I can’t live up to the high physical demands of the gay community

“I’m not dating anyone and I’m sure part of the reason is the birth defects visible on my left arm and hand, and I don’t think I’m so attractive in the face anyway. I haven’t been out for long and all my friends are straight. I feel I can’t live up to the high physical ideals demanded of me by the gay community. Please tell me everyones not so shallow.”

anonymous, Cardiff

Andrew’s advice…

It is true that the LGBTQ community, particularly MSM, place a lot of value on our physical bodies. When one is physically disabled and queer, you can certainly feel unequal to your queer peer group. I know that having a physical disability and being a wheelchair user myself, my body CANNOT conform to our homo-normative ideals. This is where you have to learn to market your disability.

What is it about you that you think is attractive? What about your disability makes you unique? How can you turn that around to be a positive thing? When you go into gay spaces, you have to project an air of confidence simply because most gay men have little to no exposure with respect to someone with a disability. They are probably unsure of how to approach you. This means that you are the expert – you can teach them how your disability is just another part of who you are, but it is one of the most awesome and sexy parts.

Most importantly, you have to start realising that your disability makes you attractive. It gives you the upper hand, and a view on the world and gay life, that other people don’t have. This is an amazing quality. Your physical differences will never match the gay ideals that we have ascribed to in gay culture, but you can break the mould by offering a different perspective.

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