"We have Down syndrome. Don't limit us."
Seven words that say it all.
The opening line for the Season 2 trailer of "Born This Way" is a perfect depiction of the reality TV show that's opening the eyes of millions.
The hit show from A&E features seven young men and women as they follow their passions and navigate life with Down syndrome.
Whether it's John pursuing his music career or Elena figuring out how to express her feelings, "Born This Way" is an important and refreshing take on reality TV — probably because it actually feels realistic. And it's about time.
1 in 5 Americans have a disability, but you wouldn't know that from the little amount of representation in the media. And when it's there, it's often wrong.
"Born This Way" is working to get it right.
"I don't want the whole society to limit me because I have this," says cast member Megan, who is all sorts of amazing as a motivational speaker, college student, and manager of her own clothing company.
In the show, you also meet Steven, who considers himself the Matt Damon of the crew; Rachel, who works at an insurance company and is out to find love; and Cristina, who hopes to take the next step with her long-term boyfriend by moving in with him.
The show is not only entertaining audiences through a reality TV lens, but it's educating them, too.
Studies show that people with disabilities, including those with Down syndrome, can work successfully, live relatively independently, and be incredibly productive members of society.
With about 400,000 people in the United States living with Down syndrome, "Born This Way" is an intimate and supportive way to help bust some of the misconceptions many have about the syndrome.
Each cast member has their own persona with their own hobbies and obstacles they face during taping. Some focus on their jobs, some on romance, some on living more independently and working on their self-confidence. They are defined beyond their disability.
The show takes you through the good, the bad, and the just plain "whatever" moments. You know: the moments we all have.
"I'm here. I'm alive. I'm human. We have to stick together and be the person we are, because we're all humans," says cast member and music man John.
A show that's moving and helps us understand each other a little better? Yes, please.