Sex and disability used to be strange bedfellows, but no more. After decades of declaring that cultural stereotyping is responsible for the misconception that disabled people are mostly asexual, maybe it’s time we changed our tune. Two television series, Push Girls, and now the remade Ironside, have been hawking sexuality like peanuts at Yankee Stadium.
With apologies to Jeff Shannon, who will explore the demise of the new Ironside in an upcoming New Mobility issue, this is my mini-take on the sex and disability media revolution — with Ironside anchoring both ends of a 45-year timespan.
Raymond Burr as the original Ironside was anything but alluring. His game was mental, his electric wheelchair nothing more than a standard 1970s manual chair with a toggle switch and a battery — which he somehow needed as a low para. He moved awkwardly on institutional tires, a stiff in a suit when he rolled, more at ease being pushed. His character was a construct of low societal expectations and ignorance of spinal cord injury rather than the work of a knowledgeabl