Okay, so I was going to write a piece on all the things that I wish I knew, or had told myself as a young queer person. I was going to write about all the knowledge that I had gained over time, and all the silly, irrational things that we do in our youth when we are trying to find ourselves – and our communities – as young queer men.
As I was sitting down to write this piece, I realized that I couldn’t honestly try to impart that kind of knowledge on to you, reading this here and now, because in many ways I am still that young, naïve, lovable teenager who is searching for himself.
As a Queer man with Disabilities (or Deliciously Disabled as I refer to it), I am only just starting to have those coming of age moments that many queer people experience in their youth. Because Queer men with Disabilities are virtually non-existent within LGBTQ+ culture, only now am I really learning what it means to be Queer and Crippled, and I’ll share with you some of what I am discovering.
I have learned that queer men are scared of disability. I don’t just mean in the Oh my God you’re in a chair kind of way (although that does happen too, more often than not), but they are scared because in part, while they are intrigued by how different disability is, and while they want to engage with it, they have all these social pressures reminding them that I do not fit their homo-normative ideals. Engaging with me will mean stripping all those ideals to their cores, and learning about something outside of quick sex without substance. I am learning that they are scared of me and my disabled body because I can offer them something real, honest and raw.
I am learning that I am still scared to be a Queer Cripple in our communities. I am scared of the ever-present fear that you will uncover just how disabled I really am, how much help I really need. I am scared that I will be that guy who never dates; I will be the guy who loves everyone, but is never loved in return. I am scared that I will never be enough. As scared as I am sometimes to be the only Queer Cripple in the room, I am learning that there is a power in that, which no one else has. I am learning that I have
capital as a Queer Cripple.
So, as I continue on this unmapped journey of queerness, maleness and masculinity without much guidance, I am learning that I must create space for myself. I can’t wait for the community to see me or accept my disability. The only thing I can do, is show you all that I can offer; show you that my identity as a queer man with disabilities is important, is worth a second, third or even fourth glance and hope you’ll see me. I am learning that I want you to see all of it: the chair, the care, the cripple.
I am learning that I don’t want to come out to you as a Queer Crippled man. I want to show you all my crip comforts and invite you into my world, where you may soon realize that you want to stay awhile.
Andrew Morrison-Gurza is the Founder/Co-Director of Deliciously Disabled Consulting, where he strives to make disability accessible to everyone within pop culture and intersectional communities. His written work has been highlighted in Out Magazine, The Advocate, Huffington Post and The Good Men Project, where he candidly discusses the realities of sex and disability as a Queer Cripple. You can follow him on twitter: @deliciouslydrew