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Disability and Sexual Identity

lgleysteen's picture

                Last week’s discussion and Exile and Pride have made me think a lot about the de-sexualization of people with disabilities in our society.   When our class looked at the picture of the women with disabilities dressed up in pink dresses the first thing that most of us noticed was the disabilities and the second thing we did was to try and figure out why each person in the picture had a disability.  For most of the class, our first reaction was not to see them as beautiful but as disabled.  I am interested in understanding why the de-sexualization happens.  I feel like part of the reason this happens is because the body is a series of symbols that mean different things to different cultures and when someone has a physical disability those symbols get jumbled.  Our bodies display a lot of our personal information and when somebody has a disability that is the first thing that people see.  I am interested in learning why this happens and how it can change.


aybala50's picture


This was also one of the discussions that left me with many thoughts. I strongly feel that people do not know how to handle something "different" from the "norm". A person with a difference that is more noticeable, such as a physical difference, rather than an "invisible" one is always noticed more. If a person is missing a leg, or an arm they are immediately noticed by those around them, because they do not fit the idea of what is normal. People are afraid of what they do not understand and yes maybe this is a bit of a cliche, but I truly believe that the lack of knowledge emphasizes the differences amongst us. People feel the need to create a norm so that they can defend themselves against what is "abnormal". I think that this is a useful practice for certain things such as medicine. You should know that it is not "normal" or "ok" for your leg to be swollen. In medicine we need to know what to look out for. However, the need for categorizing, for labeling, for normal has gone too far. Every single detail that differentiates someone from the norm is 'not ok'. Or it is seen as something that needs to be overcome.