Alana Higginson’s op-ed from advocate.com about the challenges of being a person with a disability in the gay community:
A lack of self-esteem can lead to disabled people excluding themselves, but being disabled and a lesbian makes you a minority times two. The result is that the visible lesbian and gay community does not reflect the diversity of LGBT people, and leaves an entire section of the community ignored or marginalised.
Some of us have to conceal our impairments or risk rejection, whether it is from friends, family, school or even bullying in the workplace. Discrimination can come from many different sources, even within the LGBT and the disabled community, the very places you would expect to find support.
How do you deal with a public that still largely sees people with disability as lacking in sex drive? Apparently if you’re a disabled woman you are assumed not to be able to — or have any desire to — have sex.
So where do we go from here? While demanding equal justice, how do we learn about inclusion? How do we make the able bodied among us understand the significance of seeing our disabled sisters, rather than feeling we are being overlooked?
It won’t be easy and it makes the general population feel uncomfortable, but we must get over the many different emotional and psychological fears we have when facing people with disability.
Remember, ability isn’t permanent or a right. It can be taken away in an instance. Your life as you know it can be altered dramatically by a terrible accident, mental breakdown, or the even onset of diabetes.
Disabilities and disable persons within the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community is something that I had not given much thought to myself. I do try and treat everyone with the same level of respect and individuality with which I would want to be treated, but I can’t honestly say how I would feel about dating someone with a disability. I’d like to believe that I would not care, but never having dated anyone with a disability, I can’t say that with 100% certainty. Ms. Higginson has certainly given me something to think about. I’m glad that she has spoken up, which allows me to opened up internally and externally to determine where do I go from here?