Over the past few weeks, I have been invited to a few sexy dance parties in the queer community. My Facebook has been blowing up with invites to underwear parties, back room boogies and tasty two steps. Each time I receive these invites, my heart swells at the thought of them. I get a huge, shit-eating grin on my face at the thought of even being in the presence of these beautiful men. Just as quickly as the pitter patter of possibility pulls my strings, and I am whisked away to my fantasy (which may involve a lot of mood lighting, beards and leather, by the way), I am abruptly halted and handicapped by my reality: Many of these spaces are inaccessible to the deliciously disabled, and that is problematic.
I want to explore what it feels like not to be able to directly access these spaces as a person with a disability. How does it feel on an emotional level? I also want to examine what it would mean if these spaces considered accessibility, and what exactly that would mean for the community as a whole.
Lack of access for persons with disabilities is a constant fight. This is nothing new to any of us, nor is it something that we will ever stop advocating for. There have been many moments where I have had to decline a dance party because the venue can't hold all my amazingness. I just tell myself that they're not ready for all my jelly and move on. But then I go home and imagine all that I might be missing. I turn on the music, attempting to drown it out by dancing. No luck. The thoughts linger, hang and gnaw at me. If I am being honest, I am mourning the maleness, accessing my masculinity, and the memories I wanted to make.
The deeper issue for me lies in the fact, that by not having access to these spaces, I am denied the opportunity to safely show off my sexuality. I am denied the chance to be anonymous. I am denied the possibility of the prowl, the chase and rolling up in my chair to go in for the kill. I don't get to look in your eyes with a half smile and wheel away, waiting for you to follow me to the back room. A lack of access leaves embers of lust, a desire that is never quite satiated. These are the outlets where sex and sexuality is free and fun. For me, it is all forbidden. Stairways that lead to smoke-filled rooms are just reminders that I am removed.
When I think of accessible sex spaces and why they are critically important, I think of the young queer cripple who lives at home with their parents, and who can't get out to be who they are. Having accessible space to engage in sexuality would mean that if I chose to, I wouldn't have to host you; if I don't feel like explaining every piece of my Palsy to you, I don't have to. It would mean that I don't have to attach a false sense of permanence to our play; there would be no misinterpretations to be had.
Considering accessibility in these spaces would strengthen the bond within the queer community. Providing access to these sexual sanctuaries would show the community all it is that they are missing. Disability and difference would soon be in demand. Instead of racing up the stairs holding hands on your way to the back room with that beautiful boy, you could have your hands on the back of my chair, watching each revolution of my wheels up the ramp, reveling in what might come.
Accessibility in these spaces would remind me that the community considers disability a dish not to merely to be tasted, but to be devoured. Opening the door to disability in sexual spaces allows for everyone to bask in the warm, red glow of desire (for some reason, I assume that all sexy spaces are lit in this way). Failing to do so leaves the cute cripple crankily craving, but most unfortunately, it leaves the queer community out in the cold on all that could be when it comes to disability.
This piece originally appeared on the blog A Dose of Deliciously Disabled.