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Ashley McFaul Embodies Intersectional Visibility

From TikTok to YouTube, Houston native champions disability and queer rights online.

McFaul uses their feet to apply makeup. (Photography by Imani Lewis for OutSmart)

Ashley McFaul’s (pronouns: they/them/she/her) main goal for their social media presence is representation and disability awareness. As a self-described disabled, polyamorous lesbian and “Hippie goth witch” (Instagram bio), McFaul has created an impressive and important social-media presence that brings an intersectional perspective of what it’s like to live with a disability while also navigating multiple queer identities.

When McFaul discovered that they were chosen to be featured in their hometown’s queer magazine for July’s Disability Pride Month, they felt embraced by Houston’s queer community.

I never imagined that I would be featured in Outsmart as an important member of the disabled and queer communities. I’m honored to be the person chosen to represent the queer and disabled community in Houston! It gets overwhelming sometimes to think about the trajectory of my life. I never dreamed that I would feel this amount of love and recognition from my city for just being unapologetically me.”

@ashleymcfaul Reply to @lissy_gym09 I am trained and licensed to drive this way. Do not try this at home, please. #disabledtiktok #arthrogryposis #altrocktober ♬ E-GIRLS ARE RUINING MY LIFE! – CORPSE & Savage Ga$p

 

With over 157k followers on TikTok and an ever-growing presence on YouTube, McFaul doesn’t seem to have hit a career plateau yet. They are basking in the recognition gained from being Maybelline’s 2023 Face for Disability Pride. Feeling grateful for that opportunity, Ashley remarks, “I was very proud to be last year’s Maybelline Disabled Featured Creator. The opportunity was incredible for my platform, and it was inspiring to see a company stick their necks out for the disabled community, especially since they are one of the very few companies to represent us.”

Ashley’s main goal in life is to expand disability awareness. They are achieving this by making content that represents people living with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita (or AMC), a condition affecting the joints and causing contractures. McFaul’s arm and hand joints are affected, so their feet must be used to create all of their content.

The future is bright for this Houston native. They are focusing on growing their brand through their YouTube channel and hope to share more about their life through other media as well. “Right now, I’m trying to focus more on my YouTube channel, and growing that. I want the content to be focused more on makeup tutorials and reviews, blogs, vlogs, and showing my overall lifestyle living with AMC. In the past we have been approached to do a reality show with my family, but nothing has happened yet. That is a possibility I would love to explore further!”

Ashley McFaul (Photography by Imani Lewis for OutSmart)

McFaul is passionate about using their social-media platforms to educate on the intersectionalities and nuances within their multiple identities. All of those identities are intertwined and embedded within their content.

“I feel like my queerness is just as much a part of me as my disability is. No matter what I am posting, my identities are inherently going to be a part of my content. A lot of people are very interested in the dynamics of my relationships, with me being a polyamorous lesbian and my partner Amber being a pansexual married to Chad. We get a lot of people who are interested in our lives, and I would love to continue diving into the intersectionalities of our queer and inter-abled relationship through my YouTube vlogs!”

McFaul feels such gratitude for the opportunity to be a positive representation for the disabled community. “I forget that I am a form of representation for disability on social media.” McFaul is always pleased to hear how often their content inspires children with disabilities. “That’s what I want to show with my content—that having a disability does not take away from your life at all.”

@ashleymcfaul Pride party ready 🏳️‍🌈😘 #disabledtiktok #disabilitytiktok #arthrogryposis #amcstrong #pride #lgbtq #wlw #makeup #pridemakeup #disabilityawareness ♬ use this sound if you are gay – riley &lt3 (taylors’s version)

 

When working on content and attending queer events, McFaul stresses the importance of COVID consciousness. Living in a country that does not prioritize the voices and concerns of the disabled community, McFaul speaks about the alienation felt when people refuse to mask. “I feel like people have forgotten how serious COVID is. I have an auto-immune disease, and so does my partner Amber, so it’s important for us to pay attention to what events we are going to. Masking isn’t just about COVID, and it’s not only about helping ourselves. It’s important to understand that it’s not just about the individual. It’s about the community as a whole, and when everyone can feel safe, then the community thrives.”

Ashley McFaul has a message for the queer and polyamorous community: “Being disabled does not make you less attractive or less sexual. It doesn’t make you ‘less than’! In fact, you are more unique and gain a unique perspective of the world. The queer community must know that what is disabled community is queer community, and vice versa. A lot of the Pride events are not as accessible as they should be. If there was more of a disabled voice in the queer community, it would bring together the queer and disabled communities.”

Keep up with Ashley McFaul on Instagram @ashleymcfaul55 and on TikTok at @ashleymcfaul.

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