Disability, Sexuality, and Stigma

Katherine Quarmby offers a critical framing of the stigma attached to sexuality and people with disabilities, both historically and today. The article draws on the work of Dr. Tom Shakespeare, author of the seminal The Sexual Politics of Disability. Eugenics’ hereditary ideas of “fit” and “unfit” bodies was crucial in creating the pervasive trope of “contamination” that Shakespeare identifies as one of four tropes surrounding sexuality and people with disabilities.

“Asexual, hypersexual, perverse and contaminated: these four damaging tropes from history combine to form a bitter legacy for disabled people.”

lead
Sofie Middernacht and Maarten Alexander/Mosaic, via The Atlantic

Read Quarmby’s article in full. 

See also: Sins Invalid, a national performance project that uses performance art as a platform to reframe conversations about sexuality and disability through an intersectional LGBTQ and people of color lens.