How college student Jiya Day uses TikTok to navigate life as a queer woman with cerebral palsy

Dillon Thompson
·2 mins read

Jiya Day knows she might not always look like she has a disability.

If you can’t tell, then she’s happy to show you — usually in a charming, joke-filled, deeply honest way.

Day, a 20-year-old college student with cerebral palsy, is always open and always honest. It’s one of the many reasons she’s drawn nearly 100,000 followers on TikTok, where she refers to herself in her bio as “just your helpful virtual big sis.”

Most of Day’s videos are often simple, featuring her experience as a young, queer woman with a disability. It’s the way she shares that information that makes her stand out.

“I have a lot of new followers,” Day explains in a recent clip. “So here’s a reminder that I have spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, which affects all four limbs! All of ’em!”

In the video, Day proceeds to show her disability by casually strolling through her kitchen. It’s simple but, thanks to her commentary, extremely hilarious.

“Here’s my walking with a peach,” she says at one point. “Here’s my ‘I feel awkward’ walk. Here’s my ‘I feel very awkward’ walk.”

Day’s TikToks often draw hundreds of thousands of views, but it’s not just because they’re funny. The 20-year-old isn’t afraid to stray from being serious.

That’s especially true when it comes to issues that matter to her — including ableism, discrimination and sexuality, just to name a few. She’s spoken out about Black Lives Matter, expressing her sexuality and what it’s like to date as a person with disabilities.

In a particularly striking video, Day asks her followers, “Why aren’t people with disabilities included in the conversation when talking about discrimination and bigotry?”

Day proceeds to answer her own question, pushing the TikTok community on tough issues like ableism and intersectionality.

“I know that ableism isn’t talked about as much as racism and homophobia, but it’s just as destructive,” she says in the clip.

Check out In The Know’s video on Helena the Mermaid, the professional mermaid using her platform to discuss her rare nerve disorder.

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