At first glance it looks like three couples enjoying a tender moment.
But if you watch a little longer, it becomes apparent there’s something different about each couple.
For International Kissing Day today, disability charity Scope have released a beautiful and emotional film that challenges us to look at disability differently.
With Scope research showing that just 7% of people have been on a date with (or asked out) a disabled person, the film aims to break down barriers as part of Scope’s ‘End the Awkward’ campaign.
The film 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 a soundtrack of Kiss My Name by Antony and the Johnsons.
Claire and Michael, who is a wheelchair user, are featured sharing a passionate kiss outside a restaurant as she sits on her husband’s lap.
Michael, 38, who works as a presenter, says: “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 says that early in his relationship with Claire, 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!”
Awkwardness about disability
Richard Lane, head of campaigns at Scope, says:
“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 important thing is to focus on the person and the connection, not the impairment.
“So let’s kiss the awkward goodbye.”
Scope’s research shows that the majority (67%) of Brits feel awkward around disabled people, and as a result they panic or worse – avoid contact altogether.
- A staggering eight out of ten people in Britain (76%) have never invited a disabled person to a social occasion.
- Half of the British public (48%) has never started a conversation with someone disabled.
- And less than one in five (16%) people have invited a disabled person round to their house.
Scope hopes End the Awkward will get people thinking about what they can do to include disabled people more in their lives.
To find out more about the campaign and how to #EndtheAwkward visit www.scope.org.uk/awkward.
Scope is asking people to share their awkward kissing and relationship stories this International Kissing Day. Visit www.scope.org.uk/awkward to share yours.