Words: Steve Brown
A disabled actor wants to become a role model for the LGBT community with his new film Pulse.
Daniel Monks, 29, always wanted to be an actor and follow in his mother’s footsteps but after complications from a biopsy when he was just 11, he became a quadriplegic and although he credits the doctors for saving his life, he remains paralysed on his right side.
However, he turned his acting passion into filmmaking and began developing the new body-swap drama Pulse – which he wrote, crowdfunded, produced and edited.
The film follows a gay disabled teenager who has an operation to become a beautiful young woman so he can be loved.
While developing the film, Monks – who is also openly gay – took the opportunity to cast himself in the role.
He told the Sydney Morning Herald: “When I became disabled, I thought, ‘Oh, I can’t be an actor any more’ which is why I went into filmmaking.
“Then in developing this film, I thought, ‘This character is based on me and there’s no one really better to play it so I’m going to take the opportunity’.”
And the opportunity paid off after the actor was nominated for an Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Award (AACTA), which will be held this week.
And Monks hopes he can be an inspiration for the disabled LGBT community after admitting he “struggled with shame” as a teenager.
“As a teenager I really struggled with shame around my sexuality and disability,” he continued.
“If I can be openly proud about being disabled and gay then hopefully that can do more good for the world than me keeping it a secret.
“As disabled people, we’re often spoken for by people who are abled guardians or abled people who think they know our needs and interests.
“The fact that we’re excluded from telling our own stories I find quite upsetting.”
Watch the trailer for Pulse below: