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Sexuality and Disability India

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Kiran holds a woman by the waist while she makes a dance gesture with her hands. Others look on laughing

Discussing sexuality and disability with trainers from across the country

For the first time in India, Sexuality and Disability hosted a Train the Trainers workshop where professionals working in the field of disability rights and sexuality came together from across the country to share knowledge and discuss ideas.

Over the course of 4 days in April 2017, several participants and workshop facilitators conducted various sessions for a better understanding of the intersections of gender, sexuality and disability. Participants hailed from places all over India – such as Jyoti Gogoi, a special educator at Shishu Sarothi in Guwahati and Kiran, a trans man working with Solidarity Foundation in Bangalore on a fellowship.

Participants were asked to write down all that they wanted to learn from this workshop – ranging from sex education to workshop methodology. Nidhi Goyal from Point of View then led the participants into understanding the three models of disability – namely the Medical, Social and Charity models. During the discussion, the participants narrated anecdotes of their own experiences – whether it be working with people with disabilities or the discrimination they had themselves faced based on their own disabilities. One participant said, ‘I am independent but when I’m at the airport, the staff keeps asking me how I’m travelling alone. It always reminds you of your disability.’ Kiran narrated an anecdote where a census taker spent an hour puzzling over how he was transgender, Adivasi and disabled.

After this, the group discussed what are generally considered the three main issues of disability – education, employment, and accessibility. This was followed by two film screenings that dealt with lack of healthcare and sex education for youth by Ankita from FAT (Feminist Approach to Technology).

The second half of Day 1 saw Dipika Srivastava from TARSHI discuss the intricacies of sexuality, which includes both pleasure and violence, along with body image and societal pressure. The day ended with some wonderful exercises on self expression and understanding power dynamics, led by Shreshtha Das from CREA.