Reflections on the IF event on disability rights and sexual health

14 December 2020

On 7th of December 2020 IF was joined by the European Disability Forum, the European Network for Independent Living and MEP Stelios Kympouropoulos for an online event on disability rights and sexual health. 

SBH and sexuality is an important issue for IF Members. Breaking the taboo of disability and sex and demanding inclusive sex education and sexual healthcare programmes is essential in order to advance the rights of individuals with SBH and ensure the full implementation of the UNCRPD. 

The webinar began with opening remarks given by MEP Stelios Kympouropoulos. The IF Task Force on Sexual Health gave a presentation on their work and research (see report  “Insights from Focus Group Discussions on Sexual Health between Individuals with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus” here). Outlining the results of IF Survey on Sexuality and focus groups interviews. The results of which demonstrated that individuals with SBH have specific concerns about their disability and how it affects their relationships and sexuality. Highlighting the need to break the taboo surrounding this topic, not just amongst society but also within the disability and SBH movement itself as well. 

IF was also joined by youth representatives from the European Disability Forum and the European Network for Independent Living. Their contributions and diverse perspectives were incredibly valuable to the success of the event. By collaborating with other disability organisations IF was able to facilitate discussions which were inclusive of diverse lived experiences. But while acknowledging and exploring different experiences was very important, the event demonstrated that there is an important commonality as well. 

As one of the panelists stated “sexuality is a central aspect of being human” and for too long there has been an assumption in society that persons with disabilities do not have a sexuality. 

IF extends its sincere gratitude to MEP Stelios Kympouropoulos for his support, participation and valuable insight given during the discussions. IF also thanks everyone at EDF and ENIL for their collaboration and contributions. 

Lastly but certainly not the least, IF thanks all of the panelists for their participation and insightful comments. 

IF looks forward to continue the work on the important topic of sexuality.