Oh no! Queer and Disabled… All At the Same Time!!?!

An article on queerness and disability came out this week titled Double Outsiders. When I think of disability and sexuality I think firstly of the exclusion we face in both circles and then the tabooness of it all. This article really reminded me of how many of our people are living in group homes and institutions and how their sexuality (and freedom in general) is so unbelievably oppressed. How is it that it’s almost 2008 and in many ways we haven’t come very far? I guess I can’t be surprised…it’s not like I’ve told my parents or home health nurses either..:

“Dating for people with developmental delays can be difficult, whatever their sexual preference. Even if two people are interested in each other, it can take months just to set up a meeting among guardians and caregivers — sometimes as many as a half-dozen people — who must sign off before anybody even thinks about heading to a movie or a restaurant.

Leslie Falanga tried to help her brother, Andrew, arrange a date with a man he met at the support group. Because neither man could drive, transportation was an obstacle. And with house rules that prohibit closed bedroom doors, privacy was not an option.

So Falanga dropped her brother off at the other man’s group home. It was a junior high-style first date, with bright lights and hovering chaperones. When it was time to say good night, a staff member drove Andrew home.

And the relationship “really didn’t continue,” Falanga said. The logistics were just too difficult.” –Double Outsiders

There are so many articles about how lonely disabled people are, how frusterating is it that most would never to connect it to conditions like this.  

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14 Comments

Filed under disability, queer, sexuality

14 responses to “Oh no! Queer and Disabled… All At the Same Time!!?!

  1. Queer and disabled is so dangerous. I mean, society tells you that you have the predatory queer and the helpless disabled person all wrapped up in one. . . And then what do you do when one finds another and they fall in love?! Too messy, too messy–says the tidy facist culture. Better to deny their existence.

  2. LOL.
    i love your way with words. i think i have to email what you said to everyone i know.
    🙂

  3. It makes me sick thinking about it. Thank you for posting this.

  4. The particulars of the disability, the particulars of the queerness, and the particulars of the personality all factor into romantic possibilities.

    When I went to Forge Forward, a transmen’s conference, I was very very impressed by how many of the attendees were visibly disabled. BUT most of the trans spaces I’ve been to have had difficulty accommodating even me, and my trans youth group meets on the second floor of a building with no elevators.

    In disabled spaces run by disabled folk, I’ve generally been impressed by how gay and lesbian friendly the spaces are, which is NOT to say that they are friendly to more unusual queernesses.

    In a lot of places, I get the feeling that the nondisabled folk think that disabled people might have crushes, but not full blown adult sexuality. For that reason, some of us can get away with queer behaviors without appearing queer because the world thinks we can’t be queer, the way that nondisabled queers can still pass as friends in some very conservative communities.

  5. Why is it then that you have not told other individuals about your queerness? I can understand it not coming up in conversion, but at some point I would think you would meet that special some one, and would want to share that information with them. When that does happen, what do you think that you will do?

  6. Hiiii Peter! *waves*
    Most of my friends know, it just hard with parents because I still live under their roof and they’re really conservative… in other words, it would have very *real* reprocussions for me since they provide transportation on weekends, etc. But yeah, after I move out, wait a few years etc, I’ll be more ready I think (in terms of parents and home health nurses), I have no problem w/ other people.

  7. cool blog! issues of disability are something that i as an activist have not put much thought behind 😦 shame on me, i know and i am working on it. i was just thinking about how the assumptions of vulnerability and naivety could conveniently prevent queer relationships. esp, when living in group homes or when still under the guardianship of parents. it creates to much opportunity for sexuality and relationship policing.

  8. Well, with “home health nurses” (horrible phrase – don’t you have PAs?), really your sexuality – or any other non-impairment-related aspect of yourself – is none of their business unless you choose to tell them about it…

    Do you read Elizabeth McClung’s blog? I think you’d like this post

    Most of that article was… really depressing. 😦 I bet it was some homophobic asshole in authority who prevented that couple from getting an apartment together. Some of the other stuff – like the guy who tried propositioning random people in Wal-Mart – really got to me too. I might write something on it if i can get my thoughts sufficiently together about it…

    (still got about a dozen posts on queerness and disability i intend to write… if i can sort my life out enough to write coherently…)

    oh yeah, Sexability is another blog on these kind of issues, if you don’t read it already…

  9. Hi there,

    I just stumbled upon your blog and have been reading some of your posts. I write for a big queer group-blog called quench and I was wondering if you would mind if I did a post linking to this one to help introduce some of our readers to your blog.

    I am a queer partner of a person with a disability (who doesn’t identify as a crip, though – I tend to be the one with the radical politics). Anyhow, I added you to my feed reader and look forward to reading your future work.

    WTTO

  10. kameelah, good to see you, especially since i’ve been lurking your blog for quite a while 🙂

    shiva, good point but because PAs are so apart of my transportation, daily life, etc. it’s something you can’t really keep from them, after a certain point. also, i’ve been calling them home health nurses because they don’t like the term PA (the ones i know want recognition that they went to nursing school, they’d rather even me call them a friend instead but that doesn’t fit either) and the reality is that i need someone who has a nurse’s license. thanks for the blog links!

  11. WTTO, would love if you did a post. thanks for the link to quench, definitely will have to check it out.

    glad to hear that you are connected to disability as there are so many alliances between communities to be made!

  12. Oh yeah, i think i read another US disability blogger (Kay Olson, perhaps?) say something about how, in the US, it’s illegal for certain types of PA tasks to be done without a nurse’s licence, or the person (not sure if the PA or employer?) could be arrested for “practicing medicine without a licence” or something equally fucked up and silly… basically, of course, the effect of that law being to keep people in nursing homes…

    At least (AFAIK) the UK isn’t quite *that* paternalistic (although it’s probably getting there)… sometimes, from a UK perspective, the US really does seem like this monumental contradiction of simulaneously the most “libertarian” and the most paternalistic culture in the world…

  13. I think that stereotyping subtly is a huge problem in American culture.

  14. I am autistic and came out as a lesbian last year. I am fortunate that I have not been under such oppressive circumstances, and my parents are comfortable with me being gay, but I see a lot of time people’s sexuality being denied by others simply because that person has a disability.

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