The short film “The Device That Turned Me Into A Cyborg Was Born The Same Year I Was” explores the experiences and deaf identity of Chella Man, a disabled, queer person of color. Specifically, it shows how getting a cochlear implant has affected his life, and even features a brief sex scene with Man wearing the cochlear implant.
Chella Man is an actor, director, artist, and activist who explores issues related to disability, gender, and identity in his work. He is also known for his role as Jericho in the DC Universe series Titans.
In an interview on the NOWNESS digital film festival site, Man said did not want to conform to mainstream narratives or stereotypes about deafness and instead wanted to convey their unique perspective. He added he wanted to share their story with a wider audience and shed light on the diverse experiences of deaf individuals.
In the film he both wrote and directed, Man questions the constraints of machinery and debates the cochlear implant’s existence as a symbol of integration and assimilation. The film concludes that the device can be used as a neutral tool, at times liberating and other times constraining. The film is intended to be received by Man’s own community and convey his experience of the world as a deaf individual.
As mentioned earlier, it also depicts Man’s sexuality in a sex scene he says shows the world “disabled, trans masc people can TOP.>
“It’s unfortunately rare to find sex and intimacy scenes in media that represent my personal experiences, so I created my own,” he wrote on Instagram.
The full film is available to watch online at NOWNESS.
Chella Man in Titans
Chella Man played the role of Joseph Wilson, also known as Jericho, in the second season of the DC Universe series “Titans”. Jericho is the son of Slade Wilson, also known as Deathstroke, a famous DC Comics villain. In the show, Jericho has the ability to possess the bodies of others and communicate through them.
Chella Man’s portrayal of Jericho has been praised for its depth and nuance, particularly in exploring the character’s relationships with his father and other characters in the show. Additionally, Chella Man’s own experiences as a deaf and genderqueer person have brought a unique perspective to the role.
In interviews, he has discussed the importance of representation and inclusivity in media, and how his role on “Titans” has allowed him to bring more visibility to deaf and disabled actors in the entertainment industry.