Switch headers Switch to TIGweb.org

Are you an TIG Member?
Click here to switch to TIGweb.org

HomeHomeExpress YourselfPanoramaA.sexual or A.ble?
a TakingITGlobal online publication

(Advanced Search)

Panorama Home
Issue Archive
Current Issue
Next Issue
Featured Writer
TIG Magazine
Short Story
My Content

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
A.sexual or A.ble? Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by chechemy, Mexico Jul 24, 2008
Culture , Human Rights , Education   Short Stories
 1 2   Next page »


A.sexual or A.ble? Sometimes I get tired of all these asexual assumptions. Like, what, a wheelchair is supposed to be the embrace one longs for on lonely nights? Blindness doesn't make pity glances and scoffing from the opposite gender (or in many cases, within GLBTQ groupings as well) any more palatable. Just because I might not be able to hear you doesn't mean I don't have a need to communicate my desire for wholeness in a romantic relationship. And though it might be obvious that I have Down Syndrome, or Autism, or fit neatly into any number of categories relegated to someone with a disability, am I not first a human being?

Many youth with disabilities are ignored when discussing issues relating to sexuality. Whether this means sexual education, dating advice, creating safe areas to discuss same-gender sexuality, or just acknowledging that the disabled may in fact not want to be brushed off as asexual, it still takes a very thoughtful person to bring sexuality into the realm of the disabled community. Many young disabled people begin exploring sexuality in general at a later age than their peers, but at least from personal experience and with friends, that has had to do more with communication and social barriers than physical development. Youth that have been relatively isolated growing up as well as those with severe impairment who are unable to live independently without constant assistance have a markedly distinct perspective on life that limits access to much of normal life, including healthy relationships. Even for those youth who have been able to make adaptations in order to live a "normal life" encounter tremendous social barriers when broaching the subjects of romantic relationships and sexuality. But as any of us know who have taken on the social barriers which block our paths, ignorance can be one of the most motivational factors for moving forward. So rather than wait and see if Panorama will broach this subject in their next issue or not, given the fact that disability was not mentioned relating to sexuality for this issue I am not afraid to say that disabled youth around the world, and I am sure a few at TakingITGlobal, are, like their peers, experiencing attraction, sexual frustration, communication issues with their partner(s) and families. We have questions and concerns, stories to tell, and most of all, a desire to be acknowledged.

I have been dating my boyfriend for more than two years. He is my first boyfriend and first sexual relationship, though not likely the last. Thanks to access in education, a mild disability, and supportive family and friends, I have grown up without much though to having a disability. But as I began to develop interest in boys as a teen, I would sometimes grow nervous as the reality of having cerebral palsy now might be an issue in a relationship. Having some regrettable memories of nonacceptance by my peers in school and socially made me loathe to put myself out there so openly in the romantic sphere.

Even though I had secret fears about bringing my disability to light, I had no trouble attracting some guys to me, being a generally warm and friendly person. However, I decided I did not want to have a romantic relationship until after high school. Two years after I started college, I was ready for a relationship and started dating Josué. I had kissed other boys before, but dating means opening up to another person in ways that mere physicality does not even begin to reach. Instead of being a barrier in our relationship, my cerebral palsy was actually an area where Josué's tenderness came out the most. Intimacy changed meaning for me as we explored both physically and emotionally how having a disability can create a deeper relationship as we adapted our needs to each others'. While my level of disability is not immediately apparent to most people, I have grown accustomed to ignoring special needs as though it amounts to admitting weakness. But at Josué's urging, I have begun certain physical therapy exercises again, and I see his care as a true act of love which is also allowing me to love myself in ways that I did not even know I was previous ashamed of. And through it all, he has grown in leaps and bounds with regard to disability awareness. As have I. And now I see even more the need to be an activist in disabled sexuality in ways that the non-disabled cannot be and will not be if we are all allowed to live in ignorance.

Here in Mexico, disability laws are blatantly ignored in much of the country. Access is a major issue, and many disabled people are denied their rights to a "normal" life. Primary school education is still the only mandatory level required for Mexico, but unless a family advocates on behalf of their child to be educated at this level with their peers, a young person with a disability is either placed in a special school with other students with various ability levels and needs, or left on their own. Any education beyond this level, as in most "higher education" contexts, heavily relies on the motivation of both the young person and their support systems. Many roads are inaccessible for the disabled due to lack of adequate sidewalk areas or treacherous, rocky surfaces, and motorists have little patience for someone who is slow to cross a road for whatever reason. Public transportation, bathrooms, and most jobs are out of reach. But there is hope, as more programs become available for the disabled through our own activism, as more public education is used to discuss disabilities with the general public, and as more international organizations and networks, especially online, become portals for connecting to and inspiring others.

 1 2   Next page »   


You must be logged in to add tags.

Writer Profile

CheChemy creció en San Diego, California, Estados Unidos. Ha vivido en Oaxaca Mexico desde 2006. Le ha involucrado en cosas de activsmo desde que era muy joven, y quiere trabajar para avanzar los mas marginados en los E.E. U.U., Mexico, y mas alla.

Daniel | Jul 28th, 2008
I really like your honest essay. You are right more attention in the programs should be pay on sexuality and disabled people. At the end of the day we are all sexual beings, we are fall in love, we all want some intimate and romantic moments.

Adham Tobail | Jul 30th, 2008
sometime must have happeness adham

Private4Security | Sep 13th, 2008
I agree with everything you say in your essay.Too many forget that first and foremost we all are Human Beings,Our needs,feelings,Desires are no diferrent than any abled body individual.Time Honest open discussions on being Disabled & Sexuality is spoken of,brought out into the open,for too long disabled people have had their basic Human Rights Neglected.Yes more attention in programms should be payed toward sexuality and disabled people.Being dis-allowed into the Sacred Circle of loving romance keeps us from experiencing a fullness in life,sadly this area is grossly neglected,ignorance still rules,too many abled body individuals erroneously judge-disabilities in all forms as an defective individul-societies burden,"who has the monopoly on normalacy anway"? Yes it's largely those within our disabled community whom are left to self advocate for a faifr go.Intelligence does not sit within blind eyes,deaf ears,a physical body which is challenged more than what is taken for granted by those with abled bodies.Yes much may be learned from the wisdom,knowledge,insights of a so-called disable person,that's why I refuse to allow myself to be termed disabled-I tell everyone disabled-NO-Enabled-YES,Useless NO-Userability-YES.It's individuals as you & myselt whom are working towards changing these social Stigmatisations. ("The road is long,with a many a winding turn that leads us to who knows where,who knows where, but i'm strong,strong enough to care with him, He aint heavy he's my brother, so on we go,his welfare is my concern,no burden is he to bear, we'll get there' all I know he would not encumber me, he aint heavy he's my brother, If im leading at all,im leading,with saddness,that every one's heart isn't filled with the gladness for one another, it's a long,long road from which there is no return, while wer'e on the way to there, why not share. And the road doesn't weigh me down at all, He ain't heavy,he's my brother)-The Hollies-1965-1969. For me my Brother is both Male & Female. Loving Warmpth, Shi-ar-a Mi-So

Wiaam Youssef | Sep 14th, 2008
thanks for bringing this issue sexuality and disability into the light, I feel that there's a lot of people would like to thank you also..

Queer/LGBT spaces in India and disability
Elavarthi Manohar | Sep 23rd, 2008
Thanks for sharing this. There seems to very little discussion on disability among Queer/LGBT spaces in India. Hope the space for disabled people gets expanded here in the near future.

Andrea Arzaba | Sep 23rd, 2008
Me parecio muy interesante tu artículo. Creo que es dificil que nos pongamos a pensar en este tema sin embargo el hecho de crear conciencia sobre las personas con discapacidad y la seualidad es una tarea muy importante.

Sarah Wilks | Sep 25th, 2008
-The motorists who have no patience -The lack of inforcement of safe access to roads and buildings despite laws -Not enough safe environments to openly discuss same-sex relationships The disability itself is only one trial and gives no tangible direction to which we may point the injustice . However, to have all the other difficulties imposed upon a person by controllable means harbours an intense anger against society instead of fate. We must find and advocate ways to get the members of society to put themselves in the shoes of a disabled person so that they do not turn away from the consequences of their actions and thus do what they can to prevent these injustices.

quinnremmert | Sep 26th, 2008
thank you so much for this essay it is absolutly insane how many disabled people are neglected these days. I go to school with disabled people and i also work with them. i love them to death as much as i would love a "normal" person. I dont compare them they are normal people. So thank you for bringing this topic up because it needs to be addressed imediatly.

Great !!
Mitesh Patel | Oct 8th, 2008
Its really interesting. i like it.
Real Estate IndiaAstrology, Horoscopes

Joanne Diep | Oct 27th, 2008
I totally agree with what you said. EVERYONE should be taught about sexuality no matter who you are. We all have emotions!

Giri Santosh | Nov 3rd, 2008
you have really risen up the true relvents on the topic and i hope more will feel the sense of the truth and create sensability. Thanks.

Ruth Njambi Kimani | Nov 18th, 2008
It is simply inspiring. One would wish there were millions advocates like you. Either disabled or not, we have to get rid of Self Stigma, once that is out, it is the beginning of a wonderful journey that all of us in programming will enjoy!! Thanks for sharing this, its a huge step.

From the heart
Frank Krishner | Nov 18th, 2008
This piece has raised an issue and has given me a subject to be discussed in my classroom. i teach media studies.

TinaJ | Nov 19th, 2008
The whole world should be made awre that disability is not inablity. There have been many successful 'disabled' people in the world, for exampleThomas Edison, John Milton,Ludwig van Beethoven, Stephen Hawking, Wanyoike, among many others. Tania Burchardt, academic fellow at LSE, found that: At age 26, disabled people were more than two and a half times as likely to be out of work as non-disabled people, even after taking account of differences in their educational qualifications. This is pure discrimination. Limiting qualifications of a person to physical appearance and ability is unknowingly letting go of great talent and maybe an asset to the society. Sex is proper to man and everyone be (s)he be diasbled or not should be taught about sex. Everyone is subjected to love and to be loved, a companion to share with, someone to wake up next to every morning and cherish every moment shared. If all disabled people would get to appreciate who they are, then others will appreciate them and stop stigmatising them. Thank you for this eye-opener.

Great essay!
Parvez Babul | Nov 20th, 2008
Hi Chec: My hearty thanks to you and others who posted encouraging comments on your essay. In fact, I like to say: differently- able instaed of disabled. And the poeple like you must have the rights to know about sexuality and to live a happy sexual life with some one you like and love. So earlier awareness is must about it. My love to you for being free and frank!!! Parvez Babul Bangladesh parvezbabul@yahoo.com Cell: 88-01711-802013.

You must be a TakingITGlobal member to post a comment. Sign up for free or login.