For Annie Segarra, also known on YouTube as Annie Elainey, accessibility is everything. Annie’s “The Future Is Accessible” shirts, which come in several colors, act as a call for visibility and intersectionality, and to prioritize accessibility.
The shirts are only one aspect of Annie’s overall body of work as a writer, artist, YouTube creator, and activist. She originally became involved in activism as a teenager, but at the time was more focused on LGBTQ+ and women’s issues. Later, she found body politics and the disability community. In college, Annie began to share her creative work, and started filming YouTube videos in which she opens up about her experiences and opinions.
“It’s all about truthful and effective communication and expression for me,” Annie says. “It’s about giving people the tools to engage, bouncing off ideas, giving each other the language to communicate ourselves to those around us better, strengthening community through saying the scary honest thing, and finding others who understand.”
In her videos, as well as on her various social media platforms, Annie tends to be raw and vulnerable. For instance, she shared her journey to her Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) diagnosis with her followers, many of whom are also dealing with undiagnosed health issues. Like many disabled activists, Annie’s health impacts her work deeply. She’s currently working on finding a management plan for her EDS. “I’m currently just very ill all the time and in a lot of pain,” she says. “I’d love to find a treatment that stabilizes my health a bit, as well as tools and accessibility so I could give more of my time and energy to my work.”
As a queer disabled woman of color, Annie prioritizes intersectionality in all of her activism work “I’d love to go to more queer spaces and events but a lot of them are not accessible to disabled people,” she says, highlighting an example of how important it is for activism to be done through an intersectional lens. When you’re multiply marginalized, not only do you feel isolated and excluded by privileged groups, but you also often feel left out in your own communities, which may not recognize the multiplicity of your experiences and may be filled with racism, homo- and trans-antagonism, ableism, anti-Semitism, classism, or other forms of systemic oppression.
Annie doesn’t just want to give a voice to the multiply marginalized people within the disability community—she also wants her nondisabled followers to have more empathy for what our community goes through and challenge their own ableism.
“I want those outside my communities to listen and gain some perspective, to unlearn some biases, to become more aware and considerate,” she says. “This goes for within my communities as well, as none of them are a monolith, there are so many diverse perspectives with their own validity and I hope they’ll be heard.”
Through her platform, Annie reminds others that they have a voice and a story that matters.
“Queer disabled women of color are rarely seen, rarely known, and I want to be out there, sharing, being visible,” says Annie. “For all of us, I want to uplift our narratives.”
Alaina Leary is an editor, social media manager, and activist living in Boston, Massachusetts. She is a social media assistant for We Need Diverse Books. Her work has been published in Washington Post, Boston Globe Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Teen Vogue, Chicago Tribune, Seventeen, Marie Claire, and more. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @alainaskeys.