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Ryan O'Connell Is Horny for Representation

Ryan O'Connell

Writer and actor Ryan O'Connell is never afraid to speak his mind. He's developed a reputation for saying exactly what he thinks (or feels) and doesn't hold back on the expletives. Thankfully, he brought that same energy to a recent interview about representation for actors who are disabled.

“I think about this a lot,” he told T Magazine. “Why, in this woke-ass culture that we live in, where so much attention is given to marginalized populations, do people with disabilities still largely go ignored?”

The feature, which chronicles representation for actors with disabilities and their stories, covers both stage and screen. It delves not only into the lack of representation but the lack of nuanced understanding about the spectrum of abilities.  The feature also shows examples of how the industry as a whole must change to support this growing diversity. Case in point: on a set for season two of O'Connell's Emmy-nominated Netflix show Special, actors realized that the hair and makeup trailers were not wheelchair-accessible. Small details like that necessitate that folks are not only cast but are involved in the decision-making process. It makes O'Connell "horny for representation that comes from actual disabled people, because we live in a dark hellscape of a capitalist country. Real power can only be accrued through opportunities, and you need to be given the keys to tell your own story.”

Slowly, this is happening. In addition to O'Connell's work with Special (which has paused production of its sex-laden second season in the wake of the ongoing global pandemic) others like Nyle DiMarco are also stepping behind the camera. He's currently preparing for the premiere of his Netflix docuseries Deaf U and has also sold a comedy based on his own life story, to Spectrum.

The hope is that these projects, and others like them, will help create a landscape of more authentic potrayals for the community moving forward while also creating sapces that are more equitable for those who work within them.

RELATED | Netflix's Special Season 2 Will Have 'A Lot More Gay Sex'

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