Inspirational Porn Star Me

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Ever since humanity gained consciousness, we have always been fascinated by the unusual and strange. That also includes our fellow humans who might have something different about them.

A good example: circuses used to tour with their Freak Shows”/”Human Marvels” where you would have someone might be extraordinarily tall, a woman with a beard, someone with shortened limbs, Siamese twins and such.

The Freak Shows started as far back as the 16th Century. Most famously in the 17th Century, there were the brothers Lazarus and Joannes Colloredo who toured all over Europe.

Lazarus_and_Joannes_Baptista_Colloredo

Over time this became big business through people like B.T. Barnum in the mid 19th to the mid 20th Century in the US and the UK. This would not be acceptable today as it would be considered to be dehumanising and exploitative.

More recently, there has been a Broadway play called Side Show and I wonder how many people leave the play singing/murmuring the following lyrics?

Come look at the freaks

Come gape at the geeks

Come examine these aberrations

Their malformations

Grotesque physiques

Only pennies for peeks

Lyrics from Side Show by Henry Krieger and Bill Russell

In the recent years, I have noticed that there is a trend of what I call Inspirational Porn” videos where you might have a child or adult with a Disability who has done something that bucks the norm”. It got me thinking has the Freak Show” mentality come back or has it never really gone away?

Remember I mentioned B.T. Barnum? Well, Hollywood released a film called “The Greatest Showman” which celebrates him as the “white saviour” who preached a message of tolerance and acceptance but does neglect to mention the cruelty he showed to the disabled community. (For more info click here)

I saw a video recently of a young girl who’s cochlear implant was activated and the point of the video was to show her surprise of hearing a new sound. It got me thinking if that is amazing to see, why do we not marvel over non-Disabled kids doing the same? Such videos do not trend as well as Inspirational Porn” and sadly it shows humanity to be shallow. It undermines the quest” for equality as it raises awareness of someone’s Disability but not in the best light.

Here is a (badly kept) secret…

Did you know a Deaf person is writing this? That Deaf people can be articulate? SURPRISE!

Sorry that was wicked of me, but that is how I feel when someone comes to me and says you poor thing, it must be hard being Deaf.” or Bless you, you can speak! Praise the lord!”. Many people don’t see that such statements are condescending and often as harmless as they appear to be on the surface, they do make people feel less human than they deserve to be.

It’s moments like that which make me and probably thousands of Disabled/Deaf people feel like they are on this Earth to be ridiculed or put down. Many people don’t see the struggles that occur on a weekly if not daily basis and that such comments can have a knock-on effect.

Society has been sold a lie that Disability makes you exceptional. And honestly it doesn’t.

Stella Young

Over the years, I have been responding with “Oh it’s marvellous that you can hear”, “PRAISE THE LORD, you can understand me!” and such. The problem with such comments is that I end up doing what they do to me and more often than not the result is positive.


Here is a talk worth watching by Stella Young (1982-2014) – this video is subtitled, hover over it and click on the speech icon.

I am Dan, I am not here for your entertainment, I am here to live my life just as you are without being put down or being patronised. I can guarantee that many of my peers will feel the same about themselves.

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