Outing Disability Celebrate Diversity
What: Outing Disability photographic installation
When: 20 November 2015 to 15 January 2016
Where: The Substation, Billboards, 1 Market Street, Newport VIC 3015
Outing Disability is a ground breaking art installation exploring disability and sexuality.
The intimate portraits by internationally acclaimed photographer Belinda Mason challenge many people’s assumptions about disability.
These portraits challenge assumptions about people with a disability, especially those indicating that people with a disability cannot openly express their sexuality and pursue healthy sexual lives.
The Substation and Hobsons Bay City Council are proud to present a selection of five of the portraits as part of this installation.
The installation is part of an exhibition developed by Family Planning NSW.
You can find more information about Outing Disability here: www.fpnsw.org.au/outingdisability
And watch this short film presented by Family Planning NSW in collaboration with filmmakers Liam and Dieter Knierim: http://youtu.be/_21Pvalgvu0
LGBTIQ people with a disability
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) people with a disability face multiple discriminations that can impact their ability to experience sexuality and gender as positive aspects of their lives. People with a disability are often assumed to be asexual and therefore lacking a sexual or gender identity. They may also be assumed to be exclusively heterosexual. This has resulted in people with a disability not being recognised as unique individuals with the diversity of sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status as seen in the community at large.
LGBTIQ people with a disability can struggle to find appropriate support from disability services. It can also be difficult for people with a disability to find a place within the LGBTIQ community. Barriers such as limited physical access, social exclusion and a lack of accessible information mean that joining in community life can be challenging.
Developed to address the invisibility, isolation and exclusion experienced by LGBTIQ people with a disability, Outing Disability used a community engagement approach to ensure people with a disability were not only subjects of the exhibition but valued participants in all aspects of the project.
Below are the accompanying stories that the subjects have shared including their struggles and triumphs of coming out, exploring identity, discovering love and finding pride...
Smiles all round
“I am Terrence. I’m HIV positive. I have dementia, Parkinson’s and a mental illness. I have good days and bad days. I persevere- I try to keep a happy smile on my face. I started writing poetry at the age of 13 and I’m still going full blast. I write about love, boyfriends and life.”
“I’m Sarah, Kat and I are primary partners. I have Multiple Sclerosis and spend much of my time in a wheelchair. There’s this thing that sexuality is about identity and relationships, but it’s also about sex. And that’s a really taboo topic around people with disabilities, but people with disabilities like sex, we want sex, and we have sex. I’m not going to break if I have sex.”
“I’m Anthony. I was born gay. In the evenings I go out to the city where there are a lot of drag shows. Everyone dresses up like I do. One day I want to get married. I can’t wait!”
Strength of self
“I’m Mark. I’ve got an intellectual disability. I’m blind. My cousin, he knows I’m gay. He told me all about it. He said to me don’t worry about it. I go to the gym a lot. I wouldn’t mind a boyfriend. That’s all I want, a cuddle every night.”
Glad to be out
“My name is Georgia. I was born with cerebral palsy. It has a profound impact on who I am, as does being gay. People make assumptions about me, like just because I live in an unruly body I am not a sexual being or sexually desirable. I don’t like how these assumptions infantilise me. I am proud of my body and my sexuality. Sex is a human urge. In recognition of that, we can be viewed as somewhat socially equal.”