Today’s Observer carries a story about Encarna Conde who at 45, has made her first porn film. The film, Breaking Barriers, is the subject of debate on internet chatboards and has even had entire pages dedicated to it in the Spanish press. The reason for the fuss is that Encarna is a wheelchair user who has a muscle control disorder called ataxia. She is also president of the Association of Andalucian Ataxia Groups.
Her decision to appear on screen came after she wrote to Spain's biggest porn producer to complain that disabled people never featured in his films. Antonio Marcos agreed to hold a casting for aspiring disabled porn stars. But when nobody came forward Encarna volunteered her own services.
'It was very pleasant, though I was somewhat cowardly,' she said. Unusually for a porn film, however, Breaking Barriers ends with a serious conversation between Encarna and her producer. 'Disabled women have to take steps forward and one should always be happy if one breaks a barrier,' she said. 'Everybody, whether they are disabled or not, has the right to make their own sexual choices.'
El Mundo reported that her move into the world of pornography had caused ructions within her own association. Her association's site does not mention the film, but comments on its forum appear to be directed at Encarna herself. 'Good luck with your great challenge,' says one. 'This lady is a born fighter, she knows what it is to suffer and have so many things against her,' says another.
Whether one approves of such films or not, Encarna’s actions make it abundantly clear that disability does not necessarily diminish one’s right to make life choices, sexual or otherwise. Those who automatically equate physical disability with asexuality or mental impairment should take note.