Having a disability does not mean we lack “ability”. It, perhaps, means, that society will try to tell us what we are able to do or not do. It also means that we have to reinvent ourselves and the way we do things. Are we able to love? Of course we are. Are we able to be lovers and partners and passionate beings? Definitely.
Being a person with a disability pretty much forces us to redefine the way others see the word “ability” and its meaning as it relates to relationships. Many people will erroneously think the disabled body is unable to enjoy intimacy or physical affection. This fear driven myth is one of the oppressors that keep people with disabilities trapped in isolation. The more significant the disability, the more labels we will have to peel in order to assert ourselves and claim our right to our sensual expression.
To this day, disability and sexual intimacy are treated as taboo. It has taken us a long time to even begin touching the subject of sex and disability in the same context. Growing up disabled, I had many encounters with ignorance. Many people stupidly think that people with disabilities are simply unable to fulfill the role of lover or spouse or intimate partner. More often than not, we have to fight to be seen as people with natural needs for love and physical intimacy.
Redefining ability begins with changing the way we view ourselves as sensual beings. It also involves changing the way others look at disability. We do this by no longer accepting the negative labels forced upon us by society. We do it by confronting ignorance and reclaiming our truths. Our average “normality” is one of the first things people notice when the blindfold comes off.