moment of joy, that’s special, and I want there to be an avenue for people to express and share that.”
Farkash said he also wanted to shine a light on the fact that not every disability is visible.
Often times, many may be suffering internally; Their pain may be unnoticed by the world if they’ve adapted to dealing with the internal pain.
“What was cool was that it also raised the issue of ‘invisible’ or better, unapparent disabilities. On the surface, unless you see my curved back without my shirt on, I look like a young, healthy person. Many people assume that. But really I’m going through hell underneath it all,” Farkash told INSIDER.
He added, “We still have a lot of struggles and hurdles to overcome as a society when it comes to Disabled people. Ableism — [which is] discrimination against Disabled people — is rampant and systemic in our society. And it literally kills. I wanted to show people that even so, we exist, we are surviving and fighting, and in some cases — despite our disabilities — thriving.”
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