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Jul 022012

Various projects have had me culling the Internet for information, stories, and policies and practices related to sex and disability.

I’ve been putting together resource lists, including this one, and preparing to speak at the Catalyst conference in September.

I’ve spent a lot of time asking myself why exactly it is that I’ve chosen to talk about sexuality and disability.

This is some of what I’ve come up with:

Disabled people are more visibly present in society, and the numbers of people with disabilities seems to be growing. Growing too is the sense that while we live in a sex-obsessed society, the sexuality of entire populations has been ignored and belittled. We talk about sex and disabilities because the topic intersects with so many things we’re already talking about; healthy body image, self-esteem, accessible sex education for all. We talk about sex and disability because it is the birthright of every single person to choose how they express their sexuality. We talk about sex and disability because of the bad stuff, including a higher than average number of sexual abuse survivors in disabled populations. We talk about sex and disability because ability is a temporary condition for most people, and disability is an invisible condition for many more.

But we also talk about sex and disability because of what these discussions can teach us about sexuality in general. The mainstream conceptions of sex are limiting to most of us. Tools often utilized by people with disabilities, such as creativity and adaptability, can free us from these limits.

After reading this story, I truly do know why I do this work. Read it for yourselves. It’s worksafe, horrifying, beautiful, and an illustration of the ways disability policy and sexuality have intersected over the years.

It’s also, I believe, a call to action.

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