After a cancer diagnosis, life becomes a series of appointments, procedures and treatments. Medical professionals kill you so you may live. Chemotherapy robs a person of themselves physically and destroys the mind-body connection. During cancer treatment, one is constantly disassociating from their body so doctors and nurses can do painful or uncomfortable things in order to “help” them.
After a successful treatment, the cancer is gone, and the person who has gone through the treatment is supposed to be better. One is supposed to return to life. But a connection has been broken. How do we restore our ability to participate in our own bodies, to have intimate encounters? How do we include the sexual self in healing when we have lost touch with our physical existence? How do we restore ourselves to touch, to comfort with Eros, when we don't have the husband, wife, lover or partner to remind us of our physical selves?
Darkrooms, voyeurism and anonymous touch can be a step toward rediscovering oneself. Is being surrounded by intimate encounters a catalyst toward participation in such encounters or just a way to increase one's sense of isolation? The Chemo Darkroom is an autobiographical poetic documentary about rediscovering the sexual self after chemotherapy. I was unaware of it at the time, but it was also the beginning of embracing my identity as a transman.
Queer porn film, 16:57 min. © Harvey Rabbit