124: Julian Gavino, @TheDisabledHippie


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Julian Gavino (he/him) is a trans-masculine model, writer, coach, and sex-positive disability influencer living with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and comorbidities. An outspoken advocate for both the trans and disability communities, Julian grew up never seeing people in media who “looked like” him…and his work has become a direct response to that experience. Many may know Julian through his Instagram account @TheDisabledHippie, which he started during a health crisis while in college for neuropsychology. Now a coach serving the disabled and LGBTQIA+ communities, he has also become a social media expert and co-founder of Disabled with Dignity, a platform featuring disabled stories — by disabled people, for disabled people. In his work, Julian aims to normalize and destigmatize trans and disabled bodies in media — by facing discrimination down and creating space for representation.

Tune in as Julian shares:

  • that he started experiencing symptoms from the age of 5, from digestive distress to dislocations — and was initially diagnosed with Celiac
  • that he largely uses his wheelchair these days, in order to support his mobility
  • that he was recently diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease, but has been monitoring his thyroid health from an early age
  • that as far as he knows, most of his diagnoses are likely connected to EDS
  • the most significant impact on his health in his adult life: his neurological conditions, including a demyelinating neuropathy similar to MS that can flare without warning
  • the emotional toll of his health conditions — from awareness of mortality to a young age, to the validation of diagnosis
  • that growing up female meant that he was gaslighted over his health frequently
  • how he stepped into self-advocacy
  • that he started his Instagram feed as a way to manage his emotional journey through disability
  • that his treatments include infusions, a feeding tube, multiple medications, physical therapy, and more
  • the supportive role his service dog, Atlas, has played in his life — both physically and emotionally
  • how his gender identity has influenced his experiences within the medical system — including threats to his safety from professional caregivers
  • his thoughts on healthcare reform

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