Andrew Gurza and Stella Palikarova may be in wheelchairs, but they refuse to be confined. The brains behind Deliciously Disabled, a company designed to breakdown the traditional stereotypes of disability in pop culture, the pair gained international attention when they decided to throw the world’s first sex-positive party for people with disabilities. Though their intent was to promote that a person can have a disability and be sexual at the same time, their event took on a sensational life of its own when the media dubbed it a disabled “orgy.” Using Gurza and Palikarova’s activism as a jumping off point, director Jari Osborne presents a thought-provoking exploration into the misconceptions and realities of having a disability and being sexually active.
Much of Osborne’s documentary short, Picture This, focuses on Gurza, a self-described “Queer cripple”, who is tirelessly working to change the perception in gay media that a sexually desirable male must be white, buff and abled-bodied. The issue is bigger than the media though. It is a systemic one that spreads across society. Gurza and Palikarova, like many other individuals with disabilities, must constantly deal with the societal bias that naturally assumes they must be asexual. As the pair lament about potential partners who only saw the wheelchair rather than the person in it, and reflect on the struggles that having to rely on a Personal Support Worker to do simple things most take for granted, the importance of a film like this is even more evident.
Picture This successfully ignites the type of sex-positive discussion that should be occurring far more often. Osborne’s film shows that we, as a society, need to view these individuals as the sexual human beings they are, and not by the disabilities they live with.
Screens (as part of the People of Interest shorts program):
Tuesday, May 30, 5:00 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox
Tickets can be purchased at the Inside Out website.