FeminismIntersectional Issues

Why Disability is a Feminist Issue

TW for discussions of Rape

  • Because the likelihood of having my symptoms taken seriously is increased if I present male
  • Because the statistics on the risk of sexual assault and rape for people with disabilities have been listed as high as 80%.
  • Because I’ve been told that my rape doesn’t count because it involved a doctor and a medical instrument.
  • Because I’ve been told that people with disabilities can’t be raped because no one wants to have sex with them.
  • Because discussions about body positivity never seem to include sick and damaged bodies.
  • Because the social concept of “sexiness” excludes those of us with physical disability.
  • Because my bodily autonomy being in question puts my life at risk.
  • Because the standard doses, side effects, and risks for my medication were not determined with my body in mind but was based on how cis males (usually white) reacted.
  • Because my symptoms were ignored for years because of medically assumptions about cis female bodies that turned out to be false.
  • Because the first question whenever I go into the hospital is always “Are you sure you are not pregnant”. Always.
  • Because every medical form I’ve ever seen only gives me the options male or female under gender.
  • Because even sex positive folk rarely discuss the difficulties faced by disabled people when it comes to sex: physical issues, the need for preparation, the desexualisation we face by society, etc.

If you have more reasons, I would love to hear them in the comments. If you are a person of colour, I would love to hear reasons why disability is also a race issue.

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Ania Onion Bula

Ania Onion Bula

A student of biomedical sciences, psychology, and English literature. Ania was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis in 2006 which resulted in permanent damage to her hips. In 2008 she was also diagnosed with Crohn's disease, along with anxiety, ADHD, and disability related depression later on. She is finishing up a book called Young, Sick, and Invisible: A Skeptic's Journey with Chronic Illness.

Along with writing, Ania also makes her living by selling her Art under the store name AniaOnion Creations on Etsy. She spends her free time reading, and spending time with her dog, two cats, and three turtles, oh, and her Alex.

1 Comment

  1. September 29, 2014 at 5:13 pm —

    Because for decades my disability (autism) was seen as something that only occurs in men, leaving people like me undiagnosed and at risk. Still today it’s sometimes viewed as a male disprder, and still today it’s under diagnosed in women…also in people of colour, due primarily to lack of access to assessment. As little support there is for autistic adults there is even less for women, and little gender-specific support for girls, as we present differently and are held to different standards to men…it’s not so bad when we struggle to talk or when we struggle socially, as we’re supposed to be demure.

    As well as risk of rape or sexual abuse, general abuse, coercion into medical treatments or also agreeing to DNR…disabled people more likely to be murdered, and when we are the general public side with our murderers because of what they had to ‘put up with’ in caring for us.

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