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Ace of Wheels: Defying a Commonly Held Stereotype about the LGBTQA+ Community


A fat person, wearing a pink tank top, has a rainbow tattoo on both arms. The one on the right is a sideways figure 8 and has a rainbow-beaded bracelet on that wrist. On the left, it is an inward facing spiral. Their fingers are laced together and a handle of a handbag is resting underneath their bust, hidden by their right arm. This view is from the neck down. Source: Alexander Grey/Pexels

How Does Having a Disability Intersect with Asexuality?


Poet Mille McCully Brown has faced many questions about her ability to have sex, ranging from ignorant to outwardly cruel, all because her body, in her words, “was a doctor’s best attempt, a thing to manage and make up for ''. That’s an eloquent way of presenting one of the public’s more benign opinions of disabled people - that they can’t have or are too stunted to understand sex. While there is the argument that society perpetuates these stereotypes by rendering sex inaccessible through the lack of sex ed lessons either catering to disabled bodies or using language that people with learning disabilities can understand, it also begs the following question - why is the perceived inability to have sex such a big issue in the first place? Disabled people should be present in all parts of the LGBTQA+ community. so why is the first response within them fear of fulfilling a stereotype?


Physical Disability and Asexuality


Whether someone has a physical disability, a learning disability, or, in some cases, both, it means they have to adapt. When it comes to physical disability in particular, some physical activities are extremely difficult or even impossible, such as walking or sitting up independently. When a person is in this sort of situation, some find alternatives or are more content with what they can do rather than fixing what they can’t. Simply put, the basics become more important than sexual gratification; you can’t have a good time in bed if you’re worried about how you’re going to get on the toilet - a reality faced by many physically disabled every day. Thus, allonormativity (the societal expectation that everyone should work towards a sexual or romantic relationship) is automatically superseded by personal care.


Autistic Understanding of Allonormavitity that Leads Them into the LGBTQA+ Community

Autistic teenagers and adults are often mischaracterised as too innocent or clueless with regards to the importance of sex in alllosexual relationships, but what if they understood something more abstract? Allonormativity is a social construct. Sociologically, these are defined as concepts that are "created by people in society through shared interpretations and assumptions''. In other words, most people assume that a fulfilling intimate relationship must include sex. Typically, autistic people have trouble understanding such ideas, and while this commonly manifests itself as struggling to decode metaphors in English lessons at school, it also applies to social attitudes. While most people without autism are not likely to question social constructs until they are introduced to material that presents an alternative point of view, autistic people have a tendency to have issues with these things because it is an unspoken rule that non-autistic people assume everyone adheres to - they see through the veil of maintaining the sexual status quo, because they know, at least to some degree, that it is a tool for affirming the nuclear family.


Conclusion

Ultimately, rather than thinking of asexual disabled people as conforming to a harmful stereotype, we should hail them as the pioneers that saw through the illusion of allonormativity, either because they've had to, or because they already know that it's propaganda to control the masses.


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