Buesing said discrimination of any kind is so taboo that employers in many states don’t realize they can reject applicants for being smokers.
“Even when I was doing temporary work, people would be like, ‘You’re going on break? Are you going to smoke?'” said Carl Carter of Nashville, Tennessee, who is currently on disability benefits and not working.
“Someone who uses tobacco could potentially have some form of disability,” he said, adding that addiction could be protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
LEFT tetraplegic after a fall in 2014, Heidi Herkes, 40, from north London, is determined to smash the taboo around disabled people and sex.
I do understand; in my old life, I don’t know if I’d have dated someone with my disability.
I hope the right guy is out there, because despite my disability I have a lot to give, not only emotionally and practically, but sexually.
The man behind the hashtag, Disability After Dark podcaster Andrew Gurza, couldn’t have been more thrilled.
People were excited by this new chance to see disability in a different light.”
“I think folks have a lot of ideas that are wrong about disability and sex, but the notion that we don’t have sex or aren’t sexy enough to be having it is absolutely bananas,” adds A. Andrews, the queer and nonbinary disabled author of A Quick & Easy Guide to Sex & Disability, a new nonfiction graphic novel.
Gurza corrects that mistaken idea, exclaiming, “Sex and disability is hot! Sex and disability is some of the best sex you’ll ever have.
So that’s a big reason why I think the topic of sex and disability has been taboo.”
“The work she’s doing around sexuality and disability is so important,” he says.
I think that the subject has been so taboo because disability is taboo.
Sweeney teaches Disability and Sex 101 classes and says she addresses, “the basics like: What if you need to bring an aide on a date? Or how to talk to your partner about your disability.
“I think disability allows for me to look at pleasure in a whole different way and to… about consent differently,” Gurza says.
“When I say ‘Yes,’ to somebody as a disabled person, it means allowing them into my world and it means allowing them into my experience of disability.
I think just disability can help us look at pleasure in completely different ways.”
“The most common question I am asked is ‘What’s the best sex toy for someone with a disability?’” Sweeney says.
Gurza says he loves that even after three years, Disability After Dark brings “a new level of understanding to disability” in each episode.
But his favorite thing to do is the “minisodes” he produces once a month, where listeners share “stories and letters and ideas; anything about sex and disability.”
In addition, Gurza says, “I recently did a live episode with my friend Jay Austin, who’s a porn star out of Palm Springs, and we talked about sex and disability together and I asked him what would happen if he became disabled.
Sweeney says that the LGBTQ community needs to pay more attention to disabled queer people and reach out to the disability community for advice about how to become more accommodating.
I would love to see fundraisers for disability accessibility Start looking at the way we immediately exclude the disabled community and figure out why and start changing those things to be more inclusive.
“It’s a conversation we really need to be having that we just aren’t,” Andrews says, adding that A Quick & Easy Guide to Sex & Disability is “a culmination of all the things the disability community has taught and continues to teach me every day.
Ultimately, I think I just wanted to demystify the false idea that sex isn’t for us.”Brand and innovation strategist Heather Morrison and her brother, disability awareness consultant and activist Andrew Gurza, are breaking down taboos on sex and disability with the launch of new inclusive sex toy brand Handi.
The first brand of its kind, the idea for Handi came to life after Gurza, who has cerebral palsy and identifies as a queer male, released a documentary sharing some of his frustrations on dating with a disability.
Speaking to her brother in further details about it, Morrison soon discovered that self pleasure was a huge issue for people living with a disability.
It has also been accepted into the 2020 cohort of the Remarkable Tech Accelerator programme, hosted in Sydney, which brings together Australian start-ups working in the disability space and provides some funding.
While the toys continue to undergo testing before they hit the market, Gurza says the focus for Handi is on eradicating the stigmas associated sex and disability.
“Much of the stuff around sex and disability, if it’s written about, is not fun, not playful, not provocative,” Gurza says.
Gurza says the branding is purposely colourful and bright, like the conversations on sex and disability should be.
“What I love about our branding is that we can have a really bright, colorful photo, but underneath have some like, ‘Hey, let’s talk about real shit that’s happening around sex and disability right now, leave a comment underneath’.
“But it’s also quite contradictory when you look at what can be advertised around men’s erectile dysfunction, for example, and what you can get away with Viagra versus talking about sex and disability.
Before the toys go out to market, Handi will also have a book out to help answer questions on sex and disability.
Gurza says he hopes the book will be able to answer questions that non-disabled people may not feel comfortable asking and further break down some of the taboos on the topic.
” starts to uncover a lot of these questions that people have around sex and disability, that disabled people have around their own sexuality starts to continue the conversation,” she says.
“It’s one of those things where I think we realized early on, because it’s such a taboo topic and because no one’s really talking about it that you can’t just kind of lift the lid and then put it back on,” Morrison says.
He said: “All public bodies need to review their equality policies with a special regard to race which is still a taboo subject.
“We have the Equality Act which covers nine protected characteristics including age, disability, gender and LGBT.
“From my experience, people will generally discuss things like disability and gender, which are very important, but as soon as you mention race they will go quiet and defensive, so race is still a taboo subject and remains one of the ‘uncomfortable truths’.
Last week, disabled actor and theatre maker Kate Hood, blind writer and critic Olivia Muscat and able-bodied writer Emilie Collyer met via Zoom for a conversation about disability, the arts sector and opportunity in the era of live streaming.
KH: “It seems that when the word “diversity” is mentioned, disability is completely ignored – as ever! I’m so exhausted by this! But I agree, COVID makes this the perfect time to be raising this as an issue, and the idea of collaborating with our non-disabled champions is great.
We must note that we do not know all of the artists involved personally and there may be disabled artists among them, and of course, disability is not always visible.
OM: Yes, from the bits and pieces I’ve read in the media, the way PWA is framing the discourse around this initiative indicates that they haven’t taken disability into account.
KH: If people have the option to turn their eyes away from disability they will.
Approaches must have what I call “horizontality” – so that all experiences, such as that of trans people, of ageing, of disability, are taken into account along with those of culture, race and – importantly in Australia – Indigeneity.
KH: I think we need to stop a siloed kind of thinking when it comes to disability advocacy and change.
If only disabled people talk about disability then non-disabled people won’t have a reason to care.
KH: For me this relates to the different models of disability.
This should be normal! I hate that in fact, what we see is one “disability play” each year – maybe one in Sydney AND one in Melbourne if we’re lucky – and we all applaud and say: Aren’t they great! I just want my work to be critiqued.
I can’t be certain, but I’m pretty sure nobody who works at PWA has a disability.
‘If only disabled people talk about disability then non-disabled people won’t have a reason to care.
I wrote something the other day about living with a disability and what it means to be getting out of lockdown.
We need to be talking about the expertise that each person with each disability has as it relates to theatre.
OM: Yes there are so many different kinds of disability.
‘If one disability area is ticked off then it’s assumed all are taken care of.
But if one disability area is ticked off then it’s assumed all are taken care of.
Every theatre needs to have a disability action plan with all staff involved.
OM: It’s out of sight – a taboo.
For example, a few key arts organisations and funding bodies talk on their websites about supporting a social model of disability.
Surely as a disabled person I’m the one who needs mentoring! So if peer assessors can’t get their head around a simple idea like me mentoring non-disabled people, what does that say about the culture and understanding of disability?
She holds a PhD in English from the University of Kent and teaches Literature, Women’s studies and Disability studies.
It delves into the Arab experiences of disability, illness, and love.
It follows the life of a young girl in Kuwait who learns to navigate her disability and the pain of growing up as a woman in a deeply traditional Arab society.
“Illness and disability remain taboo subjects in the Middle East, or are often seen in terms of either a blessing or a punishment – black or white.
Women are doubly marginalised when they are living with an illness or a disability because society stigmatises them.
I’m writing about toxic masculinity and hegemonic masculinity being a part of everyday life for those who are marginalised because of disability.
Disability affects everyone and social stigma hurts both men and women.”
Nevertheless, Notes on the Flesh is groundbreaking in its raw representation of disability and the vivid portrayal of pain.
It crushes taboos surrounding illnesses and speaks up about gender injustice in the Middle East.
Disability in the South Asian community is still a taboo – I was told I would never marry or have kids Someone told my mother: ‘Not only have you had another girl, she’s disabled. ’ Attitudes have to change
Here she talks to Poorna Bell about attitudes towards disability and stigma within the South Asian community.
Disability is a taboo subject
Disability is not always well understood or received in the South Asian community.
My mum told me recently me that when I was born, someone said: “Not only have you had another girl, she’s disabled.” These attitudes have been passed down through generations and disability as a subject is taboo.
I got the job, and then a few people questioned why I wanted to work when I could be entitled to disability benefits.
As well as currently working as a Disability Project Manager for Virgin Media, I also founded the Diversability Card, the UK’s first official discount card for disabled people.
Disability benefits are available but fall short of costs, and disabled people face extra costs of £583 per month on average, through costs such as paying electricity for a wheelchair, adapted clothes and travel insurance.
I never aspired to be a disability rights advocate, but I have an underlying impulse to create change for others.
While sex remains a taboo, the disability culture in context to sex is even more restricted.
A lot of people due to disability have resigned themselves from the sex game.
In a documentary ‘Meet the Devotees’ Emily Yates says, “We end up being one of two things – infantilised or hyper-sexualised – neither of which help with the normalisation of the disability and sex arena.
But in recent time with mainstream media, a lot of taboos are brought to the limelight.
Charities are also helping in spreading awareness by offering online advice on disability and sex.
The article suggests that maybe the taboo can be broken if non-disabled humans accept imperfections of themselves and others and respect it.
There remains a heavy taboo around sex and disability in our culture.
The writer and activist Penny Pepper, who writes extensively about disability and sex, including in her erotica collection Desires Reborn, told me: “If disabled people aren’t having sex, they would like to.
But I’ve still noticed that when you’re dealing with disability or chronic illness, there’s a sense that sex isn’t something you should be worrying about.
Yates said: “We end up being one of two things – infantilised or hypersexualised – neither of which help with the normalisation of the disability and sex arena.
Charities are making good use of the internet, with the disability-led charity Enhance the UK’s Love Lounge offering online advice on sex and dating.
In February, Andrew Gurza, a Canadian disability campaigner and writer, created the hashtag #DisabledPeopleAreHot and saw it go viral.
On taboo topics, the mainstream media generally operates on the basis of “oh, nobody wants to hear about that”.
Meanwhile, in the sex toy industry, a few companies are selling products with disability or health conditions in mind, including Hot Octopuss , Ruby Glow, the retailer Jo Divine, and Spokz, a disability-led site selling sex toys alongside mobility aids.
They head up communications at Hot Octopuss and run Spooniehacker, an online magazine by and for chronically ill and disabled peopleMany men and women still view menstruation as a taboo topic and feel uncomfortable talking about periods, even though they affect 51% of the UK population at some point in their life.
Natalie Taylor looks at whether period pain can constitute a disability and at ways employers can support women with more severe symptoms.
Is period pain a disability?
The Equality Act 2010 covers nine protected characteristics and period pain is not currently one of them, although disability is.
In the recent case of Davies v Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service , the employment tribunal found that the physical effects of menopause may amount to a disability if the effects are long term, substantial and affect the person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
This is the first reported case which reviewed so called “taboo” issues in line with disability discrimination law.
Could period pain amount to a disability? This point has not yet been tested in case law but it is likely to be at some point.
Even if period pain does not amount to a disability for all women, it is nevertheless advisable that employers take period pain seriously and support and assist their employees.
Periods and the associated pain are not a taboo topic as they are natural, regular and normal.
A positive and non-judgmental attitude towards topics which have historically been seen as “taboo” will in turn create a positive and more productive working environment and encourage women to speak more openly about “that time of the month”.
The text of this article was generated by the Breaking The Silence system that collected 11 news articles posted on the web from January 2019 to September 2020 and clustered for the taboo subjects related to disabilities