Yes we are all special! Today’s release of Netflix’s new series Special is earning widespread praise for its authentic depiction of gay disabled life. People who are LGBTQ+ and people with disabilities has been severely underrepresented in the media and the fact that the show’s creator, Ryan O’Connell, is a gay man with cerebral palsy is a reason to celebrate.
“Shows like Special are, pardon the pun, special. But they shouldn’t be. It shouldn’t be so unusual to see someone with a disability who is also gay on screen, because there are plenty of people with disabilities in the LGBTQ+ community,” said Eric Ascher, RespectAbility’s Communications Associate who is both openly gay and on the autism spectrum.
More Than One-Third of LGBTQ+ Adults Have a Disability Among lesbian, gay and bisexual adults, 30 percent of men and 36 percent of women also identify as having a disability. Ryan O’Connell joins the ranks of other celebrities and business leaders who are using their voice to share their stories, educating people about both visible and invisible disabilities. Notable examples include CNN anchor Anderson Cooper who is dyslexic, actor Josh Feldman who is deaf, comedian Stephen Fry who has bipolar disorder, artist Frida Kahlo who had polio and spinal and pelvis damage, Eddie Ndopu who has Spinal Muscular Atrophy, YouTuber Tyler Oakley who has depression, model Aaron Philip who is a wheelchair user with cerebral palsy, writer Leah Piepzna-Samarasinha who is chronically ill and journalist Melissa Yingst who is deaf.