Pride Month 2024

Happy Pride: 6 LGBTQ+ influencers with disabilities

Happy Pride: 6 influential LGBTQ+ people with disabilities

Did you know that June is recognized around the world as Pride Month? It’s a month-long recognition of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community.

It’s marked by parades and parties that celebrate the achievements of the LGBTQ+ community. It also sees many rallies and marches that aim to shine a light on how we can work together to honor diversity and inclusion.

In observance of this year’s Pride celebration, we’re highlighting six influential people with disabilities who identify as part of LGBTQ+ community. These six people have built a platform in their respective areas and are using it to connect with the wider world on LGBTQ+ and disability representation.

Rosie is standing playfully with her arms crossed. She is smiling and wearing a denim jumpsuit. Her long brown hair is lose around her shoulders.

Rosie Jones

Rosie Jones is a UK comedian and television personality who has ataxia cerebral palsy. She also identifies as a lesbian. Her professional pursuits have ranged from TV researcher to scriptwriter to actor and stand-up comedian. She has appeared on many well-known TV shows, including Mission Accessible – a travel program where she visits accessible places in the UK. She has also been nominated for and received several awards.

Rosie is passionate about intersectionality, which is the interconnection of social categories such as disability, sexuality, gender and race. She uses her celebrity to encourage people of all abilities, sexualities, races and genders to be more open about their social categories.

Lydia is standing in front of a brick wall and smiling happily. They have short black hair, died blue at the front. They are wearing black-framed glasses, a blue blazer, light blue button-down shirt and a navy-blue tie.

Lydia X Z Brown

Lydia X Z Brown is a recognized Chinese-American non binary queer person who has autism. They are an attorney working on technology bias and discrimination affecting people with disabilities. They are also an educator at Georgetown University and American University, teaching classes on race, gender, disability and neurodivergence. Additionally, Lydia serves as the founder and leader of The Fund for Community Reparations for Autistic People of Color’s Interdependence, Survival and Empowerment.

As a multiply-marginalized person with lived experience, their work seeks justice and equality for marginalized communities. They have been recognized nationally as a visionary leader and emerging voice for change. This includes being named a Champion of Change by President Obama in 2013.

Roy is smiling directly at the camera. He is a black man, with long, black dreadlocks pulled away from his face. He also has a moustache and goatee and he is wearing a black polo shirt. His image has a rainbow effect running diagonally in the background and foreground.

Roy Jones

Roy Jones is a person of color who is deaf. He identifies as gay. He is also the current president of The Rainbow Alliance for the Deaf (RAD). This is a nonprofit organization that fosters community while advocating for the rights of LGBTQ+ people who are deaf.

Roy took over the role as the president in 2020, heralding in a new vision for RAD as a safe space for all members, with a strong focus on accessibility. Roy is also the president of the Dallas Black Deaf Advocates, championing the voices of people who are deaf. Particularly black people who are deaf. In these roles, his focus is strongly on community building while inspiring positive change.

Spencer is sitting on a tall chair. He is looking at the camera, with a friendly but neutral look on his face. He has his hands clasped and is holding them below his chin. He is wearing glasses, a fedora-style hat and a black t-shirt.

Spencer West

Spencer West is an American motivational speaker and disability advocate who was born with sacral agenesis. This condition led to his legs being removed when he was five years old. Spencer is also a member of the LGBTQ+ community, identifying as gay.

He travels around the world as a keynote speaker. He summited Mount Kilimanjaro on his hands, and he’s a content creator on TikTok with 4.3 million followers. In fact, in 2021 TikTok recognized him on their second annual LGBTQ+ Trailblazer list. This list spotlights creators who embrace self-pride while impacting their communities. His content and keynote speeches often focus on overcoming adversity and embracing change.   

Liam is smiling slightly and looking directly at the camera. Only his head and the top of his shoulders are visible. He has short dark hair combed to the side, and he is wearing black-framed glasses. He has a black collared shirt on.

Liam O'Dell

Liam O’Dell is a UK-based freelance journalist, blogger and campaigner who is deaf and uses hearing aids. He also identifies as asexual. His work, which has been featured in The State, HuffPost and the Independent, focuses on disability issues and technology.

Liam’s website has garnered recognition both in the UK and worldwide as one of the best deaf blogs and websites for people with hearing loss. He uses his platform to discuss deaf representation and awareness. In fact, in July 2020 Liam broke the news that YouTube were retiring their community captions feature. This work resulted in international press coverage and a petition with over 500,000 signatures.

Lizzie is competing in a racing event. She is sitting in her bike, looking intensely ahead of herself. She is wearing a long sleeved, black top and bike helmet. There are people in the background watching her compete.

Lizzie Williams

Lizzie Williams is a Paralympic wheelchair racer who was born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta. This is also known as brittle bone disease. She is also a member of the LGBTQ+ community who identifies as a queer individual.

Lizzie began competing as a T54 wheelchair racer in 2015. She has racked up silver medals at the London Bupa Westminster Mile and the City of London Mile. She has also received gold medals for the 100-, 200- and 400-meter at the SCAA and IPC Disability Championships. She uses her fame as an athlete to advocate for more inclusive sports for both the LGBTQ+ and disability communities.