Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

You are here

1/26 Response: Access Intimacy and the Myth of Independence

jogengo's picture

This week, I really enjoyed having the opportunity to read about Mia Mingus' concept of access intimacy. This term was not something that I had previously encountered. As someone who lives their life hoping to treat all individuals with equal amounts of respect and compassion, I find that providing access intimacy is now a huge goal of mine. As someone who does not (not yet, at least) identify as disabled, I can’t exactly understand how it may feel to navigate a world that was intentionally built to serve some and not others and to be accessible for some, but not all. I think, as part of this inherent advantage that I have lived with thus far, it is a responsibility of mine to push for access where changes can be implemented and to provide assistance to others in navigating a largely inaccessible world. As was mentioned in the article, I will strive to push for liberatory access in everything that I am involved in. While access intimacy is both helpful and essential, there is potential to move even beyond this. I can imagine the discomfort and discouragement involved in navigating a world that wasn’t built for you. To me, inaccessibility in the world leaves disabled folks with the message that they are unwelcome and unwanted. Access liberation would challenge the acceptance of inaccessibility and would push for structural changes that would ensure that disabled people feel like they belong in any setting.

Something I also really enjoyed from this article is the concept of the myth of independence. Pressures placed on society by capitalism have forced many of us to believe that our value relies on our independent productivity and our ability to overcome obstacles, provided only the strength sourced from ourselves, individually. It seems silly to me that this ideal is still silently enforced. I can’t imagine getting through even an hour of my day without somehow depending on someone else for help, assistance, or companionship. It is baffling to me that these pressures are placed even more forcefully on those with disabilities. I think this idea can also draw interesting connections to the idea of overcoming disability, which is largely romanticized by the media in which a disabled individual’s value depends on their ability to succeed despite their disability, which is something I’m sure we’ll talk about later.


“Access Intimacy, Interdependence and Disability Justice.” Leaving Evidence, 12 Apr. 2017,