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How Ryan O'Connell's Show Is Fighting Back Against Stigma

How Ryan O'Connell's Show Is Fighting Back Against Stigma

How Ryan O'Connell's Show Is Fighting Back Against Stigma

The writer and creator of Netflix's Special is a part of this year's #PRIDE25!


The way the LGBTQ+ community has been portrayed in popular culture has come a long, long way in recent years. Although there's still a lot of work to be done, so many creative queer folks have been making awesome and inclusive movies, music, TV shows, and more that better represents our lives and our stories, so in honor of Pride Month, we're taking the time to honor 25 of these inspiring people! This is the 2019 #PRIDE25!

Since its premiere earlier this year, writer and actor Ryan O'Connell's Netflix series Special has been a groundbreaking force in the effort to increase visibility for queer people with disabilities and to destigmatize queer sex and sex work.

"I feel like the TV show I made was pretty conventional; there's an A story, there's a B story," he told PRIDE in an April interview. "But the things I'm talking about, the package that it's coming in, it's unconventional. Quite frankly, it's embarrassing that it's groundbreaking for 2019. It should have been normalized a long time ago. But better late than never, honey!"

Why is queer representation, especially in media and in the arts, important to you?

Um, have you met a gay person? They are the most interesting people on the planet and have such incredible stories that need to be shared ASAP. Also, everyone knows this, snooze, BUT representation = normalization. The more queer stories on TV = the more eyeballs being exposed to our experiences and being like, "Oh, okay, chic, love them."

In the industry you currently work in, did you have any queer role models you could look up to? If yes, who? If not, did you wish you had one?
Jim Parsons because he’s a gen loller with power, which he always uses for good. RuPaul. John Waters. Cole Escola. John Early who could’ve sold out and been Supportive Sassy Gay Friend on a multi-cam but instead chooses to make work that is consistently interesting and thoughtful.

What’s it like knowing a young LGBTQ person could look at your work and have you be their role model?

What advice do you have for young, queer creatives who want to break into the entertainment industry?

Don’t worry about catering to the industry and trying to give them what they say they want. Spoiler: they don’t know what the fuck they want. It’s your job to tell them.

Many, many years from now, what do you want the legacy of your work to be? And what do you hope to be remembered by?
"Ryan O’Connell did a good job pouring the sugar over the vegetables. I was lolling so hard I forgot that I was actually learning something. THAT SNEAKY BITCH."

Catch Ryan O'Connell's Special on Netflix!

And check out more of the 2019 #PRIDE25 honorees here!

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