The expression and exploration of sexuality are matters that are both private and public. We often seek privacy, but our sexuality need not remain a secret; we all perform sexuality in public to varying degrees through our words, gazes, gestures and more. For people with disabilities, the private and public nature of sexuality can be complicated in several ways.
People with disabilities are rarely seen as having sexual agency, which means that their needs and desires are ignored in terms of education, services and the design of both online and offline environments. Myths about sexuality and people living with disabilities lead to discrimination and harassment, but women with disabilities are like all other women - sexual beings - and they have the same rights.
Disability can lead to lack of privacy if a carer is always around, and discrimination, harassment and limited accessibility to public places can keep people with disabilities invisible and restricted to the private sphere. For this reason, digital spaces can be easier for people with certain disabilities to navigate than the physical public sphere, and it’s critical that online resources remain open, accessible and supportive.
Disability affects most of us at some point whether through our own disabilities (which may in different stages of life) or those of our loved ones. Gender-based violence can cause disabilities, and women with disabilities are more likely to face abuse in private spaces. Like everyone else, women with disabilities have the right to express their sexuality without fear of harassment and violence..
Counter stereotypes about sexuality and disabilities by speaking up.
CREATE A DIGITAL POSTCARD
Make a digital postcard that debunks sexuality myths about people with disabilities.
If you need ideas, check out sexualityanddisability.org or, if you’re an able-bodied person, partner with someone in your life who lives with disabilities and create a message together.
Make your own postcard by writing on an image you’ve found or created. You can use paper and just photograph or scan it. Share it with your social media networks and with us by uploading it to our site or emailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out the campaign digital postcard section for inspiration and send them out as part of your 16 days activism.
Dismantle myths! Change views to ensure rights for women with disabilities.