If you’re gay and disabled, you may have noticed that there aren’t many ‘queer cripples’ in the public eye to identify with. Andrew Morrison-Gurza, wants to change that – he wants to become his own role model, showing how to be sexy, gay and disabled, and he wants you to do the same.
I remember when I came out of the closet and identified myself as queer. I had spent the week prior to that watching those ‘coming of age’ teen films, where one of the characters is LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer), and they fall head over heels in love with the super popular sports star, who of course turn out to be LGBTQ too.
As a result of this, I honestly expected to come out and have every good-looking athlete banging down my door. Much to my dismay, my Meg Ryan romantic comedy moment never came to pass. I am still waiting. Le sigh.
After coming out, I scoured every bookstore, library and Internet resource available to try and find a representation of myself that I could easily connect and identify with. As I flipped the pages, and secretly watched episodes of Queer as Folk, what I realised very quickly was that my story was nowhere to be found. The sexy, confident, funny guy in the wheelchair simply did not exist in queer culture.
As I began wanting to access my sexuality in practical terms, I realised that this community, who are supposed to embrace everyone who was different, was unable to embrace me. There is no category for the ‘queer cripple’.
So, while I am always on the lookout for that version of myself in queer culture, I also realised that I am a role model for that young gay person who is sitting in their wheelchair or mobility device and thinking: “Where am I? What about me?”
I want to offer you some advice from ‘crip to crip’ if you will, to let you know that you are not alone, and that being a queer crip is an amazing gift that no one else has to offer (it is important to note that I often still have to follow these pieces of advice, and I am no expert whatsoever).
This has been a tough one for even me to grasp. It’s so easy to think; “I am disabled. I will never compete with that hot guy in the club.” I have had moments where all I wanted to do was jump out of my chair and ravage the hot guy in the club with reckless abandon.
I have had to accept the fact that this is usually not possible. That said, my disability is a treasure trove of different things that I can introduce a partner to that someone else might not be able to offer. You may never have six-pack abs or front access to the sex clubs, but you have a wheelchair and a big penis. I doubt they can top that.
Queerying your crippled: questions, questions, questions
If you are just coming out and trying to navigate the brightly coloured waters of queerness, you will most likely be met with a barrage of questions having to do with your abilities in the boudoir.
In my experience, just as I am about to flirt with the really cute guy at the bar, he will usually ask: “So, can you feel that?” or “If you wanted to have sex, how would you do it?” Trust me, when you are trying to be sexy, these questions are anything but.
Half the time, I want to say something like; “Shut up, come here and let me show you” (sometimes, I have said just that). These questions are important though, because they give you the opportunity to dispel the mythology of disability and sexuality that so many people have.
In this instance, you are most likely the first cripple that they have ever bedded, so you have the upper hand. You can give them the tools (insert phallic pun here) to understand you, your body and your sex appeal that much better.
Having absolutely no one to emulate in the queer community was initially troubling. I wanted so much to have someone that understood my troubles with dating, dudes and ‘doing it’. What I have come to embrace (or at least, what I am working on embracing) is the fact that without a hard, fast example, I can make this up as I go. There is no one telling me how to be, act or conform as a queer man, and that is really refreshing to know – I cannot be boxed in, simply because they have no box for me. My cripple is my canvas and I will paint with whatever colors I choose.
For all of you crips sitting at home, nudging the closet door open with your wheelchairs, fearing that the road will be full of bumps, bruises and no boys (or girls), I hope these tips have acted like a ramp to help the transition into your queerness that much smoother.
Thank you so much for reading. To find out more about the work I do as a Disability Awareness Consultant, and how I can make disability accessible to you, please head over to www.andrewmorrisongurza.com.
By Andrew Morrison-Gurza