(Photo Credits: Screengrab from Carson Tueller’s Official Instagram Account)

Hey, guys! Our hottie of the day is 29-year-old openly gay man Carson Tueller, an LGBTQ+ and disability advocate. Carson is an American blogger, speaker, presenter, and personal development coach currently based in New York City. This BS Psychology graduate is a swimmer and a dog and music lover who has worked as a private flute and piano instructor. 

Carson’s got a pair of soulful eyes and a bedimpled smile; but handsome physical features aside, he is a beautiful guy inside as well not to mention he’s such an inspiring and amazing person. It’s what we love about him the most—his spirit and his extraordinary resilience.

In December 2013, shortly after Christmas, Carson—who was then a college student at Weber State University in Utah—had a terrible accident at a trampoline park that broke his neck and left him paralyzed from the chest down. Carson recalls about the accident in an interview, “I remember…all this anxiety over not being able to move anything and not knowing what’s going on.” Carson said however that “It’s hard to fail or give up or feel despair when you have so many people believing in you.”

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This photo was taken a month before my injury. I was a swimmer, so I was always lean and had visible abdominal muscles. Honestly, it wasn’t anything I thought much of until I started dating men. I realized that body function, shape and size were all very important factors to others. I noticed that gay men talked about 6-packs a lot. When I was injured just a month later, I lost 35 lbs, basically everything you see in that photo. My body was permanently altered, and I became aware of the parts of me that no longer fit the mold of a good body. I started to believe that no one would want a paralyzed man. I felt that the changes in my body constituted changes in my value. I kept hearing the word, “depreciated”, running through my head. It took years to unravel the ableism and body standards that were ingrained in me. I started to challenge the idea of what a “good” body was. I discovered that my body was perfect just as it was, and that worth had nothing to do with my body (yours doesn’t either, btw). I experienced a paradigm shift that felt like a rebirth. This gave me the power to pursue my dreams. I traveled the world, I finished my degree, I pursued romantic and sexual relationships, I created the life I wanted. And this is why I am so passionate that people embrace their bodies: our power and freedom depend on it. If we resist our bodies, we cannot live freely. We live in a disempowered state. Our world revolves around changing or shaping them to match an arbitrary ideal. But our bodies change. They grow, they shrink, they injure, they heal, they stretch, they scar… they’re unparalleled biological machines… and they are designed to deteriorate. This is a beautiful part of being human, and we fear this like nothing else because we’ve conflated our worth with our bodies. I was no more valuable standing with visible abs than I am sitting without them. My body is a vessel. It is a miracle. It is perfect and does its job. My worth exists separate from whatever changes may come to my body, and yours does too. I invite you to move into your power and freedom by embracing your body, just as it is.

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Today, Carson uses his voice to give people hope. He is currently the president of an LGBTQ+ nonprofit organization named Affirmation and he travels across the US to talk about “how individuals can experience power, happiness and fulfillment in any circumstance in life” in universities, corporations, and nonprofit organizations. Further, he also speaks and raises awareness on mental health issues and suicide prevention on top of promoting inclusivity and human worth to name a few.

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I write a lot about being paralyzed, and every once in a while someone with good intentions will remind me that I’m more than just paralyzed, and they’re right. . But the prominence of the role of paralysis in my life waxes and wanes quite a bit. During some periods of time, paralysis is just a minor detail of my life. Other times, it seems to be the focus of everything I do. The latter is usually the case when accessibility is poor, or when I’m dealing with some health issue that is made much more complicated by having a SCI. . Having moved to NYC, I’m in one of those latter stages right now, one of those moments in which it seems like life is focused on the damn wheelchair. I don’t like these stages. I’d rather spend my energy being creative, working, or contributing to the world around me. . It has been a long time since I have had to get this gritty, and call on my strength and vision the way I have had to over the last month. It has been ideal training ground for keeping perspective when feeing beat down or defeated. . During the last month, I’ve been reminded of a few things and i wanted to share what I say to myself: . 1. Don’t avoid your feelings. You can both listen to your emotions while taking action toward whatever goals you have, and all at the same time. 2. Progress doesn’t always look like forward motion. Learning and strength-building can happen when we are focused on internal processes or “survival”, even if we would rather be spending our time and resources on something more rewarding. Isometric strength building uses a static contraction. 3. Ask for help. 4. Communicate and connect when feeling frustrated of defeated. Pick a few friends, you can diversify your support system. Sometimes I just send a 🚨 emoji to a friend when I’m struggling, and even that helps. 5. Be self-compassionate. Maintaining the perspective of my greater goals and purpose, while acknowledging my successes and badass-ery can help put my struggle into a larger, more empowering context. It also helps me be kind to myself. . Wherever you’re at in your journey, you’re not alone. None of us are superheroes, and we all have the ebb and flow of life. Where you are is just fine.

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Carson is also a great writer and not only do we enjoy reading his thoughts and stories, his writings leave us feeling hopeful and inspired so go and follow him on Instagram, his official account is @carson_tueller. And please don’t forget to follow Adam4Adam on Instagram as well for more hotties like Carson!

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I was grateful for the opportunity to speak last night at an incredible event that @cnn created to honor the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, and celebrate World Pride here in NYC. Special thanks to @evanbretos who was instrumental in bringing this event to fruition. . I spoke on our human search for worth. I drew parallels between the experience of accepting myself as a gay man and accepting myself as a disabled man. I pointed to the fact that in each of these experiences, the process was very similar: it was a search for worth and value as a human being. . We have so much more in common than we think. The ways in which we identify are very diverse, and our experiences are varied, but at the heart of each of our journeys on earth is the search for worth and value. . My declaration last night and today is that worth is ours for the claiming, and that no one can take it from us once we’ve done so. . Meeting some of my own LGBTQ heroes was fun as well, and it was humbling to hear Anderson say he’d been following along on my journey for some time. . Looking forward to continuing opportunities to encourage all people to claim their space and worth in this world. It’s ours for the taking.

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