Scope, the charity that strives to make the UK a place where disabled people have the same opportunities as the rest of us, is celebrating International Kissing Day (July 6) by releasing a heart-warming film by Grey London, showing disabled people and their partners kissing. It's in an effort to help break down barriers and challenge assumptions about disability, and it does so with a genuine beauty and a distinct lack of condescension.
Scope is celebrating International Kissing Day with a heart-warming film showing disabled people and their partners kissing
The film was directed by Nabil, and arrives in response to Scope research which shows that just 7% of people have been on a date with, or even asked out, a disabled person. It stars real-life couples Ollie Hancock, who was born with the lower part of his right arm missing, and Jen Shersby; Diane Noella, who is visually impaired, and Anthony Pike; and Michael Buckley, who uses a wheelchair, and his wife Claire. The three couples are seen passionately embracing to the stirring soundtrack of “Kiss My Name” by Antony and the Johnsons. Simply called “Kiss,” the film (below) is part of Scope’s national “End the Awkward” campaign, which is all about challenging attitudes to disability and breaking down the awkwardness that too many people associate with dating, or even talking to a disabled person.
Scope – End The Awkward
Richard Lane, head of campaigns at Scope, said: “We made this film to show that when you get down to it (literally) we’re all the same and it’s about personal connection and chemistry. Sex and relationships are meant to be fun and passionate. The couples in our film show that disability doesn’t change that. We want people to relax and not let their assumptions about disability and sex get in the way of what could be a special connection with another person. Disabled people say the most important thing is to focus on the person and the connection, not the impairment. So let’s kiss the awkward goodbye.”
The film was directed by Nabil and created by Grey London, and responds to research which shows that just 7% of people have been on a date with a disabled person
Claire and Michael, who is a wheelchair user, are featured sharing a passionate kiss outside a restaurant as she sits her husband’s lap. Michael, 38, who works as a presenter, said: “End the Awkward has an important message – some people don’t know how to handle some situations, treat or even speak to disabled people. The film shows we are just people too. Plus, having a toddler keeps my wife and I pretty busy so it was a great chance to have a kiss and a cuddle!” Michael adds that he used a moment early in his relationship with Claire to inspire his performance in his scene. They were messing around and she pushed him in his chair into a lift. He grabbed the rails in the lift to stop himself, but she kept on pushing and he fell out of the chair. He said: “We had both had a couple of drinks and found it hilarious. The lift doors shut and we moved to the next floor, when they opened again the people waiting looked in horror at me on my back with my legs in the air and my wife pointing and laughing. Not one of them said a word or got in the lift. Awkward!” Awkward indeed Michael, but pretty bloody adorable to boot!