"I love that it's curved. I love that my body's scarred. I love that it's seated in a chair, that my hands are spastic and that it puts me in a unique position to share my experience. It's one of a kind."
I use the term “deliciously disabled” to describe myself. That’s a term of empowerment.
I have a disability. I’ve had cerebral palsy since birth. It’s something I’ve had to come to terms with. It’s not a degenerative illness. It’s not something I’m concerned about more than anyone else would be concerned about their health.
I have attendants on hand as I need them they work on call in my building. But I am very independent otherwise.
When people discuss sexuality and the body, they tend not to see the disabled body as something that is viable or sexy or important in that way. I want to turn that on its head so we can think of disability as something we can embrace and talk about in fun and sexy kinds of ways.
Disabilities are going to happen to all of us at some point in our lives. We need to talk about what disability is and what the realities are in a way that we can all be part of the conversation.
As a queer man, I’m aware that we have a homo-normative ideal: you’re supposed to have a six-pack, be good-looking and active. Someone like me sitting in a chair cannot fit that ideal. I can’t go to the gym and work off my disability. I’m never gonna have a six-pack. I’m never gonna be able to run circles around the good-looking guy at the gym. But I do think I have sexual value. We have to deconstruct these ideals and reconstruct them so everyone can be celebrated.
As a consultant, I’m asked to discuss my lived experiences, often with physiotherapists and occupational therapists. I ask them what they think they know about disabilities, then blow that out of the water.
I also go to universities and queer orgs to talk about what it means to be a queer person with a disability. In the queer community, there’s no representation for people with disabilities. I want to show that we exist, that we’re here and we’re queer, too.
Rather than blaming my community for being exclusive, I want to bring people into the conversation and introduce them to people with disabilities in a positive way.
I love my body. I love that it’s different. I love that it represents something most people have never experienced. I love that it’s curved. I love that it’s scarred. I love that it’s seated in a chair, that my hands are spastic and that it puts me in a unique position to share my experience in the world.
It’s one of a kind.