Episode 128: Diversability Founder & Disability Influencer Tiffany Yu

Episode 128: Diversability Founder & Disability Influencer Tiffany Yu

Overview

Tiffany Yu is the CEO & Founder of Diversability, an award-winning social enterprise to amplify disabled voices; the Founder of the Awesome Foundation Disability Chapter, a monthly micro-grant that has awarded $49.5k to 50 disability projects in eight countries; and the host of TIFFANY & YU, the podcast. She serves on the San Francisco Mayor’s Disability Council and was a 2020 Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum Sustainable Development Impact Summit. At the age of nine, Tiffany became disabled as a result of a car accident that also took the life of her father. She started her career in investment banking at Goldman Sachs and has also worked at Bloomberg and Sean Diddy Combs' REVOLT Media & TV. She is a three-time TEDx speaker, and spoke on five sessions at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos. She has been featured in Marie Claire, the Guardian, and Forbes. Most recently, Tiffany was named one of TikTok's 15 API Trailblazers. It is through this platform that she posts amazing educational content, including the "Anti-Ableism Daily". Go check her out!

Takeaway

Transcript

Tiffany Yu Diversability TEDx disability influencer TikTok Anti-Ableism Daily Tiffany & Yu Podcast Uninvisible Pod mental health

Lauren: All right, guys. Thank you so much for joining us. I am here today with Tiffany Yu. Tiffany is a fellow Spoonie and the founder of Diversability. She's going to talk to us all about both of these aspects of her life. So Tiffany, thank you so much for joining us. 

Tiffany: Thanks for having me! 

Lauren: Oh, it's such a pleasure. As we were just saying before I hit ‘record’, we have been meaning to do this for a long time. I have been following your work for such a long time now, and I really hope everyone who's tuning in is following you and Diversability. So I'm excited to hear more about your personal story as well. 

Tiffany: Of course, we started as Instagram friends, and now we're Zoom friends. I mean, what's next? Possibilities!

Lauren: The possibilities in 2020 are just endless! Well, let's start from the beginning of your story then, and we'll get into Diversability as we move on with that. Can you tell us when and how you first realized that you were a Spoonie just like us, and what steps you've taken to control your health since then.

Tiffany: So my origin story, I call these our disability origin stories, started when I was 9 years old. My mom had a business trip over Thanksgiving weekend, and my dad and a couple of my siblings thought that we would see her off at the airport.

On the way home, my dad ended up having a seizure, and lost control of the car.

It was a single vehicle car accident. I sustained a few injuries, including a couple of broken bones in my leg, that would leave me in a wheelchair for about four months. And then a permanent injury, known as a brachial plexus injury, which is a little bit easier to explain to people … in terms of just saying that my arm is paralyzed. So I still have like limited mobility, limited sensation in the arm. It's just a form of a spinal cord injury. But in addition to all of that, I was also most recently diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, related to the accident. And one of the things that I've been learning along this journey is that, I think on average, there's about a 14-year treatment gap in terms of the onset of the trauma for me. Then realizing, oh, this is actually a thing. It is not normal to be crying at the checkout counter when I'm checking in for a flight. Or to be waiting at the bus stop and then bursting out crying. Once I did a little bit more digging and a little bit more critical questioning of the medical professionals in my professional support system, I realized there was actually a treatment plan available for me to help manage and find healthier coping strategies. 

Lauren: So it's interesting that you had, as you say, this first injury at 9 years old, that led to a long-term disability. It's been a 14-year-plus-gap between that and your PTSD diagnosis. So how have you managed your health, both physically and emotionally, since that time, since the onset of these symptoms and diagnoses?

Tiffany: I recently gave a presentation on toxic positivity, which is a term that not a lot of people have heard about, but it's become a little bit more popularized during this pandemic. Toxic positivity is this idea that it's positive vibes, and positive vibes only — zero tolerance for any negativity or hard emotions. The other thing I want to mention is how heavily influenced I am by the fact that I grew up as a daughter of Asian immigrants. And in doing the research for this presentation on toxic positivity, I realized how much of a correlation there is … within an Asian cultural context, there's an idiom that says the nail that sticks out is the first to get hammered down. So the lesson behind that is, don't stick out. Don't draw attention to yourself. And within the context of my family, it was really all around … do everything you can to avoid any type of shame to your family. So how toxic positivity manifested for me was similar to internalized ableism. I call this internalized toxic positivity. Which is, I went around for 15 years after the accident, telling everyone that I was fine. And saying, it is what it is — which means I don't want to talk about this situation anymore. I was feeling bad about feeling bad. Judging myself. And so how I dealt with the diagnoses? Not great! If I could go back … that’s why so much of me leading by example, and practicing what I preach now, is rooted in looking at what it looks like to lead with vulnerability. Because now that I have read, Daring Greatly by Brené Brown … she’s like my spirit animal.

Lauren: She’s amazing.

Tiffany: If listeners aren't familiar, just Google her name. She has the most watched TED Talks. She’s got a Netflix special. She’s got tons of books.

Lauren: She’s got a podcast.

Tiffany: They just launched a second one. I just became so curious because what she talks about is the power of emotional sharing. And what happens. And for me, the first time I ever shared this story publicly about the car accident, it was 12 years after the car accident. And more recently, during pandemic times. I’ve have been catching up, doing virtual coffee dates with whomever … including us right now! And I caught up with someone I went to high school with. She has been doing some really great work. She launched a platform called Healing Honestly, and this is her own personal journey of healing through childhood sexual abuse. Definitely check it out. But we caught up and she said, “Tiffany, I knew about your arm, but I never knew about the car accident.” And what I thought was so interesting about her mirroring that back to me was how much I was hiding of my story. I never told anyone, and I've known her … I mean, I was in high school 15-plus years ago … to not even tell those people. And I wore a sling all the time during that time. That's why people knew about the arm. But the fact that no one knew about the car accident, other than the people I was in elementary school with, is just like … what else was I holding back in this attempt to try and not cause any shame to my family, and just try to be positive and good vibes only? What I often talk about is the fact that the creation of Diversability, starting in 2009, up until now, 11 years, has really mirrored my own healing journey. So starting Diversability gave me the permission to share my story about the car accident.

I needed to get that out, I needed to get that story of the car accident out to validate the fact that … wow, I've been suppressing emotions for 12 years.

The suppression of emotions is actually what leads to PTSD symptoms becoming becoming worse. And then for it to manifest and to start trickling out was because … okay, the car accident’s out now. What else needs to come out of my body … grief, trauma, you know, all of that coming out. So the way that I have been managing since … and again, this is really rooted in the creation of Diversability, which I think we'll talk about more … but I really needed to root myself in community. Because I just felt so isolated in my experience, and so excluded in my non-disabled world. I had no mirrors. I talk a lot about mirrors, right? Because the thing is, when we share our stories, oftentimes all we're looking for is something that resonates with something we're going through. So you might not resonate with being in a traumatic car accident, or losing a parent in that same accident, or childhood trauma. Or maybe there are parts of those that resonate with you, of hiding. I get people making comments to me, like, “Oh, but I don't consider you as disabled.” And I’m like, “Well, I just told you that I was.” So you're invalidating an experience that I'm carrying around. I understand that you're trying to be well-meaning, but let me talk to you about what that means when you reflect that back to me. 

Lauren: Something you touched on here. It sounds like you lost your dad in this accident, too. That’s also going to compound that trauma and that grief. 

Tiffany: So he passed away, and talk about internalized toxic positivity … I would talk about him as though he was away on an extended trip. And part of that was reinforced by my mother. If I think about my mom, she lost her husband; she had three of her four kids in the car. One became physically disabled, three probably have ongoing mental health things — whether we acknowledge them or not. And the whole family unit probably has some mental health … I'm very open with all of this, probably much to my mother's chagrin. But there hasn't been collective healing as a family unit. And if I think about my own healing process … that's why I think oftentimes, when I talk on social media … this is a lifelong healing process. I talk about this in the context of disability, trauma and grief. And I talk about this in terms of a purse versus a blanket, or a cape — you can turn the blanket into a cape. So the cape to me is my disability, my trauma, my grief. It's something that I carry around with me all the time. It really influences the lens through which I move about the world. Versus, I think there are times where I wish that my disability/trauma/grief, etc., etc., etc., is a purse that I can leave at the door, or I can leave at the restaurant as I go to the bathroom. I just want to name those nuances, because I think a lot of times, we aspire to want to have these things as the purse, as the thing that we can leave behind. But we can’t. Which is why I talk about these things in terms of my identity. I carry grief. The fact that I lost my father, the fact that I lost the ability to use one of my arms, the fact that I lost my childhood … I wear those, and I carry those around with me as I move out the world. And that has influenced the lens … there’s a really great TED talk by someone named Nadine Burke Harris, and she talks about the impact of childhood trauma on your brain development. I don't know if I can actually show you my brain. But I understand what she's saying. She's dedicated her life to this research; she calls it an ACE score — adverse childhood experiences. If you have some kind of childhood trauma, something has happened in your brain development that impacts how you move about the world as an adult. I can do endless amounts of therapy and healing. But I just know that at 9 years old, something shifted.

Lauren: Absolutely. We often talk to people on this show who are living with disabilities or chronic illnesses that have onset because of trauma. Rarely do we talk about onset because of something as physically traumatic as a car accident. This is also something where it's not a genetic issue. This is an issue that was forced upon you by the universe, by circumstance. And I'm really glad that you're talking about the mental health aspect of this, particularly from a cultural lens as well. Because this is something that, when you go through these experiences … you go to the hospital, the first thing that's treated is a physical injury, and rarely is there follow-up from a mental health perspective, as well. And you're noting how important it is to have that follow-up. Not only for you individually, but for your entire tribe of people, for your unit, your family unit, whoever that may be. 

Tiffany: Yeah, exactly. We actually just came out with a little guide related to Mental Illness Awareness Week that happened in October, and it was about the intersection between disability and mental health. So diagnosed mental health conditions or mental illnesses — whatever word you want to use — those are disabilities.

Depression is the number one cause of disability.

But for those of us who have non-mental health disabilities, there is a heavy mental health aspect of that, whether it's covering or passing. So for example, you and I are chatting over a Zoom call. Your listeners are going to consume this through audio, or if they're unable to, they'll check out the transcript. I can pass as a non-disabled person. And so I spent so much of my adolescence trying to pass, and that also has caused psychological stress, mentally and physically. A lot of what I talk about is, what does it look like to be disabled and well? And what does it look like to be disabled and thrive? Because I grew up believing that those were mutually exclusive.

Lauren: I think many of us do.

Tiffany: That’s true. And health is so holistic. I know that your work potentially centers on more of the chronic illness space. And the thing about chronic illness or mental illnesses is that depending on the day, it’s different. With my physical disability, oftentimes I'll get people say, “Get well soon.” The funny thing about that is, that I think if you're sick, if you have a chronic illness, “get well soon” means “I hope the next day you feel better.” And you might, and then the day after that you might not. But today my arm is paralyzed, and tomorrow my arm is paralyzed. And 20 years ago, my arm was paralyzed. And probably, unless there's some magical thing that happens, my arm is paralyzed. I've been talking a lot these days around ablest micro-aggressions. Even just saying, “Get well soon,” there’s an expectation that puts a weight on me. And a pressure on me that, like, oh, this person thinks that having a paralyzed arm means that tomorrow it will get better! Before, I used to always talk about my brachial plexus injury. And because it's called an injury, even a spinal cord injury, even that wording in itself means, like, oh, when you have an injury, it'll get better. And so that's why I've kind of moved over to the wording of “My arm is paralyzed.” Because I think that wording is more clear than a brachial plexus injury, which a lot of people are unfamiliar with. 

Lauren: Absolutely. I'm curious about the visual signifiers here, too. Obviously, the PTSD diagnosis — that is fully an invisible diagnosis. But you mentioned that you wore a sling growing up, when you were in middle school, in high school. And I think typically we see someone having their arm in a sling, and we think, oh, again, this word “injury”. That's something that will heal over time; it’s temporary. So you have this visual signifier. You have the attachments, the perceptions and presumptions that people have attached to this visual signifier. Do you still use a sling from time to time now? What does that invisible-visible line look like for you? 

Tiffany: Yeah, great question. So I am no longer living the sling life. I will acknowledge that other people who do have brachial plexus injury … I feel very grateful because I don't have any pain. A lot of people who have brachial plexus injuries have shooting nerve pain all the way down their arm. A lot of times, one of the remedies around that is amputation. 

Lauren: Wow.

Tiffany: And the decision to amputate is very personal.

And talk about ablest micro-aggressions … I get a lot of comments from people, particularly on TikTok, who say, “Well, why don't you just cut off your arm? It's useless.”

And what I think is interesting is that it is something that I did look into. But what I realized is that most people who do have brachial plexus injuries, they amputate because the pain is so bad. And they wear a sling because the shoulder pain is so bad. Fortunately, I have no pain, and I feel extremely grateful for that. All of that said, one of the … I don't know if side-effects is the right word, or symptom. I feel like I'm like a little bit at a loss for words today, but …

Lauren: You’re doing great!

Tiffany:  Excellent. So one of the things that happens with a brachial plexus injury is you get something called a claw hand. That means that the knuckles are very straight. And in the resting state, your fingers are relaxed except at the knuckles. And so what has ended up happening is my knuckles have hyper-extended. So if you think about …

Lauren:  Knuckles bending backward. 

Tiffany: Correct. Knuckles bending backward, you got it. I wear a wrist splint to try and slow the knuckles from going all the way back. And the splint … I get a lot of questions. So I didn't wear a splint for about 20 years. It's been 23 years since the car accident. If you want to do all the calculations on my age you can; we can just dispel all the rumors! I have Asian youthful glow, though. I'm 32, the accident happened when I was 9. And in 2018, I decided that maybe I would look into getting a splint. I decided I was going to restart physical therapy. My muscles have atrophied pretty badly. But I have hope that if you just continue to exercise … similar to normal exercise, like if you've never exercise, your muscles would probably atrophy. Probably many of us in a pandemic state, who can't be as active as we usually are, have experienced a little bit of atrophy. So I thought I was going to just restart all of these things. I started going to physical therapy again. My doctor referred me over to occupational therapy, who recommended a splint to slow the knuckles going backward. So now I wear a visual marker. And what I think is interesting is, that even without my visual marker, most people are not going around staring at people's hands, right? You're staring at people's faces. And so, even though I have a physical disability, I can actually pass as a non-disabled person. And I actually had someone on my podcast named Jerron Herman, and he is a dancer with cerebral palsy.

Lauren: Yes, I follow him as well. He’s amazing.

Tiffany: He’s amazing. He actually talked about how we feel like there's a little bit of an erasure of us within the disability community, because he and I both don't use assistive aids. So I can choose. For me, interestingly enough, in a COVID-era, I'm more nervous about sanitizing my hands and washing my hands and so I don't wear my splint, just out of convenience, I want to make sure that I have taken all the precautionary measures to not contract COVID. But pre-COVID, I would wear the splint. And the split was helpful because … and I used to travel a lot … if I was on a flight, I could point to my splint and someone could help me put my luggage in the overhead compartment. Versus before, if I asked someone to help me put my luggage in the overhead compartment, I would kind of get strange stares, right? It's kind of like this hashtag, #butyoudon'tlooksick. 

Lauren: Yeah. Which is, in and of itself, a problem. That's ablest behavior right there. 

Tiffany: Correct.

One of the many things I'm starting to see is just how pervasive ableism is.

I look at even some of my own talks, or some of my older quotes. I'm a ableist in some of the things that I've said as well. And this is my own internalized ableism coming out into vocal speech. 

Lauren: Yeah, absolutely. This is one version of, an iteration of that kind of behavior. 

Tiffany: Yeah. So I have a splint. And I don't know … since you've been following me for a while … on my podcast with InvisiYouth, with Dominique, we talked a little bit about my splint. I had artwork drawn on my splint. The artist’s name is Forest Stearns. I had him draw a 9-year-old girl hugging an elephant on my splint. And I had him write the word PROUD on one of the Velcro straps. I got my splint back in July of 2019, so I've had the artwork splint for about a year … and the thing about it is, now that the splint has artwork on it, it is an invitation to ask for the outside world. It is an invitation for me, as someone who spent so long trying to hide my arm, to show you my hand. I noticed just even within the past year, a tremendous amount of growth in terms of ownership over the physical manifestation of my disability. And what's interesting is, I started Diversability over 10 years ago. I feel like I have ownership over my physical disability narrative. Only now am I starting to kind of explore … here’s what it looks like to live with PTSD. Here's what it looks like to be on a grief journey, and on a healing journey. But yeah, within the past year, taking ownership over how my disability has manifested physically on my body, through just this piece of artwork … this piece of artwork that was the splint, but was also my arm. And I spent so long just rejecting it, saying like, no, I don't want to do physical therapy. No, I feel like this part of my body is ugly. And then I’m, just like, well, actually, I only have one body. How can I just take ownership over the whole thing and acknowledge that this hand is a story that I want to tell? 

Lauren: I see a correlation between that and a lot of people I know who have gotten tattoos in areas where they've had either a surgery or some kind of disabling incident. There are people who are using either something like the splint that they're covering with art — the way people also will draw on casts. And then there are people who are taking it as far as putting that on their skin, too. And these are all versions of making, creating a story, changing the narrative around, what created this concern, this issue? 

Tiffany: I will say, the next iteration — and I haven't decided when/if — but I do want to get the word PROUD tattooed on my injured arm. 

Lauren: See, there we go. 

Tiffany: It’s happening! (laughs)

Lauren: It is. That’s lovely, because that's something also that when you take the splint off, when you're not wearing it, you still have something there that, again, reinforces a different narrative around that story. That loss, that grief actually becomes something that you are gaining something from.

Tiffany: Yeah, but that's why I think I'm really excited about what's happening, and this inclusive fashion movement. Because the things that we wear … I remember when I first got my splint, I cried. And I cried because I went and I got on the bus to go home, and this guy saw this splint and he was like, “Oh, what happened to your hand?” And I was, like, “Oh, I got into a car accident.” I looked out the window, right … which, looking out the window to me is: I don't want to engage in this conversation. He’s, like, “Oh, but it just looks so interesting. It's smaller than the other hand.” And it reminded me of the fact that I can pass, because if I weren't wearing the splint, he wouldn't ask me the questions.

And I cried because now I was deciding to go back into my sling life — the visible marker.

And was I ready to emerge out into the world by consistently showing up wearing a splint. The one thing I want to mention, that I've been talking a lot about, is … by me wearing a splint, not only is it an invitation for conversation, but I do notice that it reminds me of the fact that the disabled body makes people uncomfortable. Especially if you have a physical manifestation of it. That can lead to an inquiry, like what happened on the bus. Whether I want it to be or not. But I want to acknowledge that my shared existence causes people discomfort. And in a period of racial injustice, I want to acknowledge that I want to use these periods of discomfort as an invitation to have a conversation, and as an invitation for you to do a little bit of self-reflection as to why you feel uncomfortable. What I think is so interesting about this digital environment that we're in now, is that we can pass as non-disabled people. So how much are we asserting that we have a disability when we show up to Zoom? Oftentimes people will be, like, “Oh, Tiffany, can you type your answers into the chat?” At which point I’m, like, “Well, I can type my answers into the chat. But I want you to be aware that I only type with one hand.” And so you're asking me to do something that, for a non-disabled person, or even for a disabled person who can use both hands … that's something they don't even think about. But for you to ask me to do that, that requires an extra level of access that I have learned to navigate in a non-disabled environment. So, I go back and forth on this. Someone asked me the question around job interviews, and whether or not the fact that we as disabled people can now pass in virtual job interviews, if that will help. What I responded was that, if that helps us get the job … because right now, like our unemployment numbers are just astronomically heartbreaking … if that gets us the job, fine. But I want to be able for that person, after they have passed, to go into their job/work environment, and have their access needs met and be able to wear and wave their disabled flag proudly. 

Lauren: Absolutely. I'm curious as well … one of the things you just mentioned is this idea that you're using your sling as an opportunity to educate others, really, and really to offer them an opportunity to examine their own beliefs about their internalized ableism. And even ableism connected to racial stereotypes, gender stereotypes, etc. I'm wondering if there's a tagline you use, if there's a piece of language that is your ‘in’ for that conversation. Because that's a conversation that a lot of people in the disability community don't want to have; they’re like, that's other people's responsibility, not mine. Which is a perfectly fair point-of-view.

Tiffany: That’s okay. Yes, yeah.

Lauren: But is there a safe tagline that you might be able to recommend to people who are listening to the show that invites that conversation from a heart-centered place? It’s a tough one, I know.

Tiffany: TikTok has been my source of entertainment and joy and play during this pandemic …

Lauren: And you’ve built a viral following. I mean, you are the Queen of TikTok!

Tiffany: What I will say about TikTok, and what is so fascinating to me about the platform, is that Instagram, which is how you and I got connected, is very highly curated. I'll just share an example. So I'm East Asian. I'm the daughter of a Taiwanese immigrant and a refugee from the Vietnam War. And at the beginning of COVID, there was a lot of anti- Asian racism. So I posted video both on Instagram and on TikTok that said, “I feel very nervous going outside because I don't know who is going to harass me." And sometimes I wonder, or sometimes I feel more afraid at who was going to say what to me, or do what to me, when I go out on the street than contracting COVID — because I know I'm careful, and wearing a mask and washing my hands, and all this stuff. I posted that video both on Instagram and on TikTok. On Instagram, got tons and tons of overflowing messages of support, like, “Tiffany, I'm here to support you. If you need me to go pick up groceries for you, let me know. I have a car." On TikTok, it was, like, “This is all your fault. This the CCP, the Chinese Communist Party needs to pay. Serves you right. Trump 2020.” What that made me think though, was, this is what the world really thinks. And I am in an echo chamber of pro-disability, wanting to be active anti-ablest allies on my Instagram and on other social channels. So if I really want to broaden and better understand what people really think, then I need to go to TikTok. And I will say what has been interesting to me, and the reason why I have been talking about micro-aggressions a lot, is that fortunately, I was never overtly bullied as a kid.

And I have seen bullying on TikTok, in the context of micro-aggressions, over and over and over and over again.

And there was a period of time, probably in the August/September timeframe, where I just got really tired of answering all of people's micro-aggressions. 

Lauren: Fair enough. 

Tiffany: But to your point, there are two things I'll say here. And one is, I acknowledge that I have chosen to be a leader in the disability community. And I have done a ton of internal work. And am still doing tons of internal work, so that I can show up with a cup full for my community. 

Lauren: Yeah, that's huge.

Tiffany: I feel very comfortable in my disability. And I don't want to force anyone. It is not anyone's business for them to ask you about things about your body. So I want to acknowledge that. Even just gracing that conversation in the first place, I will acknowledge there's ableism embedded within that. But if I can use it as a conversation, that's my hook. 

Lauren: So one of the responses to “Why are you wearing that sling?” or “Why are you using that wheelchair …” or whatever it may be … can be, "That's none of your business.” 

Tiffany: Yeah. Or it can be, like, “I don't feel comfortable answering that question right now.” And there needs to be a level of respect around that. So the second thing I want to say is your original question … what is your invitation to have that conversation? A lot of the comments and the reason why I brought up TikTok is that I want to use TikTok as an example. I get a lot of questions or comments on TikTok that are framed, like, “Oh, I feel really uncomfortable looking at your hand.” Because I have this claw hand. To which I'll respond, “Why do you feel uncomfortable?”

Lauren: The most basic question. 

Tiffany: Yeah, yeah. And then they'll say their thing. They'll tell me their reasoning, or maybe they'll catch themselves; they'll catch that they're in this ableist loop and then correct themselves. And then I'll say, “You know, my hope, in terms of asking you this question or asking these questions, is that maybe you can do some reflection around why you feel uncomfortable around bodies that look different.” The other question I'll get is, “Oh, can't you just move your hand to look normal?” And then I'll say, “Oh, but my hand is normal.” It's done in a soft way, right. Because I could immediately go to, “You’re being ablest right now. This is a micro-aggression. This is offensive. This is harmful. By saying this, it's harmful.” The other thing is, people will say things like, “Oh, you should just cut off your hand. It's useless.” Or sometimes they will say, “Oh, you should just cut off your hand.” And then I'll say, “Oh, why do you think that?” And then, maybe the next thing will be, like, “Oh, because it's useless.” And then I’m, like, “Oh, but I actually use my hand for a lot of things.” And then they’re, like, “Oh, I didn't know that.”

I have made a couple of TikTok videos that are saying … by making comments about my body, that is actually ableist and can be harmful. 

Lauren: But that's the next step in the education. So if people are still with you for that conversation, that's where that might really hit home. 

Tiffany: Correct. And that's what I like about TikTok too, all these alliterations with the letter T, like Tiffany’s TikTok!

Lauren: And also there’s SickTok, which I love. 

Tiffany: Oh, is there? Interesting! We do have a hashtag #DisabilityTikTok. But I will check out #SickTok. But the thing is, no one in real life says stuff to me like that. And this is why we've kind of gotten to the place where we are now. And I parallel this to what's happening in terms of racial injustice …  we've gotten so uncomfortable wanting to be politically correct, being nervous about if it's okay to ask a question, being nervous about not being sure what the right words are … that we're just not having conversations around my blanket, a part of my identity that I carry around with me that you're not acknowledging because you're uncomfortable, and you're not confronting your own discomfort. And so we're just caught in this delicate, gentle, walking-on-eggshells dance.

Lauren: Yeah, absolutely. We're gonna get more into that, particularly in the health care system, because I'm curious about that, too. But I'm also wondering … and again, we're going to talk about advocacy from the point-of-view of you creating Diversability. But what about your own journey, personally with advocacy, after the accident. You were 9 years old … we're gonna go back in time a little bit again, here. You were a kid, you were obviously taken to the hospital to take care of these physical injury, and the emotional injuries were not addressed for years to come. But did your mom then take on a role as your healthcare advocate, after all of this happened, and did that impact your relationship as well?

Tiffany: (sighs) My mom is a hero. And I can also be a 9-year-old girl who was really angry at a parental figure, who, all she wanted to do was fix me. And maybe even still. And I want to acknowledge that we can exist in those contradictions. And in that paradox. Because what she needed to do was, she needed to raise four kids on her own. What she needed to do was raise four kids on her own, but make sure that we got a quality education, had a consistent roof over our head, had food on the table.

That also meant that she was just not present for emotional healing.

In terms of being my advocate, I just felt like I was broken in her eyes. And all I could do to make her feel better was to try and do everything I could to fix myself. So that meant physical therapy, it meant doctors’ appointments, it meant acupuncture, it meant taking a medical leave in university to see if I could get a muscle and tendon transfer surgery — which didn't end up happening. It meant that a 9-year-old girl couldn't be a 9-year-old girl anymore. Because I was thrust into environments that I had no say over, and a narrative that I was perpetually broken and couldn't talk to anyone about it. So I'm not quite sure how to answer that question. Because through this journey of starting Diversability, I have met other disability advocates, who are now my friends, who talk about what a supportive family environment they were in, and how they learned to love their disabilities because their parents were their advocates, and fought so tirelessly for them to get integrated education, to get the right access to care. I can't say the same thing. My mom … she’s not proud of this …but she is very vocal about the fact that she's unsupportive of my disability work. She doesn't understand why or how I can make a living talking about childhood trauma. Because what I am doing is, I'm shedding a light on all of those things that cause shame to our family. I'm talking about the grief journey of losing my Dad; I'm talking about the fact that I went through childhood trauma and that I'm experiencing mental health symptoms because of it. I'm talking about disability. There's an old school of thought that is, if any of these things happened in your family, it meant that something was wrong in your family back in your lineage and you were cursed. So that's why you don't want to tell anyone about them. And now here I am, like waving my flag. So I want to acknowledge those intricacies and delicacies as well. 

Lauren: So, and that's also sort of a cross cultural experience as well, because that is that very individualistic, democratic American, I-can-wave-my-flag thing — which has been even more amplified by social media in many ways. So it's interesting that you're going from one side of the coin, one part of your identity — the Asian cultural influence of not wanting to shed light on what is “broken” … versus the complete opposite, which is shedding the light on it.

Tiffany:  Yeah, and I think this is why I often try to talk about intersectionality in my work. Because, interestingly enough, I didn't even have this realization that my Asian cultural background discriminated parts of my identity. Also, being born a woman, and where that sits on the hierarchy. The thing is, you can meet two people who have very similar disability origin stories … and I've met a couple of people who lost a loved one in a car accident, experienced some level of paralysis, likely more severe than mine … but, or, the yes/and … the cultural environment that they grew in allowed them to get the mental health support they need. The first time I went to therapy was 2017; that’s 20 years after the accident. And so in a way, Diversability was almost like my therapy. And then, seven or eight years after I started Diversability … two other things I'll say is, I never saw what I had as a disability until 2009. 

Lauren: Yeah. Until you started communing with the disability community. 

Tiffany: Correct. And I never thought that what had happened, or I never labeled what had happened to me, as trauma. I just called it a car accident. I didn't call it trauma until 2015. I met someone named Sarah Fader, who is the founder of a nonprofit called Stigma Fighters, which is all around removing the stigma around mental illness. But she called it trauma. And she was the first person who told me, “Hey, maybe you have PTSD related to the car accident.” Those aren't even in the vocabulary of an Asian family!

Lauren:. But that's so important to acknowledge. I'm wondering as well about your siblings. Because they're like you, first generation, growing up in this cross cultural influence, two others having been in the car accident with you — but all of them also experiencing the grief of losing your Dad. Did they have similar experiences in terms of their understanding of the emotional and physical impact of the word disability? Have they also walked that fine line? Or has that been really your cross to bear because you also have this physical disability? 

Tiffany: That is a great question. I remember when Diversability first started getting a little bit of press, I would often get the question around my siblings who were also in the car, and if my family was supportive. And what was interesting was because there was and hasn't been collective healing, this just felt like a very individual solo journey for me. I didn't even ask my family for permission to start Diversability. I was just, like, I need to do this. I'll say two things … one about my brother who was in the car, and then one about my sister. My sister has been my biggest cheerleader, but I have never acknowledged it. During my birth month, during April, I'll do a fundraiser for a nonprofit. I'll give shout-outs on social media to the people who donated, and I'll try to find a picture of me and that person. My sister has donated every single year. I remember going back in the archives, looking for a photo of us. And there were so many things that she posted on her Facebook that were, like, “Check out my little sister being featured in the Ford Foundation, so proud of you!” And what's interesting is … because I think I feel a little bit of resistance because my family reminds me that I'm Asian, or how hard things were growing up … that I never actually saw them for what she was doing. It’s incredible to have her as a cheerleader. Then there's my brother.

My brother, when I go home, tells me I'm a fraud. And he doesn't understand why people pay me to talk about this car accident.

He's in my mom's camp, because he was also in the car. And his work life looks very different than mine. And so, I am curious. I just finished participating in something called a Gratitude Adventure. It was led by a friend named Jessica. There are four different types of gratitude — there’s the normal gratitude. And then there are wins, like what are you celebrating. Then there's future gratitude. And then there are what she calls love waves. And each one she rolls out every single week, so that you're building gratitude habits. The reason why I'm talking about gratitude is that it's all tied into my wellness and my mental health. So what's interesting about future gratitudes is that you envision something that you dream about in the future, and you express gratitude for it as though it's already happened. And a lot of my future gratitudes are … and I'll say this on this podcast, so that I can manifest it … is, ‘I love my relationship with my family. And I love the way that we have healed through this accident together. And my mom is my biggest cheerleader. And it just feels so great to be a cohesive family unit together again.’ We're not there yet!

Lauren: But you're aware of taking the responsibility that you can to create that feeling in the family. 

Tiffany: Yes, yes. But even going back to your question … how do you invite that conversation. And I find this in my work, and you probably find this in your work, too … that to have a conversation, two people need to be willing. So I have encountered people in my life who see disability as ‘less than’, who see disabled as broken, and they are unwilling to engage in a further conversation around that. That is not my sphere of influence, those are not the people that I'm trying to influence. And I will acknowledge that my brother and my mom may be those people. Or may not be those people who want to have that conversation around healing. Because when I talk about creating Diversability, in the beginning, I would talk about it, like I am just here to facilitate conversations around a topic that a lot of us are a little bit uncomfortable with. And I wonder if, for me, I'm flexing this muscle because the root of all of it is that I want to be able to navigate this conversation around healing with my family. 

Lauren: Sure. I mean, that makes absolute perfect sense from a psychological point-of-view. It's actually a really productive thing as well. But then it does become the ball and chain that you're going to carry with you until that happens, too.

Tiffany: Yeah, yeah.

Lauren: Well, let’s about Diversability. Let's talk about what inspired you to found the organization, what you've been accomplishing. Tell us everything.

Tiffany: I started Diversability when I was a senior in college. I call myself an accidental advocate. I call myself an accidental community builder, an accidental entrepreneur, an accidental speaker. Because I had come back from my internship in investment banking at Goldman Sachs. And I need to bring up this internship, because what happened at that internship is that no one gave me an easy button for life. That was a grueling environment. I was up until two in the morning on some nights.

I had just felt prior to that point that everyone was tiptoeing around me, like I was gonna break. No one's asked me about the car accident, even though I see you staring at my arm.

I don't know how to engage in that conversation. You don't know how to engage in that conversation. And we both go off with our own imaginary narratives of what we think happened to my arm. And I go around with my imaginative narrative of what I think you're thinking about happened to my arm.

Lauren:  That's super, yeah. 

Tiffany: Which feels amazing. 

Lauren: We're definitely being sarcastic. That’s the best way for everyone to be!

Tiffany: And I want to name the sarcasm in case people are catching this in the middle. So that feels super awkward. It's just so awkward; it doesn't feel great for anyone. And so I came back from this internship, and I was just feeling really curious. Because I was in an environment where my colleagues all knew that I had a disability, but they didn't care. It's not like the heavy care, like, ‘I care about you care.’ But it’s, like, please get your work done. Like, we know you're disabled, but get your work done. It was a little bit of tough love for me, and I talk about tough love a lot, because I feel like our external environment has taught us to set the bar so low, that we end up not dreaming bigger, and not feeling that we can be successful in the things that we want to do. I just spoke on a panel with some disabled college students, and one of the college students asked a question; he or she said, “What if the things that I want to do, I can’t?” Or, they were, like, “I have dreams for my career, but I just can't do them.” And I was, like, “Who told you that? Because these are your dreams. You will figure it out how to get there.” But anyway, so my dream was to be an investment banker. Let's rewind back. I came back and I experienced this tough love of people saying you can succeed in this industry if you want to.

Lauren: I just want to pause you there. Because that's also kind of unusual. If you're showing up with a disability, particularly one where there might be a visual signifier, that’s kind of an unusual thing for people to be, like, you can do everything that everyone else can do. Because most of the time, people see a disability or hear that someone has a disability, and they’re, like, oh, so you're going to do less than. I also think there's that attitude of ‘what about the thing I want to do that I can't do’ actually comes from social pressure. It comes from the way that we're socialized. 

Tiffany: Yes. Who are forcing us to suppress our dreams. What a soul-crushing thing. But the real turning point was my recruiter; her name was Jenny. She said to me, “Tiffany, I want you to know that you deserved your place here. And you don't need to have a chip on your shoulder.” So she legit called me out! Anyway, I went back to Georgetown, which is where I went for undergrad. And I was just really noodling on this fact that she called me out for playing small, and not believing that I could succeed. She could see that I wasn't believing in myself. Working at Goldman was the first time I ever thought about what it was like to be a woman in a male-dominated industry. It made me think about what it was like to be a person of color in a very white-dominated industry. And I got access to disabled employees at the firm, who started getting me thinking. This was really the first time I started thinking about intersectionality, and identity. And when I went back to school … I had always seen disability through the medical model. So my disability is a diagnosis. And my mom has seen my disability through the medical model, which is, let's go to the doctor and find you some treatment. So, I started wondering what it would look like if I owned disability as part of my identity. Because I know I’m a woman when I show up in the world; I know I’m Asian when I show up in the world. And I know I have a paralyzed arm when I show up in these spaces. So that was the beginnings of Diversability, which is … can we start to have conversations around my daily experiences so that you can understand and maybe have a little bit of empathy for what it’s like in a disabled body. I wasn't even thinking about intersectionality at this point. And what ended up happening was that I started meeting other disabled people at Georgetown. They were underclassmen, and I met this senior who was so proud and confident in her identity. And it made me start to wonder what it would be like if I talked about my narrative in a more empowering way. And honestly, I did all of this before I was ready. So I remember the first time I told the story of the car accident, it was October 22, 2009. 

Lauren: Tomorrow's your anniversary? In a few days.

Tiffany: Pretty much. Yeah, October 22. And I cried. I have talked about this story … but I cried for two reasons. One, because there was so much hurt and pain in that story that had been suppressed for 12 years, right. But at the same time, this is what it felt like to be seen. This is what it felt like to be seen in my story and have it validated for the first time. Because I was going around with a fake story, or a non-story that was letting you determine what my story was for me — those awkward stares before. I guess what I want to say is, that as Diversability has gone on this journey, our product is our community. Because people will often ask us, “Okay, so which advocacy issue are you tackling? Are you addressing access to health care? You talked about patient advocacy. Are you tackling disability employment, design, universal design?” There’s been research done, I think it was a Harvard study that showed that the key to your longevity and your well-being and your happiness, and your success, is rooted in having healthy relationships and your social connection. That to me is where the sweet spot is of what Diversability is sitting in.

In order for you to go into all those different advocacy areas, you need to know that you have an army of people who are backing you up, who are cheering you on, who are elevating and amplifying you.

Because if you don't have that, you're just one stick, you're one branch on a tree. But when you have a community, you're like the whole trunk and the roots. Caroline Casey, who is the founder of The Valuable 500, talks about how much influence we have as a community. When we come together around a campaign or around an advocacy issue, we can be unstoppable; we can be a generative magic force. I don't want to discount the fact that some people's disabilities can be debilitating. Sometimes you don't like your disability. I mean, sometimes I don't like my disability. That is what it means to be human, right? To say that we can only sit in spaces where we're the victim, or to say that we can only be happy … I mean, that's toxic positivity. That is another way that our community is dehumanized. So a big part of Diversability as a community is, how can we just acknowledge that we're human? How can we humanize our experiences, and have conversations with our non-disabled peers that are structured in a way that make us equal. You’re not volunteering for me; being my friend is not a social good — which I know is how a couple of other organizations have been structured.

Lauren: “But I have disabled friends!” You always hear that. I mean, you hear it about race and gender more than anything, but it's the same thing when people are, like, “Oh, no, but I have a disabled friend. So I'm cool with disability.” 

Tiffany: Yeah, yeah. This is why empathy exercises are a problem, right? At the root of a disability experience is trauma and grief. There are five or six stages of grief, depending on which piece of research you're looking at. And the last two stages of grief are acceptance and meaning. I would say I am probably in my meaning stage of my disability narrative. But in those first 12 years, I was in the loss and denial. And when we do empathy exercises, you're only allowing non-disabled people to sit in those first couple of stages where things are really hard. Which is what we try to do in Diversability, course correct and show you: Look at how empowered I feel in my disability narrative. Look at how proud I am. Look at how amazing my life is. So in terms of what Diversability has been up to these days, through the end of the year, Diversability is participating in the Facebook community accelerator, which is all about: What does it look like to really invest in our community? What does that look like from a programming perspective? Pre-COVID Diversability was all about real-life interactions. I will name, there is a neuroscientist named Dr. Vivienne Ming and she says the best way to tackle any type of bias is through real-life continuous experiences with people who challenge your stereotypes. Media is very powerful, of course. You see that viral video that comes across your feed. But do you actually know that person's name? Other than the fact that they ran a marathon, do you know, if they're dating? Do you know what their favorite food is?

Media is powerful. But I think again, you only get one part of the narrative. And that's part of why it feeds into inspiration porn, which I think is harmful.

Because you don't actually even know that person. So that's why I was all about ‘in real-life’. I think once you've met me, and you've gotten to know me, you can go around and say, “I know Tiffany, and I have a disabled friend.” But you can say, “Let me tell you about all the things she told me about dating during a pandemic.” Let me tell you about this podcast, and who she's interviewing. She's trying to be a better anti-racist ally. Here's the work that she's doing around collective healing in her family, or better understanding what it means to be Asian.” Right? When you meet a person, you're not just fixated on one part of their identity, like my paralyzed arm, or your illness. You actually talk about all sorts of things. You talk about the weather and everything else. 

Lauren: Inevitably, we'll always get to the weather! 

Tiffany: That’s true. Well, especially here. I'm joining you from San Francisco, where the weather is top of mind and whether or not we have good air quality, or the sky is orange. Who knows?

Lauren: And how's Karl today?

Tiffany: How’s Karl? Yes, Karl in full force. But I was all about ‘in real-life’ interactions. And so I do acknowledge that in this pandemic environment, what does it look like for Diversability to invest in continuing to connect, but connect along whatever the parameters we have now, which are virtual environment. And what I hope that Diversability will allow people to do … if you go onto our website, we have a tab called “Like Our Community”. And we recently went through this exercise of determining who our community personas were. So we have people within our community who are super proud of their disability identities, a lot of them are already thought leaders in the disability space. Then you have people who are kind of emerging. I would call this ‘circa 2009 Tiffany’. Which is, I don't really know what my story is, I still have a lot of internalized ableism. I'm not ready to be public yet. But I really just want to feel empowered and see what other people are doing. And just have a space I can go to for support. And then of course, we have our non-disabled, anti-ableist allies who are, “ I want to be better for you, Tiffany. I want to be better for you, Lauren. I just want to know what conversations you're having. Because having that exposure is kind of like #diversifyyourfeed … it allows me to better understand because I don't know what the right questions are." And then we have things like TikTok. We just started our TikTok channel — which I actually think if we get it to a good point, we can start to have some of these humanizing conversations featuring more of our community members. 

Lauren: Absolutely. And TikTok is a really cool platform for that because these quick bites that are educational and give people a punchy, fun way of looking at things, have been really effective. They're one of the leaders. It started with dance videos. Now I'm seeing so many more educational aspects of TikTok, which is really exciting. 

Tiffany: Yeah, I love that we have given TikTok so much airtime in this conversation. 

Lauren: They should sponsor this!

Tiffany: I really am a TikTok evangelist. One of the questions that I got a lot was, "How do you get dressed?” And I thought that was kind of weird. But then I Googled it. And I came across a ton of YouTube videos, and all of them were 6 to 10 minutes, showing how people got dressed with one hand. And this is relevant for people who may have aphasia from a stroke, or may have cerebral palsy and only use one side of their body. And a lot of them are linked to occupational therapy and physical therapy. And so I recorded a 15-second version of me getting dressed, and I got a ton of comments that were, like, “You don't understand how helpful this is.” I think occupational therapists and physical therapists, they always want the real-world examples. But when you are in PT or OT, you're probably not at the point yet where you’re feeling great about showing someone else how you get dressed, and you don't want your OT or PT filming you to put it on a YouTube video. So it's all these physical therapists and occupational therapists simulating what it would look like. And then it’s, like, oh, now we have an actual example of someone who is modeling what it looks like to get dressed. The interesting thing about TikTok for me

is that I automatically feel like a content creator. With YouTube, you put the fancy text in, and it's six minutes, and you've edited everything. With TikTok, I can put up my video in 15 seconds, and now I'm a content creator! 

Lauren: Yeah! And you do it fast, and you do it dirty! That's exactly what makes it so exciting and accessible to people, too. 

Tiffany: Yeah, I've learned a lot. I've learned how to make banana pancakes. I learned how to bake banana chocolate spread. 

Lauren: Sounds like a banana theme here! 

Tiffany: Yeah, there’s a banana theme. It makes me excited to go to the grocery store. I mean, talk about holistic. I’ve learned how to roll a towel like they do at the spa! 

Lauren: Yeah, that's nice. I like that. There are ways to upgrade the basic elements of your life, things like folding your towels, which, once you elevate that, and someone teaches you how to do it, you can feel like you're treating yourself a bit more — especially when we're all stuck at home more now.

Tiffany: 100%. And the reason why I want to bring this up is, I think for some reason, we are caught in a narrative that as a disabled person, all I'm doing all day is watching disability documentaries, and following disability thought leaders, and listening to disability podcasts, and disability, disability, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And I don't mean blah, blah, blah to invalidate how important it is, but I feel like I'm very nourished in terms of how much disability content I get. And that's why I turn to TikTok because I’m, like, ooh, let me try out a new recipe, or let me learn how to do something different. And this is how you up level your life, right?

Because my disability muscle feels really strong right now. But my cooking muscle is not great at all!

Lauren: Yeah, absolutely. You look for the things that you want to strengthen yourself. So one of the ways I like to wrap up my interviews with people … because we've talked about so much today, and I'm excited for everyone who's tuning in to check out Diversability, to get involved in the community to, to really examine how we see ourselves, as well as how we are projecting out into the world our various forms of identity. And I'm wondering if you have some tips for those who are tuning in. For anyone … maybe they have a disability, maybe they're waiting to be diagnosed, maybe they are an ally and wanting to be a better ally. What are your Top Three Tips for people who are in this disability chronic illness world alongside you and I?

Tiffany: I will give you my Top Three life tips. Number one is, you cannot delegate-self care. And this is a piece of advice I have gotten from a mentor of mine. And if you are in advocacy work, and i if you are disabled and listening to this — and I'm including chronic illness and mental health conditions in this category, because they are disabilities, if that's how you want to label them. The reason why I bring this up is because, your existence is advocacy. And so even just by existing, there's a little bit of exhaustion there, and there are a couple of terms like compassion fatigue, or activism burnout. And so creating these non-negotiable containers of what self-care looks like for you … So TikTok for me is self-care. Talking about banana pancakes. It's a place I go to where I just want to lip sync to this video. Or sing to this Disney karaoke song. One of the things that I've learned during this pandemic is that there's a self-care practice and then there's a self-care industry. And the industry has kind of co-opted the practice to say: You need to buy this thing, and you need to buy this vacation, because that's the only time you're going to get self-care. And this is something that I'm learning, too … this is more life tips for myself, things that super nourish me. Like, I want to immerse myself in nature as much as possible. I recently just discovered a hike that's only a 20-minute drive outside of where I am, 20 minutes outside of downtown San Francisco, I'm in a forest. So figure out what those things. journaling. As part of my Gratitude Adventure, we did these power dances. I just had so much fun coming up with what my power song was going to be. And I recorded a couple of different versions of my power dance, because I wasn't sure which one I felt comfortable posting. And none of them I felt comfortable posting, but I posted one anyway. And that's the fun part … which I guess comes to tip number two, which is … as hard as things are, I have found that you can still root yourself in what I called PFJ — in spaces of play, fun, and joy. My advocacy work is very serious. That childhood car accident I was in was very traumatic. But how can I channel as much play, fun and joy into my life … and laugh at the ridiculousness of what it's like to be pandemic dating right now. Sometimes I just like to giggle to myself the fact that I spend my life talking about my life. I spend my life and my work life talking about my life. And people find new learnings or mirrors or reflections of themselves in that. And then the third thing I'll say, the third life tip … so the first was, you can't delegate your self-care, self-care is non negotiable. The second, which I guess is also tied to self-care, is making spaces for play, fun, and joy. And to just have fun with it all. The third will be that you matter. And your story matters. When I think about my life mission statements — not Diversability’s mission, but Tiffany's mission … I want to lead by example, to give you permission to be unapologetically yourself. Because it is so liberating. And I see the difference between 9-year-old adolescent Tiffany versus Tiffany in her 30s, to just let it all out. I was recently on a podcast, on a different podcast, where the host asked me if I had tips for listeners around dating someone with a disability. That question caught me so off guard — because I'm not here to give prescriptive advice, sweeping generalizations of what it's like to date a disabled person. But I just appreciated that I could be open about where I was. And what I shared with him was that, back in the day, when I was dating, I would wait until a couple of dates in to tell someone about the car accident. But the thing is, if my car accident and my disability is my blanket, I want you to see it. How can I put confidence in what I'm putting out there and not put too much weight or expectation on the outcome, or what the response is going to be. And this is how I try to live my life. Because that is super liberating. So right now I'm dating this guy, and he loves sending me links of things that he's learning or things that he's reading. And I just messaged him and I said, “Hey, I just want to let you know that sending me all these links is actually kind of overwhelming for me, because I don't like looking at links on my phone.”

I think past Tiffany would have been, like, I'm just not gonna say anything, because I want this guy to like me.

And he responded, he’s, like, “Thank you for letting me know your boundaries.” 

Lauren: I was gonna say … boundaries. healthy boundaries. 

Tiffany: Yeah. But I also like this guy. And we get along because we know that the key to success is by over communicating. It's kind of like that awkwardness that I mentioned to you before. That guy has his narrative and I have my narrative and we're both going around with our own realities that we're not meeting each other. But yeah, that was a long-winded way of saying, the best gift that you can give the world is just by being yourself. 

Lauren: I love that. Can you remind everyone where they can find you and where they can find Diversability? 

Tiffany: Yes. You can find me @ImTiffanyYu. And then Diversability is @Diversability across social channels. And you're welcome to join our Facebook community as well. Maybe it will be linked in the show notes.

Lauren: It will be! Do you have a quick ask for listeners today to what they can do to support you and your community and the work that you're doing as I release you into your day? 

Tiffany: Sure, I get this question a lot. And I'm thinking of creating a one-pager about it. Four Ways To Be An Ally. Number one is learn disability history. I would highly recommend watching Crip Camp on Netflix. It's also streaming for free on YouTube. So #no excuses. Number two is #DiversifyYourFeed. So even if it's not Diversability, even if it's not me, just follow disabled content creators — because we need to muck up the algorithm to start showing everyone more disability content. Number three, join the Diversability community to continue the conversation. If you want to be a better non-disabled ally, or if you are disabled and looking for support, we’re here for you. We're here to amplify you. And then the fourth one is, if you are in a position to hire, please hire disabled people.

Lauren: Yes! Tiffany Yu, thank you so much for being on the show today. You have been an absolute joy, and I can't wait to talk more. 

Tiffany: For sure. Thanks for having me.

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