Disability and Sexuality
CREA works to advance the sexual rights of women, girls and trans persons with disabilities and to strengthen their collective power in movement and decision-making spaces.
CREA challenges harmful stereotypes about the sexuality of people with disabilities that portray them as asexual, hypersexual, incapable to make decisions about their bodies and lives, and therefore, in need of protection. CREA acknowledges that these stereotypes are perpetuated by legal, medical, psychiatric, social and religious institutions resulting in widespread human rights violations including forced sterilization, forced abortion, institutionalization, denial of legal capacity to consent, choose a family structure and sexual partners, exercise parenthood, denial of evidence-based and accessible information about their sexual and reproductive health and rights, and perpetration of various forms of sexual and gender-based violence.
CREA’s work on disability and sexuality is premised on the understanding of disability as a social construction resulting from the interaction between a person’s impairment, bodily and functional experience, and barriers in their environment that restrict the full exercise of their rights and freedoms. These barriers may be physical, communicational or attitudinal, being the latter the ones that result in deeply rooted stigmatization and discrimination. CREA recognizes that the experiences of disability are diverse, multiple and heterogeneous.
CREA seeks to overcome the long standing invisibilisation of the sexual rights of people with disabilities within disability, justice, feminist and human rights movements. CREA partners with feminists with disabilities, disability, LBTI, sex workers and women’s rights groups to encourage cross-movement dialogues, advocacy, solidarity and strategic ally-ship.
CREA’s work on disability and sexuality builds on the following premises:
- Women, girls and trans persons with disabilities are sexual beings who have the right to fully exercise choice and consent related to their lives, bodies, gender and sexuality.
- Including a disability perspective into all discussions about sexuality deepens the political analysis of social movements interested in effectively challenging oppressive sexual and gender norms and advancing the sexual rights of all.
- People with disabilities have the right to seek pleasurable sexual experiences and obtain the accommodations and supports they require to do so.
- Women, girls and trans persons with disabilities are entitled to having full access to their sexual and reproductive rights in a way that acknowledges their experiences and demands.
- Human rights and feminist movements should recognize the role that eugenics has played in the oppression of persons with disabilities and should commit to eliminating its legacy over their discourses, strategies and practices.
- Arrow for Change: Women with Disabilities: Disabled, Sexual, Reproductive. (2017) Published by ARROW and CREA.
- Concept for CREA’s panel: Woman, Disabled, Queer: Working Together for our Sexuality and Rights (2008) AWID International Forum. CREA
- McRuer, Robert. 2006. Crip theory. New York: New York University Press.
- Umoh, Ekaete Judith. Integrating Disability Concern in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. (2007) Paper Presented at the Women Deliver Conference in London.