Sometimes it's not always obvious when a person has a disability, but just because you can't see it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
Rikki Poynter, a vlogger based in Charlotte, NC., posted a video to her YouTube channel on Dec. 12, where she discusses her frustration with people who don't believe that some people with disabilities are actually disabled.
"My friend Abby and I were having this conversation a couple of days ago. We were talking about how people, especially friends, don't believe that you are disabled," Poynter, who is deaf, says in the video.
Vlogger Rikki Poynter. (YouTube)
"So, when people don't believe that you're deaf, when people don't believe that you're blind, when people don't believe that you're chronically ill, mentally ill, that whole shebang," she continues, before telling a story about how her friend, who is hard of hearing and is chronically ill, hasn't been diagnosed, which is "part of the problem."
Another friend of hers, who has AMC (arthrogryposis multiplex congenita) was yelled at by strangers because she parked in the handicapped parking spot.
"People yell at her because they're like 'Oh my God you're too young for this, you can't be disabled.' I've seen the girl, I've seen her walk, yeah she can walk and yes, chronically ill people can walk but sometimes they need the freaking scooter eventually. They need a wheelchair eventually," she says.
Poynter also points out the should-be-obvious that not all people with disabilities are the same.
"Deaf people are not the same. Not everyone of us wears hearing aids or cochlear implants," she says. "Not every single one of us signs, not every single one of us talks. Not all blind people are the same. Not everybody wears sunglasses like Stevie Wonder and not everybody has their eyes closed like Tommy Edison."
"Yes, chronically ill people can walk but sometimes they need the freaking scooter eventually."
Aside from being deaf, Poynter reveals she's been dealing with chronic back pain for the past two decades. After a car crash a couple years ago made her condition worse, she says that some days are harder than others.
"I have days when I can stand around just fine, I can work out just fine. Some days I cannot move, my back is killing me," she says.
"So it's frustrating to me when no matter how often we talk about these things people just like to invalidate us and they don't believe us, especially if the disability is invisible."
Poynter believes part of the reason why some people don't believe that others have disabilities is because of age.
"People will believe old people like that but if you're younger, no you're too young to do this, you're too young to be deaf, you're too young to be blind... that's not the way it works in real life," she says.
"Stop invalidating people, stop telling people that they're lying, stop saying what they have isn't real."
"Disability does not care. You can be 25 years old and then one day you wake up and your hearing is gone or your sight is gone or you are just in a crap ton of pain."
Stop invalidating people, stop telling people that they're lying, stop saying what they have isn't real."
In October, Poyner vented her frustration with a movie theatre in Toronto that didn't offer closed captioning for a Tim Burton film.
"FYI, if you want to see the new Tim Burton movie and you're deaf and in Toronto, the Queensway @CineplexMovies won't have CC for it," she tweeted.