Monday 2 March 2015

Deliciously Disabled: A new way to Discuss Disability!

Deliciously Disabled
(photo credit via HZD Photography 2015)

Hi!  My name is Andrew Morrison-Gurza.   I am a Disability Awareness Consultant, a wheelchair user, and the sexiest Person with a Disability you will ever meet.     I also started the Deliciously Disabled movement for Persons with Disabilities.   What is Deliciously Disabled you ask?  In order to answer that question, we have to go back to the beginning of how I got started in my work as a Disability Awareness Consultant.

I spent ten years studying the law and critically analyzing the legal system and its relationship to Persons with Disabilities.   What I very quickly came to discover is that in all the legality that I was studying, pouring over policies which continually highlighted how the law failed to address or assist Persons with Disabilities, no ever talked about the emotional impacts that might have on the Person with a Disability.  Was anyone checking in on how disability FEELS?   Where was that discussion, and why weren't we having it?

At the same time, I was trying to navigate my life as a sexual Person with a Disability.  Not surprisingly, there were a lack of resources for Persons with Disabilities in terms of sex.  For me, as a Queer man with a Disability, there was almost nothing available to me.   I got really tired of not seeing myself represented in my community at all, and I wanted to change that.

It has always been my goal to "make disability accessible to everyone" whether they had a disability or not.   Everyone deserves a seat at the table on disability, because disability will affect all of us.  Whether you yourself are disabled or you fall head over heels for that cutie on wheels -- it will eventually become a part of the conversation.  

When I started doing the work as a Disability Awareness Consultant and openly talking about sex and disability in the LGBTQ+ communities and others, I noticed that we had no language that positively describe disability.   Whenever we talked about it (if we were lucky enough to see "sex" and "disability" in the same paragraph), it underscored only the impossibilities or the risks, but never the rewards and the positives.

Enter #DeliciouslyDisabled.   In December 2014, I was asked to be part of a magazine spread on Loving Your Body to be released in the New Year. They asked me to describe myself.  I blurted out, "I am Deliciously Disabled."  From that moment on, I knew I had something special that I could build on.   I could actually give PwD (People with Disabilities) a different representation of sexuality that celebrated them as they were, embracing their disabilities for all that they are, not what they could/should or can't be.   #DeliciouslyDisabled shows disability for all that it IS.    

This new language could also be made accessible to people who do not identify as PwD, so that they can begin to embrace all that is Deliciously Disabled as well.

Each week on Wednesday, we will highlight concepts, stories and ideas about how Disability is delicious to us all.  Whether it be sex or sexuality, dating, dudes or dress codes we will taste each flavour of disability together.    So, join the conversation as a Deliciously Disabled individual or a Deliciously Disabled ally, and let's give everyone a seat at the table.

Disability is not a choice, #DeliciouslyDisabled is!


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