Disability and Sexuality Negative Viewpoints

There was an interesting article in the Independent newspaper

Here is an important quote from the article.
Research has shown that disabled people are less likely to have a long-term partner or marry than non-disabled people (although this is dependent on impairment type). When a 2014 newspaper poll asked Britons if they had ever had sex with someone who had a physical disability, 44 per cent said: “No, and I don’t think I would.”

Disabled people’s sexuality has been suppressed, exploited and, at times, destroyed, over many centuries. It has been seen as suspect, set apart and different from the sexuality of non-disabled people. So how can we shift the negative images of disability and sexuality that still dominate society’s attitudes? Well, disabled people and their allies have been campaigning for change for decades and, while it is not going to be easy, change is on the way. But with it comes new controversies.

Dr Tom Shakespeare, a disabled academic, wrote The Sexual Politics of Disability nearly 20 years ago, and it remains one of the few evidence-based studies in the field. “Images of disability and sexuality either tend to be absent – disabled people being presented as asexual – or else perverse and hypersexual,” he says.

He believes that, in the wider community, disabled men (and, to a lesser extent, women), are rendered impotent and sexless by disability, and thus are seen as unattractive and vulnerable to mockery and exploitation. (As Cicero wrote: “In deformity and bodily disfigurement, there is good material in making jokes.”) And this may explain an assumption often made in the past – that it was better to shield disabled people from reaching out for sexual relationships rather than risk the chance of them being rejected. There was an expectation that disabled people’s sexual desires should be set aside and ignored, because they should not – or could not – be satisfied.

Circumcision can increase autism, research suggests.

Circumcision before the age of five can double a boy’s risk of developing autism, controversial research suggests.
Scientists believe the finding may be linked to stress caused by the pain of the procedure.
The study of more than 340,000 boys in Denmark found that circumcision raised the overall chances of an autism spectrum disorder before the age of 10 by 46 per cent.
But if circumcision took place before the age of five it doubled the risk.
Circumcision also appeared to increase the likelihood of boys from non-Muslim families developing hyperactivity disorder.

The research, published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, examined more than 340,000 boys born in Denmark between 1994 and 2003.
At the age of nine, their health was tracked – and almost 5,000 cases of ASD were diagnosed.
Professor Morten Frisch of the Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, who led the research, said: ‘Our investigation was prompted by the combination of recent animal findings linking a single painful injury to lifelong deficits in stress response…and a study showing a strong, positive correlation between a country’s neonatal male circumcision rate and its prevalence of ASD in boys.

Professor Frisch said: ‘Given the widespread practice of circumcision in infancy and childhood around the world, our findings should prompt other researchers to examine the possibility that circumcision trauma in infancy or early childhood might carry an increased risk of serious neurodevelopmental and psychological consequences.
However experts have urged caution over the findings.
Professor Jeremy Turk, Consultant Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist at Southwark Child & Adolescent Mental Health Neurodevelopmental Service, said: ‘The findings of this research, while interesting, need to be considered carefully – one cannot draw very strong conclusions from the data.

Should Obesity be classed as a disability?

Is obesity a disability or a self-inflicted condition triggered by a lack of willpower and overeating?

Should people who are overweight be protected by the same discrimination laws that were put in place to shield those who are wheelchair users, people with learning difficulties, hearing and visual impairments or those with autism spectrum disorders? A landmark test case being brought before judges at the European Court of Justice has sparked an intense debate on the issue.

The result of it may mean British companies will have to treat obese workers as ‘disabled’, making allowances for their size by providing larger sized seats and parking spaces closer to the office.

Karsten Kaltoft is taking action after he was sacked by his local authority in Denmark for being unable to perform his duties as a childminder, due to his size.

The council, alleged the 25 stone childminder was so fat that he required help from a co-worker to tie up children’s shoelaces. Mr Kaltoft’s lawyers could force widespread changes in the way bosses deal with staff if successful in redefining obesity as a disability.
Currently in the UK the ruling is clear, the Equality Act 2010 refrained from classing obesity as a disability.

Instead the Government definition is that a person is ‘disabled under the Equality Act 2010, if they have a mental or physical impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on a person’s ability to do normal daily activities.’. However for many people living with a disability, they self-define themselves as such, basing their disability more on the barriers society puts in the way of them leading the life they wish.

For someone stuck in a wheelchair ascending the steps to a cinema or restaurant, can provide a barrier and as a result a person is likely to class themselves as disabled.

Claire Dawson, employment lawyer at Slater & Gordon, declared the judgement “should encourage and support the full participation of obese people in the workplace”.
She said: “Obesity in itself has not previously been classed as a disability in UK law.
“However, where an obese person has other health difficulties that can be associated with and potentially compounded by obesity, such as mobility difficulties, diabetes or depression, these may give rise to protection against disability discrimination at work.

Disability charity Scope asked users and followers for their views on the debate, via Twitter and Facebook. The overwhelming response from members of the public was that obesity should not be classed as a disability.

TV personality Katie Hopkins sums it up by tweeting that “obesity was not a disability if you could walk to the fridge and stuff your face”.

Former Olympic coach Dave Smith also tweeted “obesity has grown from lifestyle to disease to disability all from the abuse of the hole in your face.”.

A study conducted by the university of Tubingen in 2012 showed that overweight people have a harder time finding work with fat women experiencing the most discrimination. Researcher Ansgar Thiel said: “Only 2 % of those surveyed matched the obese women in … pictures with a prestigious profession. And only about 6 % of respondents thought that they would be among the final choices for the head of department position.” Equality for women in the workplace and politics is still an issue. The extra pounds are another obstacle to overcome.

Undoubtedly this is a debate that will not go away easily says David Miller who runs the UK website www.disabilitymatch.co.uk – “we have members who are obese but quite often that is more a result of an underlying disability or side effect of a medication. Obesity from poor lifestyle choices is maybe a different issue entirely.”

UN Disability Day December 3rd

Today is one of the most important days of the year for the global disability community – we are pleased that this is so high on the egenda of the UN and we bring you a summary of waht this day means.

Over one billion people, or approximately 15 per cent of the world’s population, live with some form of disability!

Around the world, persons with disabilities face physical, social, economic and attitudinal barriers that exclude them from participating fully and effectively as equal members of society. They are disproportionately represented among the world’s poorest, and lack equal access to basic resources, such as education, employment, healthcare and social and legal support systems, as well as have a higher rate of mortality. In spite of this situation, disability has remained largely invisible in the mainstream development agenda and its processes.

Earlier, the international disability movement achieved an extraordinary advance in 2006, with the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Convention follows decades of work by the United Nations to change attitudes and approaches to disability that would ensure the full equality and participation of persons with disabilities in society. The Convention is intended as a human rights instrument with an explicit, development dimension. However, to realize equality and participation for persons with disabilities, they must be included in all development processes and, now more importantly, in the new emerging post-2015 development framework.

The UN General Assembly in the recent years has repeatedly emphasized that the genuine achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and other internationally agreed development goals, requires the inclusion and integration of the rights, and well-being, as well as the perspective of persons with disabilities in development efforts at national, regional and international levels.

Toward this end, in 2011, the General Assembly convened the High Level Meeting on development and disability (HLMDD) at the level of Heads of State and Government, on 23 September 2013, under the theme: “The way forward: a disability inclusive development agenda towards 2015 and beyond”.

The High Level Meeting was held at a strategic timing of the UN history. It took place five years after the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities entered into force, two years after release of the World Report on Disability and two years away from 2015 — the target date for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) — and thereafter, the commencement of the post-2015 agenda and new development priorities.

All about amputee dating

I am very happy to add a video from our sister site www.amputeedate.co.uk which is a specialised site for people looking for amputees or amputees looking for people;-)  both ways work.   Amputees seem to have more emphasis on fetish dating than regular disabled daters or wheelchair users.   There are a breed of amputee seekers who are known as devotees who seek out disabled women to admire and worship.  I know we get a bit of this on regular disabled sites like disabilitymatch but on amputee sites there is a greater emphasis on the bizarre.  You even have people who undergo elective amputation – ugh – to make themselves more sexually interesting.  Personally I get unhappy with elective tooth removal let alone losing a limb.  I really dont understand the appeal but heigh ho live is varied and different folks different strokes.  Even more odd to my mind are people who are ‘pretenders’ i.e they dress like amputees and use wheelchairs and other disabled parephenalia.  From what i can see they have fan clubs and sell overpriced photos and videos of themselves online.  But please ‘like’ this video and spread good karma on youtube.

Dating with Crohn’s Disease and IBD

We have just produced a new video for YouTube all about Crohn’s Disease.  We realise how difficult it is for people with bowel problems and the resulting issues with intimacy.  Disabilitymatch is a great solution for daters who have problems such as IBD, ulcerative colitis and colostomy pouches..

If you view this video please like it and comment. When you comment do let us know what sort of topics you would like us to do videos about.  In a later post we will discuss tips on how to develop intimacy when one or other partner has a stoma and what is the etiquette when you start staying over at their place.

Shame as ‘degraded’ blind man abused and refused taxi in Warrington

A BLIND man says he feels degraded after a taxi driver swore at him outside Warrington Central station.

The Warrington Guardian understands that Edward Green, from Birchwood, was refused a ride because of he has a guide dog.

The Warrington Guardian understands that Edward Green, from Birchwood, was refused a ride because of he has a guide dog.

Mr Green, who has severe myopia, said: “He point blank refused to take me. Someone came to help and pointed to the disabled sticker in the cab.

“But he said that was for wheelchairs and swore at me.

“I felt degraded to not be able to take a taxi like anyone else. I was shocked. I said there was no need to shout at me.”

The law states that taxi drivers cannot discriminate on grounds of disability and Warrington Borough Council says it is taking the incident ‘extremely seriously’.

Another driver from Direct Taxis was parked behind the taxi in the rank and came to Mr Green’s aid.

Tristan Pickwick, administration assistant for Direct Taxis, based at Evans House, said: “Our driver got out and gave assistance. He took the gentleman to his destination after being refused by the driver before him.

“He also made a note of the licence plate number and gave Warrington Borough Council’s phone number for the gentleman to ring and complain. We’re in the process of informing the council.”

The incident occurred on September 12 at 10.15am when Mr Green was making his way to Remploy in Mersey Street.

The taxi driver who refused to take Mr Green and his guide dog, golden retriever Macca, has not been identified.

But Mr Pickwick wanted to clarify that he was not a Direct Taxis driver.

He said: “All our drivers are trained in dealing with customers with various disabilities.

“We currently provide transport to more than 200 disabled people a week in the Warrington area and we pride ourselves on the service we provide to our customers.”

A spokesman for Warrington Borough Council added: “The council is aware of this complaint and is taking it extremely seriously.

Microsoft lends a hand to the blind

A headset that talks visually impaired people around cities has been designed by Microsoft.

It works with a Windows phone and uses location and navigation data with a network of information beacons in urban locations to describe routes.

Charity Guide Dogs, which helped develop the technology, said it could help improve lives.

However, some experts have questioned how realistic the technology will be to roll out widely if it is to rely on a network of beacons attached to street furniture.  This is such exciting news, it does of course depend on a suitable network of signal transmitters on street furniture but at least it shows how Microsoft can use its muscle to help blind pedestrians.  This is excellent.


Mencap concerns over lack of Learning disability support.

No NHS hospital in England has 24-hour learning disability (LD) nurse cover and more than 40 per cent of NHS trusts do not even employ a single LD nurse, according to Freedom of Information requests from the charity. NHS workforce figures show that there has been a 30 per cent cut in the number of LD nurses employed in the health service over the past five years.

The charity said that the absence of specialist nursing support was putting lives at risk. People with learning disabilities often find it difficult to communicate their condition, and Mencap said there had been numerous cases in which doctors had dismissed dangerous symptoms as merely an aspect of a patient’s disability. The number of LD nurses employed in the English NHS has fallen from 5,700 in September 2009, to fewer than 4,000 in July this year – the month for which data exist.

Research commissioned by Mencap last year estimated that 1,200 people with learning disabilities are dying “needlessly” in the NHS each year, largely due to delays or problems in investigating illnesses.

In their role as go-between for patients, families and doctors, LD nurses can help speed up diagnoses, which in some cases can be the difference between life and death.

However, severe budget pressures on NHS hospitals have led managers to look for savings wherever possible, and Mencap has expressed concern that LD nurses are being viewed as expendable.

Jan Tregelles, chief executive of Mencap, has called for better training for NHS employees. In an open letter co-signed by representatives of the British Medical Association and the Royal College of Nursing, the charity also calls for 24-hour LD nurse cover across the NHS.

“Every year, 1,200 people with a learning disability are dying prematurely because the health system is not meeting their needs,” they wrote. “This is three people a day. How many more lives have to be lost until every hospital has dedicated learning disability liaison nurses?”

Labour’s shadow minister for public health, Luciana Berger, said that the fall in the number of LD nurses was “unacceptable”. “These shortages are putting vulnerable people at unnecessary risk,” she said. “Under David Cameron, the number of learning disability nurses has fallen. Labour will train and employ more LD nurses as a matter of urgency.


Sleep Apnea is a Disability

I wanted to talk briefly today about sleep apnea which has become more and more of a problem because of its close association with obesity.  My brother-in-law was a sufferer of sleep apnea and was monstrously overweight.  He also suffered the associated ailment of the Pickwick syndrome named after the boy in Pickwick papers who keeps dozing off.  This was terrible problem for him because he worked as a VIP guide and chauffeur which meant long hours behind the wheel often late at night – how he didn’t crash I never knew.  Unfortunately he died from bowel cancer some time back so his actual apnea problem is no longer important.  It led me to reflect though on the general problem of sleep disability and what can be done for it.  My brother in law was prescribed a night mask which helped a bit and also they operated to remove some of the fat around his chin.  Other people need less extreme solutions and can often get by very well with a mouth guard or other device to keep the airways open.  I noticed a nifty little video on the subject which I will share since it has a cute cartoon character promoting a well respected snoring remedy.


I will talk more about this problem at a later date. Thanks for reading.