THE BLOG

Every Body Is Different, Let's Champion That

03/07/2017 11:23 BST | Updated 03/07/2017 11:27 BST
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everybody

It's no secret that people living with disabilities have long been overlooked, shunned and underrepresented by society. This became even more apparent during the General Election, when Kathy Mohan confronted Theresa May over disability benefit cuts. The emotional exchange shone a light on the reality for millions of people living with disability in the UK - stories that are often left untold.

HuffPost UK has always endeavoured to provide a voice for some of the most under-served in the community. In a further commitment to amplifying these voices, we're working alongside disabled people, those living with invisible illnesses and the disability charity Scope to launch a new editorial project: EveryBody.

The section on HuffPost UK Lifestyle - which we've been building towards for some time now - calls for better equality and inclusivity for people living with disability and invisible illness. The aim is to empower the people who are not always heard and redefine attitudes to identity, lifestyle and ability in 2017.

We'll be hearing from countless people about their experiences of either growing up with a disability, living undiagnosed or suddenly developing a condition which changed their lives.

Samantha Renke is one of many lending her voice to the section. Renke starred in last year's Maltesers ads, aired during the Paralympics. Unfortunately, she faced horrendous online trolling after appearing on TV sets across the UK. While she handled the bullies like a pro, her concern is that one day there might be someone more vulnerable, who would find it harder to cope. She has shared her experiences in a vlog for EveryBody, which I hope you'll find insightful.

Renke is joined by the presenter Adam Pearson, who vlogs about living with neurofibromatosis and dating, and the model Kelly Knox, who discusses her decision to remove her prosthetic arm aged seven. There will also be blogs about what it's like to start your period when you're blind, being an epileptic parent, what it's like to have an undiagnosed child and why it's ok to grieve when diagnosed with a chronic illness.

In addition to brilliant blogs and vlogs, we've got an inspiring interview going live with Lizzie Velasquez, who was once labelled 'the ugliest woman in the world' and has gone on to be an incredible motivational speaker and anti-bullying campaigner. We have a real-life story about a parent whose children are her carers and a FitFix interview with British Paralympic athlete Lauren Steadman, who was born missing her lower right arm.

I have two hopes for EveryBody. One is that we'll spread so much love and empower so many voices through the site, that we'll be able to educate people to fuel a more tolerant society - one that does not discriminate so easily, one which calls out hatred and champions kindness.

The second is that we can cater to a broader section of society who feel completely underrepresented by some sectors of the media and are often treated as 'the other'. We can make it so that future generations grow up and feel represented, no matter who they are or what their background is.

We hope you'll join us in spearheading this change.

HuffPost UK Lifestyle has launched EveryBody, a new section calling for better equality and inclusivity for people living with disability and invisible illness. The aim is to empower those whose voices are not always heard and redefine attitudes to identity, lifestyle and ability in 2017. We'll be covering all manner of lifestyle topics - from health and fitness to dating, sex and relationships.

We'd love to hear your stories. To blog for the section, please email ukblogteam@huffingtonpost.com with the subject line 'EveryBody'. To flag any issues that are close to your heart, please email natasha.hinde@huffingtonpost.com, again with the subject line 'EveryBody'.

Join in the conversation with #HPEveryBody on Twitter and Instagram.