Every Body celebrates inclusivity and the representation of human beings in every shape and form.

Annie Segarra was 23 when she began feeling a sharp pain in her feet whenever she walked. Within a year, she was using a wheelchair to get around. At 26, she received a diagnosis of Ehlers-Dahlos syndrome and came to grips with the reality of being a person with a disability.

Now 27, Segarra is known to her thousands of YouTube followers as Annie Elainey, where she鈥檚 become a sensation by vlogging about sensitive topics surrounding disability and mental health. She launched the channel to chat about body image and her recovery from an eating disorder, a self-love journey that prepared her for her diagnosis last year. Throughout her quest to unlearn toxic thoughts and develop a healthy and positive appreciation for her body, she鈥檚 been documenting every moment on video.

She launched the channel to chat about body image and her recovery from an eating disorder, a self-love journey that prepared her for her diagnosis last year. Throughout her quest to unlearn toxic thoughts and develop a healthy and positive appreciation for her body, she鈥檚 been documenting every moment on video.

Just getting to a diagnosis was a trial in itself. Segarra suspected that she likely had EDS a year before her blood test results and subsequent diagnosis, but faced gaslighting from multiple doctors 鈥 that is, doctors who weren鈥檛 taking her reported symptoms seriously.

鈥淚t was such a traumatizing experience and no one should have to go through that while seeking answers about their health conditions,鈥 she says. 鈥淣ow, there is a good corner of my activism which is EDS awareness; it is not so much a rare disease as it is rarely diagnosed so I want people to be well informed about it.鈥

And yet Segarra still confronts a lot of misinformation about her disability. It鈥檚 the assumptions that get her down: People think she鈥檚 sick because she鈥檚 not trying hard enough to get well, that she鈥檚 faking her illness because her degree of mobility varies day-by-day, that she鈥檚 not positive enough and that鈥檚 why she鈥檚 ill.

Which is exactly why she spends a lot of time vlogging about topics like Things I Wish People Knew About Being Disabled and Casual Ableist Language.

One simple way to be an advocate, Segarra advises, is to nix language that equates disability with anything negative. Words like 鈥渞*tard,鈥 鈥渟tupid,鈥 and 鈥渄umb鈥 makes it seem like having an average intellect makes someone better. Words like 鈥渓ame鈥 do the same for physical ability, and 鈥渃razy鈥 for mental illness.

Unfortunately, being a woman with an opinion on the internet is a dangerous occupation these days.

Segarra has gotten plenty of misogynistic comments about her appearance. Vlogging about her dislike of rape jokes and ableist language has made her vulnerable to attacks that she鈥檚 suppressing free speech.

How does she cope?

鈥淢ore often than not I鈥檒l ignore, maybe delete and block because I don鈥檛 want needless cruelty occupying space,鈥 she says. 鈥淚 don鈥檛 delete things that are actually criticisms or respectful disagreements but profanity, name-calling, toxic, and hateful ideologies yes; my life experience has led me to a place where I do not tolerate that kind of abuse.鈥

In the meantime, Segarra performs self-care by digesting plenty of movies and shows (she recently marathoned Being Human on Netflix) and dreaming about financial independence. She鈥檇 love to earn enough to support her family and hire an assistant to help her with the avalanche of messages plus all the editing and organizational work her job requires. The end goal would be to focus on her two on-the-go book projects and collaborate more with people from her community.

For now, she hopes her viewers create more space for people like her: disabled, LGBTQ+, women of color. Segarra asks able-bodied, cis, white women to seek out content created by alternative groups, to share it, to engage with it, to actively unlearn any negative thoughts or language they have.

鈥淢ake sure that if you don鈥檛 see us around, you make some noise for us,鈥 says Segarra, 鈥淪eek our communities, if we weren鈥檛 invited in a diverse setting demand to know why not. Demand to know why a particular space wasn鈥檛 made accessible for us.鈥

In other words, she says, 鈥淧ass the mic.鈥

Who鈥檚 your favorite body-positive or disabled YouTuber? Tell us @BritandCo.

(Photos via Annie Segarra/Instagram)