Against a law to “protect” disabled people

I sent a letter tonight to a Democratic Congresswoman from Massachusetts who just proposed a law to “protect” disabled people from being represented in pornography, with the same law that forbids child pornography. Wheelchair Dancer says it very well:

Absolutely, anyone, disabled or non, should be protected from abuse. But laws that prevent people from being able to give consent are also no good. People over the age of 60 have sex, act in and consume porn. People with disabilities have sex, act in and consume porn. Not to allow people this kind of autonomy is to deny them their humanity.

And here’s my letter, short and sweet.

Hello Representative Reinstein,
I am not a huge fan of porn, or of the porn industry, or of weird fetishists. I am a 40 year old woman and a mother and a feminist, who has used a wheelchair on and off for the last 20 years. I’ll do as I please with my body and images of it. I don’t need a law to “protect” me, by forbidding me to enter into consensual agreements.
Please talk to a wider range of people with disabilities, before trying to make laws to “protect” them.
I see your good intention here, but the effect is condescending and paternalistic. And that is destructive. I fight as an activist for disability rights — including our right to be seen as fully sexual beings.
The edges of sexual freedom include many problematic situations that are exploitative.
But the solution is not to make laws that treat us as children.
I know I will likely get a form letter back. But I hope you really read this letter.

3 Responses to “Against a law to “protect” disabled people”

  1. Haddayr Copley-Woods

    VERY good letter. Thanks for writing it.

  2. wheelchair dancer

    hooray! Thanks. I believe there’s been some protesting afoot and some word changes.
    I’d love to hear about what you get back.

  3. Cher Swanson

    Just barely related:
    Have you seen the Lady Gaga “Paparazzi” video in which she is wearing walking arm-crutches? I was blown away by how awesome it was for her to do part of her dance set with them, how sexy it was.
    As someone who actually wears arm-crutches, can you answer on behalf of all your people, and tell me how you feel about that imagery? ;P

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