The Disability Conversation Must Be Open To All (Even Non-Disabled)

As a writer who occasionally attempts to delve into the issues facing the disability community, the argument of being allowed to speak about something is very real.

Whether spoken or not, the frequent rule is that your opinion only counts if you’re a part of something or afflicted by it. If you aren’t such, you should be cautious about what you say and cautioned before even saying it.

Attempting to simplify the complicated is a tough task because within that complication is often a subconscious reason and chain of history that led to it in the first place.

Five years of writing about disability issues such as funding shortages, leadership, service providers and disabled people’s sexuality has, so far, been anything but simple. It’s taught me a hell of a lot, but it’s always been a struggle.

In fact, I can’t remember a single blog or article that was simple to write and never has there been one that was simply received by what is a very complicated community. Continue reading The Disability Conversation Must Be Open To All (Even Non-Disabled)

Ethical Brothels and Sex for Disabled People

The recent story about “ethical brothels” published by NZME has once again exposed an intolerable truth. New Zealand’s society still judges those who work in the sex industry and the consumers who’ve made it the “oldest profession in the book”.

The term brothel, and the wider ideologies about prostitution, have incurred many stigmas that haven’t changed since the sex industry became more prominent in New Zealand. Prostitution was made legal in this country over 14 years ago; it’s hardly an outrage for there to be such a high consumer base. Some critics still argue that the sex industry shouldn’t be discussed in mainstream culture; and in the disability world the discussions around this are only just beginning.

But yet, people (whether they are disabled or not) who purchase these legal sex services are labelled and stigmatized by a society that is completely hypocritical.

In 2017, society is more sexualised and diverse than ever, it’s just a question of those people who actually chose to accept that. The issue at hand here isn’t about brothels and how they choose to run their business, it’s the morals of the onlookers. Those onlookers are just like you and I, they form an opinion based on their own bias and current life situation.

It isn’t for them to say what’s right and wrong, because what seems to be the “moral” thing to do in their eyes may be entirely out of the question for someone else. There is nothing wrong with men, or women for that matter, to engage in sex services that are provided on a legal and safe basis.

The lady running the brothel in the recent “ethical prostitution” story that ran on the Herald last week raised a perfectly valid point when she said that men seek the services of the sex industry for entirely plausible reasons. Some may have a stale marriage, others may be too busy caught up in work to have a relationship but still want that intimate human touch. The onlookers who judge both those who work as prostitutes, and the people who are consumers of it, simply believe that it’s impossible to achieve such intimacy with a sex worker. That’s entirely incorrect and it’s ignorant to hold such beliefs.

People with disabilities can find relationships and achieve healthy sex lives without the help of the sex industry. This has been proven. But for those who choose to access the services that the sex industry provides, that should be equally as acceptable. People with disabilities are often looked as as asexual; this means that they have no desire for sex. Some viewpoints are often that the disabled are incapable of having sex and cannot feel the pleasures associated with it. Both claims are untrue.

Sex and physical intimacy, or the lack thereof, for people with disabilities in one of the most rampant and undiscussed issues that’s ever faced the disabled community worldwide.

 

Disabled Leadership: A dividing definition

Disabled Leadership is the hot topic for many organisations that support people and families with disabilities. But with all the great things going on, does there need to be a little more clarification about just what Disabled Leadership is?

The first thing to say is that leadership will mean different things to different people, so the exact answer to this discussion may never be clear.

For some people, leadership may be leading from the front in their own lives, and for others, it may be advocacy work or striving to make positive change in their community.

Many disabled people are now more firmly in control of their own lives than ever before. But does this mean that they are all leaders? Continue reading Disabled Leadership: A dividing definition