Meet Julian Van Horne

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Name: Julian Van Horne

Age: 23

Occupation: Life Coach & Model

Skin condition: Ehlers Danlos

I feel like people with skin conditions often have a one-line explanation that they use to explain their skin condition to others. Tell us yours.

I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, it’s a genetic connective tissue disorder. I’ve never been a stranger to odd marks, scars, and stretch marks all over my body. As young as I can remember my body took forever to heal—small cuts and wounds would soon turn into keloids. So, when I got top surgery I knew there was a chance my scars would never heal. The same sentiment applied to my feeding tube surgery and eventual scar once I lost it. Yet even though I knew, I tried relentlessly to apply oils to my scars to make them go away. I remember crying when I woke up from surgery to still see the stretch mark damage on my chest.

What are you up to in life right now?

Right now I’m a model and I also have my own life coaching business for LGBTQ+ and chronic illness individuals.

You're trans and disabled, and you live with Ehlers Danlos. Those are all experiences that are deeply rooted in the body. What is it like to be in your body? Are you at peace with it?

I now feel a deep connection to my body. Being trans and disabled has put my body through a lot. I’ve had to practice listening and being in-tune to my body. That in turn has made me feel closer to my soul. All the surgeries, injuries, recognize every little ache and pain.

That connection... that close-ness is so invaluable to me. It’s allowed me to learn so much about myself that I feel like I wouldn’t have otherwise. Being able to transition has been liberating beyond any words I could use. It feels like I broke out of a shell I’ve always been living in, and was finally hatched. 

Your advocacy work strikes me as very intersectional: trans activism, disability activism, their intersection when it comes to healthcare access. Tell us more about the advocacy work you're doing. What motivates you?

What motivates me to practice advocacy work is to connect others and make them feel less alone. I remember being young and never seeing someone like me: trans and disabled. If that can motivate others to share their stories then I’m happy. That allows a bigger platform for the world to listen, learn, and understand. Learning to love your body is a process. A never ending one especially when your body is always changing. But I feel like... I’m really starting to come into my skin.

You are a life coach for LGBTQ+ people and people with chronic illnesses. What are some of the biggest challenges your clients face, and what is the advice you find yourself giving them most often?

The biggest challenges my clients face have to do with chronic illness/LGBTQ+ acceptance by either themselves or others, the balance of rest and productivity, and confidence building.

Where can we keep up with you?

You can find me at my Instagram handle @thedisabledhippie where I share my story raising awareness for the intersection of being trans and disabled. As well as modeling and life coaching inquires.

Sarah Harris