Picture This : “Why I agreed to make a film about sex and disability”
Whenever I watch films about the disabled experience, I often find myself becoming angry, annoyed or uncomfortable with the way disability has been treated by the filmmaker.
In almost each and every instance of disability on-screen, the disabled character is framed by two very specific lenses: tragic and pitiable, constantly bemoaning their own existence; or overtly heroic, overcoming their challenges to reach a sense of humanity that shines above us all.
Ugh. I never thought I’d get the chance to change these tropes—until I was approached about Picture This.
When the director, Jari Osborne, sat me down for lunch one day to discuss the possibility of chronicling my work around sexuality and disability in a documentary film, I was definitely interested. She explained that she was learning about the disability experience and she wanted to understand how sexuality intersected with it.
So, I agreed, and we made our film about sex and disability…
Why should you watch this film, you ask? You should watch this film if you’ve ever caught yourself thinking, “How do disabled people have sex?” Not only will this question be answered (and then some), but you’ll be invited into my world as a queer, disabled man who proudly and unabashedly has sex (gasp!) and likes it (bigger gasp!).
While that is what the film is about on the surface, underneath all of that, Picture This is about a disabled man searching for a community that will see him as he sees himself: a funny, nerdy, self-proclaimed “queer cripple” with an infectious smile that lights up every room he enters.
Throughout the film, you’ll see me go through the ups and downs of building a brand around sex and disability while also looking for love, sex and everything in between.
Picture This offers a deeper, more nuanced look at the experience of disability than you may have seen before on film. Here, the subject of disability is not just a plot point or a tired cliché, but rather it is the anchor of this piece—it’s where all the humour, heart and honesty lie.
What I love about this film (and what I hope you’ll love too) is that the story is not tied up in a bow at the end. The narrative of this film allows for a new trope to emerge: a character who is proud to be disabled (biggest gasp!).