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Author Topic: Disabled Rights: Couple Fights for Right to Live Together  (Read 1638 times)

FollowerofOdin

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Re: Disabled Rights: Couple Fights for Right to Live Together
« Reply #15 on: May 16, 2013, 08:14:02 pm »
Quote from: Sophia Catherine;108591
These people are not children. Disability rights activists have been fighting for the right for disabled people (including those with learning disabilities) to live together and have sex for a long, long time. I have colleagues who work and do research with many, many people with learning difficulties and other disabilities who are still denied the right to have sex, get married and do all the things that the rest of us accept as intrinsic to our human rights (Article 8: the right to a family and private life).

Yes, there are issues of consent here. However, one of the worst ways to conceive of consent issues is to start comparing disabled adults to children. A better way is to work with each disabled adult who has a (normal, healthy) desire for sex, marriage and family life, assessing their ability to consent. I can't comment on the specific situation in this newspaper story, though, because I have no idea what their ability levels actually are (IQ points mean very little and are not helpful for understanding someone's real capacity to consent). But the 'they are children' approach is offensive, unhelpful and denies people their agency.

Here's an article I wrote for the Guardian a few years ago, on a related-but-not-the-same issue. The stuff on disability and sex is the relevant stuff that I wanted to highlight - the prostitution issue is a slightly different one.

And yes, many of today's social attitudes towards disability and sex/marriage are an inheritance of the eugenics movement - which didn't only exist in Nazi Germany, but was an ideology and associated practice accepted across Europe and North America. If it hadn't been for the horrors of Nazi Germany, it is likely that eugenics would have taken root as a widespread practice across the 'democratic' world. Sometimes, it takes seeing things at their worst extreme for society to understand what's wrong with those practice.

Finally, the term 'normative' used for non-disabled people *really* pisses me off. Just wanted to add.

Oh, and if anyone wants to read more about real people with learning difficulties and their real opinions on being denied their rights to sex, sex education, marriage and family life, read the accessible report by the CHANGE project. I know the researchers who worked with people with learning difficulties on the research project. It was fantastic research, and I hope it will make some policy-makers give this issue more thought than they would have done otherwise.


Years ago I found out that the United States, the country that I'm suppose to be proud of, did this horrible thing to mentally challenged people and others, like black girls. It made me cry that the United States agreed with what Hitler did, among other things. It really made me doubt how great this country is.

mandrina

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Re: Disabled Rights: Couple Fights for Right to Live Together
« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2013, 01:50:04 pm »
Quote from: FollowerofOdin;108862
Years ago I found out that the United States, the country that I'm suppose to be proud of, did this horrible thing to mentally challenged people and others, like black girls. It made me cry that the United States agreed with what Hitler did, among other things. It really made me doubt how great this country is.

They did this horrible thing to POOR people, many of color, some of not, a good number of whom were not actually mentally challenged.  And truthfully, the US didn't agree with what Hitler did, Hitler agreed with what the US did (as well as some other countries).  It took him taking it to the logical extreme for the rest of us (or at least most of the rest of us) to come to our senses.

This situation actually doesn't have all that much in common, because while here the question is not of marriage, since the state didn't investigate whether or not this couple had capacity to give consent, they just said, two adults, not related, ok.  THe state is not stopping them from living together as a married couple, their living situations are stopping them from living together.  It probably happens to be partially, if not wholly paid for by the state, but it's not the state that is oreventing them from living together.  It's the fact that there are no closeby group homes that accept married couples that also have two open spots that they can take and the lack of alternatives for them.  What's going to be 'interesting' (in the chinese curse sense of the word) is what happens when the state has recognized SSM, these two have won their case and the state has mandated that this home allow them to live as married (setting a precedent), and two people in a single sex religiously supported group home decide to get married.  My understanding is that the catholic church runs a good lot of these, and if they are forced to allow a SSM couple to enter or remain, they very well may shut them down rather than accept the situation.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2013, 01:52:50 pm by mandrina »
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Re: Disabled Rights: Couple Fights for Right to Live Together
« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2013, 01:17:33 am »
Minor spoilers for The Hunger Games trilogy in my post, y'all. Just a warning.

Quote from: Sophia Catherine;108674
There are lots of people there sharing their stories, all with learning disabilities, who have difficulty with everything from managing their financial matters* to living independently**. They all still have the right to sex, sex education, marriage and family life. As they all assert, clearly and with authority and dignity, in that report.


*Which is something that I couldn't do without my partner, being on the autistic spectrum. Thank gods no one has (yet) decided this means I don't have the 'capacity' for the things that I want to do.

**I can't do that either.


I'm in a similar situation. There may have been a time when I could have lived independently and had a really shitty quality of life, because there's just so much I can't handle. Now I can't do it at all -- the fact that I'm alone in my apartment right now does not mean I'm living independently.

For me it's partially learning disabilities/mental illness and partially physical disability. I can't work a "regular job", and I'm not disabled enough to get support from the gov't -- not that it's worth it, because it's so little it wouldn't pay a mouse's rent, and the second you start to make extra money to help supplement it they cut you off completely. I work from home and barely make enough to pay the rent, let alone buy groceries or pay back student loans or any of the other myriad financial stuff I need to deal with that just dealing with sends me into a tailspin of anxiety and terror and curl-up-into-little-ball-and-shake-ness.

So far no one has told me that I can't possibly consent because of my disabilities, but I have been told I can't give meaningful consent to my relationship because I've been brainwashed by the patriarchy and all PIV sex is actually rape, I'm just too stupid to realize I'm engaged to the "enemy". Mind you these same folks continually erase my existence as a non-binary person, so their words are poison/worthless/take your pick, but still. The argument -- no matter where it's coming from -- is bullshit. It is denying peoples' agency when we start speculating on whether or not they can give meaningful consent for sex or marriage when they are saying We are consenting to this.

There's basically a very strong thread of "people need to be NORMAL and PERFECTLY HEALTHY before they can consent to things!" running through all these arguments. I need to go through therapy and heal the trauma before I can have sex again. We need to abolish the patriarchy before PIV sex isn't rape. Katniss Everdeen needs therapy before she should be with anyone, least of all Peeta.

No, fuck that. Mental illness, PTSD, or the existence of an overarching gender-based oppressive hierarchy does not prevent us from making meaningful decisions for ourselves; Katniss can date whomever the hell she wants because goddamn hasn't she had her agency denied enough already jesus christ; disabilities do not prevent us from making meaningful decisions for ourselves any more than age does.

I mean, there's ageism in this whole thing too. I was consensually sexually active when I was very young, but people dismiss it as "experimentation" because it happened to be with another female-bodied individual around the same age. We were both consenting, but obviously we "didn't know any better" thus it wasn't actual sexual activity; it was "experimentation; a phase".

And that ageism is tied into disableism, too -- the constant referring to disabled people as children, the fact that a lot of mental illness includes being unable to handle a lot of "adult" life. (See: This Is Why I'll Never Be An Adult by Allie Brosh.) When really 'adult life' is just a collection of Things We Must Do that we've arbitrarily decided are part of being an adult because of the society we've created, but I digress.


Anyway this was a huge ramble that was basically me saying "I'm on the same page as you, Sophia, and thank you for your posts. Also I can't give you any more rep so have a ramble instead."
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FollowerofOdin

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Re: Disabled Rights: Couple Fights for Right to Live Together
« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2013, 02:39:04 pm »
Quote from: mandrina;108935
They did this horrible thing to POOR people, many of color, some of not, a good number of whom were not actually mentally challenged.  And truthfully, the US didn't agree with what Hitler did, Hitler agreed with what the US did (as well as some other countries).  It took him taking it to the logical extreme for the rest of us (or at least most of the rest of us) to come to our senses.

This situation actually doesn't have all that much in common, because while here the question is not of marriage, since the state didn't investigate whether or not this couple had capacity to give consent, they just said, two adults, not related, ok.  THe state is not stopping them from living together as a married couple, their living situations are stopping them from living together.  It probably happens to be partially, if not wholly paid for by the state, but it's not the state that is oreventing them from living together.  It's the fact that there are no closeby group homes that accept married couples that also have two open spots that they can take and the lack of alternatives for them.  What's going to be 'interesting' (in the chinese curse sense of the word) is what happens when the state has recognized SSM, these two have won their case and the state has mandated that this home allow them to live as married (setting a precedent), and two people in a single sex religiously supported group home decide to get married.  My understanding is that the catholic church runs a good lot of these, and if they are forced to allow a SSM couple to enter or remain, they very well may shut them down rather than accept the situation.

 
So who actually started the whole sterilization practice? The U.S or Germany? Never mind, mother just answered my question.

Fausta

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Re: Disabled Rights: Couple Fights for Right to Live Together
« Reply #19 on: May 21, 2013, 07:09:59 pm »
Quote from: FollowerofOdin;109123
So who actually started the whole sterilization practice? The U.S or Germany? Never mind, mother just answered my question.

 
For those who don't know and hasn't heard your mother's answer, there's this:
https://www.hsl.virginia.edu/historical/eugenics/2-origins.cfm
this http://www.preceden.com/timelines/32885-history-of-eugenics
and this http://www.eugenicsarchive.org/eugenics/
 for starters.

(In short, the sterilization practices first started in the US, others then followed suit.)

Asch

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Re: Disabled Rights: Couple Fights for Right to Live Together
« Reply #20 on: May 31, 2013, 03:40:35 am »
Quote from: FollowerofOdin;108862
Years ago I found out that the United States, the country that I'm suppose to be proud of, did this horrible thing to mentally challenged people and others, like black girls. It made me cry that the United States agreed with what Hitler did, among other things. It really made me doubt how great this country is.

 
Not to continue to belabor the point but U.S. history is far far far from what gradeschool myths would lead us to believe. I'd encourage you to gird your loins and wade into the deep end to see what blood has been shed and for what pointless brutal greedy reasons in our history.

That's not to say that the negative outweighs the good (if such a determination can even be made) but eyes wide open beat eyes wide shut any time.

If nothing else forewarned is forearmed.

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