Name: Andrew Gurza
Who he is: Queer disability activist
What he’s accomplished: A longtime champion of disability rights, Gurza is the creator of #DisabledPeopleAreHot, a viral hashtag that took the Twittersphere by storm beginning in February 2019.
In creating the hashtag, Gurza (who is queer and has Cerebral Palsy) said he wanted to give people with disabilities a space to feel sexy, including himself. “I know I am hot AF,” he told Queerty, back when the hashtag was at its most popular. “I want to be sexualized and consumed as a sex object, and that is what this hashtag is trying to do.”
Turns out, the hashtag resonated.
Nearly a month after its creation, #DisabledPeopleAreHot was tweeted more than 3 million times, but it wasn’t just everyday users who took notice. Gurza, along with his hashtag, was featured in publications across the globe, from HuffPost in the U.S. to the Daily Mail in the UK.
Why we are proud: More than a one hashtag wonder, Gurza is the kind of unapologetic, outspoken disabled advocate you want in your corner. When he’s not reminding folks that #DisabledPeopleAreHot, Gurza can be found calling out ableism and bigotry.
For instance, he recently shared a screenshot of someone asking him on Grindr, “Are you able to have sex? I am curious?” (Note to the world: As a disabled person writing this article, please never ask this. We will tell you what we can and cannot do.) Other times, Gurza uses his platform to elevate other disabled voices or celebrate positive representation in the media, a la Ryan O’Connell’s Special.
Moreover, Gurza worked with the makers of the dating app, Open, to make the app more inclusive for those with disabilities. This included making sure that actual disabled people were included in the app’s marketing.
And as if that wasn’t enough, Gurza is also the host of “Disability After Dark,” a daring podcast that “shines a light on sex and disability,” and which often features other disabled guests.
What will Pride look like at 100, as told to Queerty:
I think that Pride 100 should be full of disabled bodies, bodies of color and so much more diversity than what we have currently. I want Pride 100 to talk about the ways it can be accessible to everyone rather than just a select few. I want Pride 100 to be all about disabled sexuality too.