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. [twitter: @deliciouslydrew]
Discovering My Own Deliciousness:
The Beginning of Deliciously Disabled & What That Means to Me
Ever since I can remember I have been in search of something. You know that feeling when you are looking for something and just can’t find it? The brief sense of panic that you may never, ever find it only drives you to keep looking. You search and search, rummaging through everywhere until you either find it, or resign yourself to the fact that you won’t, and move on to something new. Those feelings have stayed with me from the time I was a little boy, and have shaped me as I have grown into a man with disabilities.
I was always looking for a different version of myself. While I was never bothered by my Cerebral Palsy or concerned about my life as a wheelchair user, I felt that it was critically important that I fit in. In that way, I wanted people to include me—I needed to feel like I was part of a community.
As I got older this nagging feeling and this burning desire for community continued to grow. When I came out as gay at the age of 15, I had all the typical fears and concerns that most teenagers do, but most of all I was excited because the community and connection that I was craving would finally come to me, and I was ready to welcome them with open arms. I was ready to be embraced by my new queer family.
When I started going to queer clubs, the excitement I had around my chosen family quickly faded away. I would watch people nervously back away from me, unsure of what to make of the situation. I like to convince myself that this was because they simply couldn’t handle the fact that the sexiest guy they had ever seen was in a wheelchair, but I knew that it was because they were uncomfortable. Still, I immersed myself in the culture, determined to fit in and continuously discouraged when I didn’t. The hum of the hunt for whom I wanted to be stayed with me, and the urge to find myself only grew deeper and deeper.
Then one day last year, I got an e-mail from a friend of mine letting me know about a local photo shoot. I have never been camera shy, and so I e-mailed them to inquire if they had anybody living with disabilities being represented. They hadn’t, and they asked me whether I would want to come down for an interview. I jumped at this opportunity, and during our interview they asked me how I wanted to be described. Jokingly I said, “Call me Deliciously Disabled.”
All of a sudden, something clicked. The identity that I sought fell into place. Finally I had found my purpose, my calling. I could stop waiting for someone else to categorize my experience, and I could create my very own label that didn’t have to conform itself
around my crippled, but rather fit like a glove. Through Deliciously Disabled, my reality as a man with disabilities finally made sense to me.
Very quickly I started using Deliciously Disabled to champion a discussion around sex and disability. I wanted a platform to talk about the issues I was facing as a queer man with disabilities, while also opening doors for the next generation of people with disabilities. As my brand and name started to grow and become recognizable, an opportunity came about that blew the doors of Deliciously Disabled wide open: I helped create an execute the first sex party for and by People with Disabilities.
I have never been more excited to be sexy and seated as a man with disabilities—to create a space where everyone could come together (pun most definitely intended) and finally put sex and disability in the same room (or bed). The reactions that I received from the guests were overwhelming to me, because you could see just how much the crippled community needed this – they needed to be seen as sensual, and I have never been more proud to be a part of that.
So, in essence then, Deliciously Disabled has changed my life. I have learned that my disability, and the realities that surround that, is in fact the most delectable and important part of myself. I have uncovered that it also has the potential to bring people together, and give them the chance to consider disability in a whole new light. Lastly, and most importantly for myself, that gnawing feeling of searching for something has subsided, as I have discovered that my deliciousness was with me all along.