The sudden passing of pop singer George Michael last night has taken the world by surprise. Those of us in the LGBTQ+ community were hit particularly hard by the news. We were shocked and saddened that another celebrity died this year (I mean, seriously, 2016?!), but I think we were also angry that one of the most defiant, dirty and sexy as fuck (c’mon we all jerked off to his leather Faith, right?) gay icons had left us.
I have been sitting here listening to his hits all morning, realizing what a crush I had on the guy before I realized I was queer. After playing Careless Whisper at least 10 times, I stumbled over Noah Michelson’s piece about him this morning. I was struck by just how perfectly Michelson discusses why George Michael should be remembered as a “filthy, gay fucker.” As I read this, I also started thinking about his public sex “scandals.” I remember hearing about them and being completely turned on. The whole idea of hooking up with someone in a bathroom isn’t anything new, but George Michael doing it in 1998, was the first time 14 year-old Andrew had ever heard of that happening, and ever since I have been completely enthralled with the prospect of public sex.
As the disabled, Queer Crippled fucker I am, the idea of public sex is intoxicating to say the least. It fits perfectly within the narrative of the “bad disabled guy having sex is taboo,” and I have always been one to push boundaries, so it speaks to me on a number of levels. The first time I tried it for myself, I was 19 years old. I had just moved away from home, and had agreed to meet this frat boy in a bathroom on campus at 3 a.m. I was so nervous, but I remember thinking about just how hot the experience would be.
People always tell stories about how when they are at some clubs or parties, they’ll take a sex partner into the disabled stall. You always hear them say something to the effect of, “the stall was so big, we had so much room. It was so hot.” The irony of this is that if a disabled person, with a mobility device like a wheelchair, were attempting to use that same stall for sex, they’d soon discover just how inaccessible it actually is. I remember cramming my chair into the stall, ready to do it with this really cute, closeted frat guy, and being unable to move at all. I mean, he could barely pull his pants down or straddle my chair so that I could give him head. Somehow he managed to get my pants down and just as we almost got started, smooshed up against one another (now that I think about it, it could’ve been super hot), he got spooked by my disability and left me, stuck in the supposedly accessible bathroom stall with my pants down and my dick out. I sat there alone for at least twenty minutes, praying that no one would come in and see the “poor disabled guy who tried to get some and failed.” The memory is hilarious to me now, because I had to call my best friend, who woke up at 3 a.m. and darted across campus. She found me there, half-naked and fully ashamed, with nothing more than blue balls to show for it. We fell over laughing and she rescued me without hesitation, having to squeeze my chair out of the space I was stuck in. As this was happening, I remember thinking, “Just how would we have done this?”
Stories like this get me thinking about accessibility from a whole other angle. Public sex isn’t really accessible to Queer Cripples at all. We can’t do it in stairwells, bathrooms (even the ones designed for us), elevators or parks with hidden trails and muddied terrain. It is a privilege to play in public. To feel the rush of almost getting caught, to have these few stolen moments together, and the story to go with it. I’d like to be able to have a story of my own. So, in honour of George Michael, anybody want to design a wheelchair accessible stall I can actually do it in?