Let’s just start by saying that “Special” is another win for Netflix. The show is based on the memoir of Ryan O’Connell, “I’m Special, And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves“. I will definitely be checking out the book.
Ryan is witty, smart, and coming into his own. He identifies as gay man and has mild cerebral palsy. In so many ways, he knows who he is. Compared to several other portrayals of LGBTQ+ people in mainstream media, he is confident in that part of his identity. I love seeing characters that reflect this type of experience because everyone’s story is different. Being LGBTQ+ is liberating for many people and those stories need to be told.
In the series “Special” on Netflix, Ryan struggles with his identity as someone with a disability and where he fits. He sees himself as not disabled enough to fit in the CP community and not currently able-bodied enough to fit into the mainstream community. Being gay and disabled highlighted the ugly obsession with beauty in gay culture.
One of my favs is Kim, the straight best friend we all wish we had. She is my second favorite part of “Special”. Kim has her own struggles but she is an amazing friend. Thankfully, Ryan never has to be her side kick GBF which is probably one of my biggest issues with LGBTQ+ characters in movies.
As a Social Worker, this series was a great reminder of the importance of community. Sometimes the biggest struggles people face are not what others would expect. Everyone’s experience is different. It isn’t until we ask that we really know where someones personal struggle really is. This series is worth the time, check it out “Special” on Nextrflix.