Advocate hopes Disney creates princess with disabilities

STORY: "Seeing the number 63,957 signatures is wild, it's the closest I will ever feel to a rock star."

Meet Hannah Diviney, a cerebral palsy advocate from Australia.

The 23-year-old has been campaigning for Disney to create a princess with disabilities.

"And the reason for that specifically is because Disney princesses are the ones that get the most visibility."

Diviney was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth.

The condition affects a person's ability to move and maintain posture,

and affects around 0.1% of Australia's near 26 million population.

"I kind of remembered that when I was originally diagnosed with cerebral palsy, the diagnosis my parents were given was that I would never walk, talk or feed myself. // But obviously, by virtue of us having this conversation, you can tell that diagnosis didn't eventuate quite how it was predicted to and it sort of occurred to me that I have the literal privilege of being able to articulate myself and being able to have a voice that is easily understood."

Diviney says she believes her journey towards love and self-acceptance would have been different

if she’d seen positive representation of people like her in movies while growing up.

The Sydney resident began an online campaign for Disney to create a princess character with disabilities in 2020.

The petition has now received 64,000 signatures,

with Hollywood actors Reese Witherspoon, Jameela Jamil and Mark Hamil giving the cause their backing.

In 2022, Diviney called out singers Beyonce and Lizzo on Twitter for using an ableist slur in their songs.

The word is seen as a derogatory term for spastic diplegia.

"Hey Lizzo, my disability cerebral palsy is literally classified as spastic diplegia, where spasticity refers to unending painful tightness in my legs, so your new song makes me pretty angry and sad. 'spaz' doesn’t mean freaked out or crazy. It’s an ableist slur. It’s 2022. Do better."

Her tweets went viral. And both artists later removed the slur and recorded the songs again.

"I didn't know that changing the lyric was an option, but it turned out that a couple of days later when I got a very aggressive all-caps message from a friend being like, 'She's changing it, check her Instagram, it's on her feed!' And me being like, 'What is happening?' That she'd written this amazing statement of allyship that basically said, 'Look I didn't know that was a slur.'"

Beside campaigning, Diviney also works as an editor for an online news platform for women and recently starred in Australian TV series "Latecomers."

She says she wants to use her voice for good.

“I hope that in the kind of decades to come there will be loads of disabled people, some of whom might not even be born yet, who are able to have bigger, better, easier, more inclusive lives because of things that I did. That's the ultimate goal."