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Disabled TikTok star laughs off hurtful jokes

Shelby Lynch
Shelby Lynch Image credit:

A disabled TikTok sensation has said she can now laugh off tasteless jokes which she received after uploading a track on the social media platform.

Shelby Lynch, who has Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 2, posted the popular song “I wanna ride” on her social media account, but she horrified when she started to receive replies such as “the only thing you’re riding is your wheelchair”’

The 23-year-old (pictured above) from Leeds has over 440,000 followers who are regularly updated with topics related to disability, from fashion to sex, to break down stigmas.

She told Mirror Online: “I’ll use a humourous sound to show how ableist they are cos I’m having a good but if I’m having a shit day I will reply quite sassy to try and educate them.

“I feel like people have a certain view of what disabled looks like and I don’t think I fit that look.

“They’re always so shocked that I dress really well and that I’ve got colourful hair I don’t fit into that little box of frumpy disabled person”

Instagram influencer Nina Tame, from Essex,  believes more needs to be done to highlight what disabled people CAN do as opposed to what they can’t.

“It’s a lack of education, we need better education so people aren’t trolling disabled people online,” she expressed.

 “When we look at disability in the media, it’s generally either very tragic or were held up as being these kind of inspirational people, despite our disability.”

Tame understands in some cases degrading comments towards disabled people are made out of negligence and not spite.

 “A lot of people don’t even understand ableism is a thing. So much of the insults that we use will tend to basically be comparing somebody to a disabled person,” she explained. “But until you actually say that to somebody, and get them to take a look at that language they don't realise.”

Tame sees platforms such as TikTok as a golden opportunity to change perceptions about people with disabilities. 

“Social media has been such an amazing platform for disabled voices. And just being able to challenge people’s perceptions away from the narrative that they are used to and allowing people to tell their own stories is brilliant.” she said.

Tame does not receive hate for making funny videos, it’s because she is a disabled person who uploads comical posts.

 “I found that with my content, the funny ones are what people engage with more, and I think they take more away from it as well. And they can find the humour in something that actually might be quite difficult because it still gets the point across.”

Tame, who has spina bifida, shares clips of people’s reactions to disability with her witty sense of humour and is known for her catchphrase “keep your pity in your pants”.

“I would find myself going, ‘no, you don’t need to be sorry, it’s fine. I’ve got a great life!’ And it just kind of came from that,” she said.

“I don’t need your pity, because it’s so misplaced, you know, have empathy for the fact that I still can’t get into 50% of the shops in my local area and all of those barriers, which you could help fix, but don’t pity my legs that don’t work, because it’s just not a thing that I feel bad about.”

Tame added: “Nobody’s going to want to do any kind of learning, if they are so terrified that they’re going to get shouted out and screened out if they get it wrong. And when it comes to disability, we’re all going to get it wrong. you know, we’re all just out here doing the best we can with the knowledge that we’ve got. You know, once you know better, you do better, hopefully.”

Shelby Lynch self-styles herself as a ‘disabled Bratz doll’.