Okay so. I am going to start this post off with two facts.
- I am gay.
- I am disabled.
What do these two things have to do with one another? Nothing — on the surface, anyway. But, these elements certainly make for some interesting experiences.
Believe it or not, I have never really struggled with accepting the fact that I have a disability, or the fact that I’m gay. Both of these things have always been a part of my life, and I’ve just kind of gone with it. (Although I didn’t come out until I was 21.)
To be honest, sometimes I regret not coming out sooner. Before coming out, I literally had zero friends… zero social experiences. Nothing. I don’t know if coming out is what gave me the confidence to finally start approaching people and being myself, or if I was able to come out because I was coming into my own anyway.
Whatever the case, I am glad I had the courage to come out. I am now able to wake up and be myself everyday, and that is truly a gift. I have been able to shape a life for myself. I have hopes, dreams and goals. And day by day, I’m working to become someone that I am proud of.
At the same time though, coming out ushered me into a whole other world. A very harsh, judgmental, superficial, self-absorbed world; with ridiculously high standards… for everything. (I’m guilty of this, too, if I’m being completely honest.)
Sometimes I feel extremely out of place.
I am realistic about the fact that there are many things about my physical appearance that are out of my control. My body is awkward. There’s no getting around it, it just is. That being said, I try to take care of myself; I eat healthily, I use expensive skincare products, and I try and look presentable when I leave my house. But in a world where even the most beautiful men are scrutinized, I always feel like I fall short. — I’m working on it. — One day, I hope to be able to look in a mirror and like everything I see, instead of liking myself from the eyebrows up. (That’s the line I give people, but it’s kind of true.)
It’s interesting though; as judgmental as the gay world is, I am fortunate to be surrounded by wonderful people, gay and straight, who I feel genuinely except me… and see beauty in the things that I see as flaws.
There’s one thing I still struggle with though. No matter how hard I try to tell myself it will happen; I have a hard time believing anyone would ever see me as relationship material. Sure, I would like to think that someone, someday will see the potential I possess as a person, but, the fact is, society has a stigma that people in wheelchairs have no sex drive, or sexual interest. That’s wrong. Trust me. (Josh Galazzi agrees.)
But, let’s be honest; with the exception of some kinky fetishes that exist in the world, no one ever really imagines themselves having sex with someone who is in a wheelchair.
To this day, when I think back to the guys I’ve had sex with, I wonder how awkward it was for them. I can’t see it not being awkward. Of course, unless you've given into the temptations of Grindr (or the martinis,) there is the emotional element of sex, and I would like to think that someone would be able to work through the awkwardness.
Bottom line: Sometimes I feel overlooked. Sometimes I feel isolated. Sometimes I don’t feel good enough… or pretty enough. Is it because I’m gay? Is it because I’m disabled? Or is it because I am just a 24 year old who is trying to navigate this thing called life like everyone else in the world?
I don’t really know, but here’s to figuring it out.