“I’m 30 years old and I’ve never had a date.
“Before seeing this film I didn’t realize that being in a romantic relationship was a possibility for me, but now I know that I could someday,” Loree Erickson recalls one woman’s reaction to her short film, Want.
Erickson, herself in her 30s, says that one of her biggest insecurities, fears and worries is being undesirable.
“I started making films out of frustration,” Erickson says. “I hoped that the film would crumble the culture of undesirability that says people with disabilities are not sexy, hot or desirable.”
Want outlines Erickson’s sexual story as a queer woman with a disability. Through her film, she tells the viewer how she wants to be seen: as sexy, sexual and desirable.
“I wanted to give something to the ‘Crip’ [crippled] community that speaks to our desires and feelings,” Erickson says. “It was also an exercise in exploring my desirability and seeing [me] as desirable.”
After seeing the movie, Rainbow Samantha Hunt approached Erickson and told her she loved the film.
“I felt so connected,” Hunt says. “Many people with disabilities are looked at as not able to have sex, but you can have sex in many different ways.
“There’s nothing stopping you and educating people about [how] sexuality is important to fight the stigma and discrimination that happens; that’s happened to me.”
But people with disabilities are not the only ones who are sexually invisible, says Margaret Hicks, couples and sex therapist at Hicks Counselling Services in Toronto.
“People become invisible sexually when they age too. If you aren’t in what we determine is a vibrant sexual age, which is in your 20s or 30s, then you are pretty invisible,” Hicks says.
She says society needs to expand its view of who is sexually attractive.
“A lot of my work interrogates our culture and what we view as desirable and what we view as hot and how we consciously and subconsciously exclude people on a regular, daily basis,” Erickson says.
Erickson is working on a PhD from York University in environmental studies. Her next project will be a film enabling other people with disabilities to make similar scenes to those in Want so that they too can tell their sexual stories.
“My experience doesn’t speak to everyone’s experience and I want to make it so there are more voices out there [talking] about what it means [to be] and who we are as queer crips,” Erickson says.