Out Australian actor/filmmaker Daniel Monks went being a quadriplegic lying in a hospital bed to competing for best actor in the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards, his country’s version of the Academy Awards, in just a few short years.
Monks, who became a quadriplegic as a result of complications from a biopsy at age 11, is currently being recognized for his work in the 2017 short film Pulse, in which he plays a gay disabled teenager who undergoes surgery to become a beautiful, able-bodied woman so he can be loved.
Mixing sexuality and teen angst with an undercurrent of sci-fi, this bold fantasy follows a gay disabled teen who undergoes a mysterious procedure that gives him the body of a young able-bodied woman in order to pursue his love object. Exploring how our bodies shape who we are and how we are perceived, Pulse is a modern day parable for the young, the queer, the disabled and for anyone who has ever struggled with their sexuality, their desires, and essentially, themselves.
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Monks says, “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’.”
He continues: “As a teenager I really struggled with shame around my sexuality and disability. 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.”
Watch the trailer for Pulse below.