The disabled community is one of the most diverse groups of people and yet still the group with the least representation in all forms of mainstream media. You may say why is the disabled community the most diverse? Well, that's because disability doesn't discriminate against people based on their sexuality, age, race, gender, or religion. So let me ask you a question, despite there being over 11 million in the UK living with a disability or limiting life long illness, how many famous people or characters with a disability can you name? I bet you'll struggle to even name five. The next question is, how many of those characters are displayed in a positive light? Again I bet not many.
All of this leads to two situations. The first is where people who might not be surrounded by people with disabilities get these two very different images of what disability is. Those tend to be the disabled person who "chooses" to stay home and claim off the state or the "inspirational" Paralympian type who once every 4 years get this deserved but often patronising spotlight which then gets forgotten about. The other situation is that it doesn't provide disabled people role models or people to look up to.
I can only speak about my experiences, which is the latter. As a child up until the age of 10 I had no other connections or role model with a disability, except perhaps Stephen Hawkins. But I'm definitely nowhere near as clever as he is. This meant I grow up without a role model with a disability who could help provide the motivation that I can do everyday activities with a disability.
Now that I've provided a quick overview of why disability representation matters (if you want to read more drop me a message and I'll point you in the direction of some great blogs that talk about it), let's get to the point of why twitch needs to add the tag.
Twitch and gaming in general are actually one of the most accessible and acceptable places for those with disabilities. As a streamer, I've been lucky enough to be welcomed by viewers in the Twitch community and have never received any form of trolling. Meanwhile, as a gamer, it provides an opportunity for me to compete against those who in real life I might not be able to equally. So by adding the tag it will hopefully do multiple things for the disabled and Twitch communities as it has done brilliantly with the LGBTQ+ community. By providing viewers and streamers alike to find communities supportive of those with disabilities. Giving those with a disability to find potential role models difficult to be found elsewhere. Twitch would also then allow the disabled streamers and advocates to grow their platform to educate those about life with a disability.
So Twitch, do the right thing and just add the tag... Or I'll tweet you every day until you do.