Around 30 disabled young people participated in our 'Disability Pride Starts Here' project, sharing their understanding of disability pride with employers and other disabled young people.
Meet the content creators and check out their amazing art, videos, poems, written pieces and more! All of the content below is created by and for disabled young people.
Charlie Jackman (he/him)
I’m a proud autistic person, an artist and I run my own small business, “Charlie by Art” - www.CharlieByArt.com.au
This artwork is called ‘Inside’. My art represents my personal interests and things I love, as well as my fears. The silhouette shows what it feels like inside my brain. I’m proud of being an autistic person and when I need support I know I can get it from my family and my teachers.
Abby is a digital artist passionate about equality. She uses art to help bring attention to issues she is passionate about and created this artwork to help normalise and celebrate disabilities in all forms.
Zac Chu (He/Him)
This painting is entitled "Touch of Pride". The tree with branches stretching out to the clouds stands for the strength and resilience of disabled young people, as well as their connection to nature and the world around them. The rainbow represents the different aspects of the potential and diversity of disabled young people. The young person with a disability standing up from the wheelchair to touch the tree symbolisesthe mental fortitude required to complete the journey of self-discovery and self-love that leads to disability pride. The bright and bold color palette brings out the beauty and power of such pride in terms of its joy and vitality.
Zac is an award-winning advocate for people with disabilities, who has received accolades such as Global Youth Parliament’s Global Youth Leadership Award for Australia, Disability Leadership Institute's National Awards for Disability Leadership in the rights activism category, Maribyrnong City Council’s Youth Leadership Award, and Youth Projects Ltd’s Youth Participation Award. He is an emerging visual artist whose works have been exhibited online and offline in various states in Australia.
AJ has created a comic about their experience as a queer neuro-divergent person. It tells their journey through intersectionality, self acceptance and community.
Xav Flint (They/them or He/they)
Hi, I’m Xav! I’m a 22-year-old autistic person, who’s struggled with hardships of mental health my whole life and has a huge passion for music and the arts! When writing this song for YDAS, I wanted to focus on the hardships that I and many others dealt with growing up undiagnosed. It can make you feel like an outsider, that something is wrong with you. I wondered if maybe writing this, others won’t feel as alone. It’s hard learning these things about yourselves in adulthood, but it’s good to embrace it! Accept yourself, even if others don’t.
Loren is an eighteen-year-old late-diagnosed autistic girl who is passionate about expressing her authentic self and encourages others in the neurodivergent community to do the same. She aspires to help change the world to make it a little easier for the new generation of autistic children, doing so through her special interests of writing, acting and art. She believes that self-compassion is one of the most important things in creating disability pride, especially in a world that still carries so much stigma and ableism; giving yourself understanding and love makes it harder for others to leave you feeling shameful.
Freya Elliott (she/her)
Freya (she/her) is 19 and from Naarm.
Freya is passionate about creating a more inclusive and accessible world and school system for people who are disabled, neurodiverse and/or chronically ill.
Freya has a border collie called Mickey who she'd consider to be a child of sorts. He keeps her on her feet and is very affectionate. They sometimes volunteer as a therapy dog team because she knows that he brings people such comfort and joy to all when in challenging circumstances.
Freya works part time as an actress and model and works on projects that she is passionate about within the disability advocacy sector.
Enara Tompkins (they/them)
Enara Tompkins is a trans non-binary, autistic graduate teacher, musician, performer, and writer from Melbourne. They have been working with children of all abilities for 5 years whilst studying primary teaching at Deakin University as an OSHC educator and a disability support worker. In their personal time they have been writing a neurodivergent advocacyblog for almost 2 years, which you can follow @neuroqueenvibes on Instagram. You can also find them running around Naarm/Melbourne as the neurodivergent drag queen, Autistique, chuck them a follow on Instagram @autistiquedrag.
Max is a 23-year-old autistic nonbinary young person whose special interests include neuroqueer identities, birds, photography and horror novels.
They have two cats (Lana and Harley) who support them in all their endeavours.
Arya (he/him) is a Bengali-Australian youth advocate championing the voices of young people across the public service. In his poem, ‘In Pride We Speak,’ he gives voice to CALD young people with disabilities, urging readers to redefine their perspectives of the community and ‘pride who we were born to be.
Haylee Bissett (she/her)
Hi there, My name is Haylee Bissett and I’m an Autistic poet, editor for The Bold Source magazine and Young Citizen of the Year for Brimbank in 2022. With my three poetry pieces, My Beautiful Mind, Yell and Life is a library I hope to connect to my own sense of disabled pride and share it with you.
I am musician, writer, reader, HR professional, political graduate, animal adorer, nature lover, baker, dessert enthusiast, earring collector, occasional gamer, art admirer, frequent flyer and much much more.
However I am also a young person trying to figure out how to navigate the world while living with chronic pain and fatigue (fibromyalgia), adhd, depression, anxiety and dyslexia.
Bridgette is an emerging storyteller and visual artist. Her work is about acceptance and love, who we are and who we have been told to be. She considers how to be bold when we are told to be quiet and the resistance and authenticity of disability pride.
Lou is a neurodivergent queer person who creates art through a variety of mediums. Working with photography, textiles, crafts and now diving into sculpture.
Creating always excites me, it’s usually the only thing that makes sense to me. It allows my brain to quieten, to understand my feelings and reflect them to the world in the process.
Louis (they/them) is an advocate for issues concerning the LGBTQIA+ and neurodiverse communities. They are a proud queer, non-binary, autistic creator from Naarm/Melbourne. With a positive outlook, and upbeat approach, Louis is a keen music lover who you will likely find at many events, both behind the scenes and on stage. Louis is passionate about all forms of youth engagement in the arts/music/cultural scene and enjoys learning from their peers to make sure other young people have the best opportunity to enjoy themselves within the creative arts space! Louis values compassion, creativity and individuality as well as storytelling and sharing experiences with other people.
Flick is an artist and independent producer. Flick looks to create and collaborate on new works that embrace spectacle as political movement, that are bold and experimental, and that think specifically about the impact of process as art. You’ll find out more by visiting their website: flickflickcity.net.
Isabella (Bell) uses she/her pronouns and is proudly a neurodivergent Greek (CALD) queer (asexual) empath with psychosocial and learning disabilities. She passionately works and volunteers in the intersectional fields of youth, disability and mental health where she focuses on all levels of systemic advocacy.
Yicheng Liu (he/him)
Yicheng Liu is an queer university student. This piece was submitted in reflection of the significance of disability pride and trying to find their own place in the world.
charli (fae/them) is a white queer settler writing, resting and resisting on Wurundjeri Land of the Kulin Nation. fae are an artist who explore themes of nature, queerness, grief, politics and joy through analog and digital collage. fae has been on Satellite Foundation’s Youth Advisory Council since 2022, and recently exhibited their art on grief through Vic Uni’s Resonant Voices program. you can view their art on instagram @gayheartcreative and hear more about their lived experience of disability on their other instagram account, @disabledfrogfairy.
Julie is a short statured writer and editor based in Naarm. She enjoys reading and writing contemporary young adult novels. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) at Deakin University.
In 2022, she received a The Write Space fellowship from Varuna and a Hot Desk fellowship from The Wheeler Centre. She is a hardcover book and journal collector, obsessed with drinking bubble tea, and is an avid oxford comma user.
Grace Hall (she/they)
Grace Hall is a queer, crip writer and disability support worker based in Naarm (Melbourne). Her writing explores the joys and pitfalls of growing up queer in rural Victoria. She is fueled (almost) entirely by potato and existential dread and currently reads a lot of non-fiction. Grace’s work has been published by Bramble Journal, Paper Road Magazine and Writers Victoria. In 2022, Grace was a participant in Toolkits Lite: Non-Fiction program.
Mo is a Biripi-Dunhutti person living on Wadawurrung Country, who creates what's called art as a way to put even more creativity out into the world.
Jessi is a disabled, chronically ill, neurodivergent disability advocate living on Wurundjeri/Kulin Nations land. She is passionate about inclusive practices and accessibility.
Jessi works across national and state spaces promoting and advocating for inclusive practices for people with disabilities. She is currently working with Disability Sports Australia in facilitating inclusive practices within sports clubs, as well on a lived experience project with the Disability Resources Centre.
Her disability advocacy work is endorsed by VicHealth and YACVic, appearing in various places including ABC News/Radio and YACVic's 2022 Youth Forum. She also teaches art and creates her own art pieces, and is training for the 2028 LA Paralympics in Boccia.
Collective (Jack, Julie, Jessi, Max, Anna, Maya)
YDAS invited 6 disabled young people- Jack, Julie, Jessi, Anna, Maya and Max to answer a few questions related to disability pride:
Video 1- What does disability pride mean for you?
Video 2- What's the best part of having a disability?
Video 3- What does being part of the disability community mean for you?
Video 4- Where did you find or create your community?
Video 5- What do you wish you'd known about disability pride?
Video 6- Good disability representation in the media
Video 7- How can I be a good ally to the disability community?