Netflix's New Show 'Special' Started a Conversation & I Intend to Continue It

As a queer individual, I know the ups and downs of being a member of the LGBTQ+ community first-hand. I’ve read about them, I’ve heard my peers talk about them and I’ve experienced them. It’s not fun at all. But when it comes to queer people with disabilities, the conversation is minimal to non-existent. Maybe we choose to ignore it because it's a taboo or for other reasons. This is where Netflix new short-series Special comes in, creating a narrative that includes and represents—hopefully rightfully—them.

Special is a semi-autobiographical series written and started by Ryan O’Connell about a gay man with mild cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a congenital disorder of movement, muscle tone or posture, which affects the individually differently. In Ryan's case, it affects his movement. Special, in just eight short episodes, shows the story Ryan that follows.

Without spoiling the series, Special is bringing focus and shining a light onto a topic we have set aside as a society.

According to the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation, one in 323 American babies is diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Out of those 323, many identify as queer or as a member of the LGBTQ community. According to the Anti-Bully Alliance, more than 65% of disabled LGBT children and teens have gone through severe homophobic, biphobic or transphobic bullying, more so than non-disabled LGBT children and teens. How, in 2019—where we have become a more progressive society—is the percentage so high? How are we looking the other way when we should be providing support and strength to our extended siblings as queer people and as allies? The answer narrows down to ignorance

I'm not here to complain and point fingers, because I could have had been a better brother. Which is what I'm here to promote: I'm here to invite you— the person who's reading this—to look into LGBTQ+ individuals with disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, hear their stories and struggles, let them know you are here to support them and be there for them through the journey. Like I mentioned, being queer is hard already—I can't even start to imagine how hard and emotional it must be to grow through bullying from multi-roots. We can do better. 

"You don’t have to have cerebral palsy to relate to my story." - Ryan O’Connell

Next time you find yourself browsing through your Netflix quote, remember Special is available to stream on Netflix. It's a heck of a comedy show that also serves to educate our society on cerebral palsy and, how people with disabilities are among our society and function just like everyone else.

Images: Hero, 1