Stand-up comedy show aims to bust myths about sex and disability

Jul 20, 2016, 08:34 IST | Krutika Behrawala

This Sunday, a stand-up comedy showcase, accessible to the wheelchair bound too, aims to dispel the misconceptions about sex and disability

The Tumblr page of Robyn Lambird, a popular Perth-based spoken word artist is titled 'My T-Rex Life'. Born with Cerebral Palsy, the 19-year-old, who "walks like a T-Rex" has posted a number of videos where she busts myths on the movement disorder that she was born with, and talks about different aspects of her life — her love for wheelchair rugby, street art and androgynous fashion. She has also posted a video about dating, relationships and disability.

Robyn Lambird
Robyn Lambird

"People often wonder when should they disclose their disability in a relationship. For me, that's never been a problem because a) when I walk, I have a limp and b) when I am not walking, I am on a wheelchair," says the teen matter-of-factly. This Sunday, a short, humorous film recorded by Lambird will be screened to an audience of 200 as part of a stand-up comedy showcase, Sex And Sexability, in Bandra.


Nidhi Goyal

Why sex and disability?
Organised by Rachana Iyer and Rohan Sabharwal of the city-based social enterprise, Crayon Impact, the event, backed by We Care Film Festival, aims to dispel stigma related to sexuality and disability through humour. "We've come across some phenomenal events and videos online of persons with disability using humour as a tool to help people understand the challenges they face on a daily basis. For instance, if you look at the work of Maysoon Zayid (Palestinian-American actress-comedian) or Josh Blue (American comedian), you will realise that it's not just the disability they talk about but also what surrounds it, whether it is attitudes, cultural perceptions or race." says Iyer, who faced several challenges to organise the event. "From venues not taking us seriously to people saying, 'This event gives us the impression that disabled people want to have sex', it was a two-month struggle but it's nothing in comparison to the ones that persons with disability go through in their daily lives," she adds.

Neenu Kewlani
Neenu Kewlani 

Who's performing?
The gig will feature five stand-up comics — 30-year-old visually impaired activist Nidhi Goyal, who is the co-author of a pioneering online initiative, www.sexualityanddisability.org, Polio-afflicted disability rights activist Neenu Kewlani and film actor and comedian Gavin 'Chubby' Methalaka — along with Sabharwal and Lambird. "Gavin and Neenu are professional improvisers. Gavin even travelled with us to Baroda to research his set with the help of Birju Patel, one of the subjects of our documentary on disability and sexuality. Meanwhile, Rohan has been battling depression, mood and personality disorders for almost two decades now. Most recently, he was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder after having spent two months at a mental facility. He's performing comedy on stage for the first time," informs Iyer. Goyal, whose set will include material from her solo showcase, Can You See Me Now?, which she has previously performed in Kolkata, Nepal and Geneva, says, "This isn't a typical stand-up comedy set with punchlines every 10 seconds but includes more issue-based, humorous stories and anecdotes."

Aditi Mittal will host the event
Aditi Mittal will host the event

To be held at a wheel-chair accessible venue, the proceeds from the event will be used for Crayon Impact's campaign featuring a series of short films and comic strips that explore disability and sexuality in a non-patronising way.

Rohan Sabharwal
Rohan Sabharwal

Ace stand-up comic and the event host Aditi Mittal shares, "The fact that the event is being hosted in a 100 per cent wheelchair accessible venue and is inclusive to persons with disabilities excites me.


Gavin 'Chubby' Methalaka

I hope somebody from the events space picks this up and takes it forward because we need to see a day where every event is accessible to people with disabilities."

ON July 24, 7 pm to 9 pm 
AT Daughters of St.Paul, Waterfield Road, Bandra (W). 
LOG ON TO www.insider.in 
COST Rs 200

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