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Film and TV

Gay man with Down’s syndrome wins army of fans after starring in ‘hugely life-affirming’ documentary

Emma Powys Maurice November 28, 2019
Gay Down's Syndrome

Curtis, 27, hopes to find a boyfriend on Tinder (Channel 4)

Viewers have fallen in love with a gay man with Down’s syndrome who began to explore his sexuality on the Channel 4 documentary Home Free.

The documentary, which has been described as “hugely life-affirming, warm and non-patronising”, followed people with learning disabilities as they leave home for the first time.

Viewers quickly warmed to Curtis, 27, from London, who won a legion of fans after his mother revealed his affinity for men with beards.

“Curtis, he’s very definitely gay. He can’t fake the fact that he gets very excited about large bearded men and he wears his heart on his sleeve,” she said.

In one scene Curtis earnestly declares his love for a man at the cafe he works at. “You know how I want to marry you. You’re my boyfriend,” he said, adding: “I like men with beards.”

But in spite of his enthusiasm, his mother explained that Curtis has been struggling to fully understand his sexuality – because he just loves everyone he meets.

gay down's syndrome
Viewers fell in love with Curtis and his bubbly personality (Channel 4)

“Curtis is a gay man. But he loves everybody,” she said. “The confusion isn’t over his sexuality, it’s over how he copes with people making assumptions about him. He gets so anxious about upsetting people because he knows he can’t really be with a girl.”

The documentary sees Curtis getting plenty of female attention at a disco, which confuses him. His initial reaction was to ask one to be his girlfriend, but this left him feeling uncertain.

He tells his support worker: “I asked her to be my girlfriend. But I don’t like girls.” She agrees that it is “a bit of an issue”, to which Curtis replies: “I decided to like men not girls. I don’t want a girlfriend. I feel lonely.”

He later admitted his confusion to his mother, who advised him: “You’ll know when it feels right.”

She told the camera: “There are just not enough men in his life, not enough gay men. We have had a few talks about whether he’s ready for dating, but maybe that’s the next step.”

Fortunately, his brother Degs has the answer: Tinder. He steps in and helps Curtis set up an online dating profile.

gay down's syndrome
Curtis’ brother introduces him to Tinder (Channel 4)

“He’s more ready for a relationship since he’s lived on his own, he’s more happy. It’s all he talks about,” Degs said. “He’s wanted a boyfriend for about ten years.”

Judging by his popularity online we don’t think he’ll have to wait long. Soon after the show aired, Twitter was flooded with fans declaring Curtis to be a “gay icon”.

Hats off to Channel 4 for raising awareness of LGBT+ people with disabilities.

 

 

 

 

More: channel 4, down's syndrome, Home Free, LGBT disability

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