Disability and Pornography

I WOULD LIKE TO SHARE MY THOUGHTS ON WHY PORNOGRAPHY IS A BENEFIT TO SOCIETY. FOR THIS TO BE PORTRAYED, I WOULD LIKE YOU TO ENVISION WHAT IT IS LIKE TO BE A PERSON WITH A DISABILITY. YOU HAVE MANY CHALLENGES, AND WORST OF ALL, NO ONE FINDS YOU ATTRACTIVE. AS A PERSON WITH A DISABILITY, YOU ARE DENIED THE APPEARANCE OF HAVING SEXUAL FEELINGS OR DESIRING ANOTHER PERSON. ALL YOU CAN DO IS USE WHAT IS THAT YOUR DISPOSAL – THE INTERNET. AFTER ALL, IT’S AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE, AND IS CONSTANTLY CHANGING AND EXPANDING. IF YOU IMAGINE WHAT THAT WOULD BE LIKE AND FOUND IT LACKING, THEN YOU WOULD NO DOUBT UNDERSTAND WHY I AM IN SUPPORT OF PORN.

FOR EXAMPLE, RESEARCH HAS SHOWN THAT PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES ARE AT MUCH HIGHER RISK OF BEING SEXUALLY ASSAULTED IN THEIR LIFETIMES THAN NON-DISABLED PEOPLE. IT COMES FROM OUR SOCIETY’S VIEW THAT PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES ARE HELPLESS AND DON’T KNOW ANY DIFFERENT. IT ALSO COMES FROM AN ABLEIST ATTITUDE OF THEM BEING LESS DESERVING OF THE THINGS OTHERS TAKE FOR GRANTED. I WOULD ARGUE THAT PORN COULD TEACH PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES ABOUT CONSENT AND WHEN SEX IS HEALTHY, SO THAT THEY CAN BE MORE EMPOWERED ABOUT EXPLORING THEIR SEXUAL SELVES.

GETTING ACCESS TO THIS KIND OF CONTENT IS IMPORTANT, AND SHOULD BE PART OF SOME SEX ED CURRICULUM. A LOT OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES DON’T EVEN HAVE ACCESS TO THE MOST BASIC SEX ED AT SCHOOL, AND THAT IS WRONG. ALL OF THEM ARE HUMANS WITH BASIC NEEDS LIKE EVERYONE HAS: TO BE LOVED, TO BE TOUCHED, TO EXPERIENCE THE DEEP CONNECTIONS THAT FUEL LOVE SONGS.

BELIEVE IT OR NOT, THESE DREAMS ARE BEING PORTRAYED IN CERTAIN REALMS OF ALT-PORN. THERE IS A PORN STAR WITH CEREBRAL PALSY WHO HAS BEEN INTERVIEWED ABOUT HIS EXPERIENCE. HE SAID IT WAS ONE OF THE MOST POSITIVE EXPERIENCES IN HIS LIFE BECAUSE IT HELPED HIM ACCEPT HIS BODY AND REPRESENT PEOPLE WITH DIFFERENT BODIES AND EXPERIENCES. REPRESENTATION IS UNDOUBTEDLY THE MOST TELLING REASON FOR SUPPORTING PORN. THIS CAN LOOK DIFFERENTLY FOR MANY PEOPLE, BUT THE MAIN GIST IS JUST SHOWING PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES ENJOYING THEMSELVES SEXUALLY AND BEING FOUND ATTRACTIVE TO PEOPLE WITHOUT DISABILITIES.

WHAT MAKES PORN ACCESSIBLE TO SOME BUT NOT OTHERS? REALLY, IT IS AN ISSUE OF ONE’S MOTOR SKILLS AND ABILITY TO HAVE ONE’S BODY ACCESSIBLE. THOSE CAN BE HUGE BARRIERS FOR MANY PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES. IN THESE CASES, PARENTS AND EDUCATORS SHOULD CONSIDER HAVING PART OF THEIR CURRICULUM COVER OPTIONS FOR THESE YOUNG PEOPLE. AFTER ALL, EVEN STEPHEN HAWKINS ENJOYS THE OCCASIONAL STRIP CLUB!

IN ADDITION, SOME PORN SITES HAVE BEGUN ADDING CLOSED CAPTIONING FOR VISUALLY IMPAIRED PEOPLE. OTHERS ARE INCLUDING MORE PEOPLE WHO HAVE NON-TRADITIONAL BODIES AND ABILITIES TO THEIR OFFERINGS. BY HAVING BETTER REPRESENTATION, THEY ARE CREATING A NEW NORMAL THAT IS MORE INCLUSIVE AND REALISTIC.

IN CONCLUSION, HAVING PORN AVAILABLE IS ONE WAY OF SUPPORTING PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES, AND IT HELPS NORMALIZE THEIR SEXUALITY. WHILE THERE WAS A LOT – A LOT – OF STEREOTYPICAL PORN OUT THERE, THERE ARE DIRECTORS WHO SEEK TO REPRESENT THE SEX LIVES OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES ACCURATELY AND RESPECTFULLY. BY SUPPORTING THEIR WORK FINANCIALLY, WE CAN CHANGE THE WAY DISABILITY IS VIEWED BY NON-DISABLED PEOPLE.

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All The Pretty Things

THIS WEEK HAS BEEN A BIT OF A CLUSTERF#*%€. MY PARA WAS SICK, AND IT THREW EVERYTHING INTO TURMOIL. I’M LUCKY BECAUSE THERE’S ANOTHER PARA WHO LETTERBOARDS WITH ME, BUT THAT MEANS HER STUDENT HAS TO HAVE A SUB. THAT DOESN’T FEEL GOOD TO ME EITHER. I WISH THERE WAS A MAGIC WAND THAT I COULD WAVE, AND WE ALL GET THE PRETTY THINGS.

HOW I CAME TO UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF PLAY

KIMG1460~2REMEMBERING THE PAST HAS NEVER BEEN A PROBLEM FOR ME. THERE ARE THINGS I WOULD RATHER NOT RELATE TO YOU, LIKE THE LONG HOURS WHERE I SPENT TIME WITH A SPEECH THERAPIST IN THE TINY ROOM. OR THE HOURS MY MOM SPENT DRIVING ME FROM ONE APPOINTMENT TO ANOTHER, TRYING TO FIND A WAY INTO MY WORLD. HOW SHE TRIED SO MANY GOOFY THINGS, YOU CAN’T IMAGINE! ALL THAT TIME WAS SPENT TRYING TO FIX ME WHEN I WASN’T BROKEN IN THE FIRST PLACE. BUT IT TOOK SOME TIME FOR MY PARENTS TO REALIZE THAT.

WHERE THEY GOT IT RIGHT WAS IN THEIR ATTITUDE ABOUT PLAY. PLAY WAS A WAY IN. PLAY LET ME BE MYSELF, AND I FELT ACCEPTED FOR WHO I WAS RATHER THAN FOR EVERYTHING I WAS NOT. GETTING THAT VALIDATION WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT FEELING I EXPERIENCED IN MY SHORT LIFE.

PLAY LET ME BE MYSELF, AND I FELT ACCEPTED FOR WHO I WAS RATHER THAN FOR EVERYTHING I WAS NOT.

HOW I PLAYED AS A CHILD WAS SO DIFFERENT FROM OTHER KIDS THAT NO MATTER HOW I TRIED, I JUST COULDN’T DO IT THE NORMAL WAY. TAKE, FOR EXAMPLE, SKATEBOARDS. THE ONLY THING I WOULD EVER WANT TO DO IS SPIN THE WHEELS AND WATCH THE PATTERNS THEY MADE ON THE AIR CURRENTS AROUND THEM. OR ANOTHER FAVORITE: MAGIC SAND. HOW I LOVED TO DRIZZLE IT IN FRONT OF MY EYES, AND WATCH THE INDIVIDUAL PIECES OF SAND FALLING AS A PART OF AN EVER-CHANGING MASS. REMARKABLE! GETTING THAT IN MY HAIR WAS A PLUS BECAUSE I GOT TO FEEL THAT GRITTINESS OF THE SAND ON MY SKIN. ALL I KNOW IS THAT I FELT SO GROUNDED AFTER I PLAYED WITH IT, AND AM SO GRATEFUL THAT MY PARENTS DIDN’T MAKE ME STOP.

LOOKING BACK, MY MEMORIES ARE DIVIDED INTO TWO PERIODS: BEFORE PLAY AND AFTER GETTING FREE OF THERAPY. AFTER GETTING LESS THERAPY, HAVING RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHERS FEELS MORE NATURAL. FRIENDS AREN’T USUALLY PAID TO HANG OUT WITH YOU, AFTER ALL. THEY AREN’T SUPPOSED TO BE ADULTS TO WRITE NOTES ON A CLIPBOARD ON TRACK YOUR EYE CONTACT. ALL I EVER WANTED WAS TO FIND A WAY TO CONNECT WITH OTHER KIDS AND NOT BE JUDGED.

LEARNING TO LETTERBOARD WAS ANOTHER WAY FOR ME TO GAIN A FOOTHOLD INTO A WORLD THAT WAS CONFUSING AND FOREIGN TO ME. FOR EXAMPLE, MY SENSORY SYSTEM IS PERCEPTIVE IN WAYS THAT HAVEN’T BEEN ACKNOWLEDGED BY EDUCATORS OR PROFESSIONALS THAT STUDY AUTISM. MANY BELIEVE THAT AUTISTICS CAN’T EMPATHIZE WITH OTHERS AND FUNCTION LIKE ROBOTS. THAT COULDN’T BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH.

MY PROBLEM IS THAT I FEEL TOO MUCH. AUTISM HAS MADE IT SO THAT I CAN PICK UP ON SO MANY OTHER VIBRATIONS THAT NEUROTYPICALS DON’T EVEN REGISTER. FOR EXAMPLE, I USED TO GET TOTALLY OVERWHELMED BY ALL THE SOUNDS OF A CLASSROOM. WHEN I THINK BACK, I CAN RELATE TO THE IMAGE OF AN AUTISTIC KID HIDING IN THE CORNER AND LINING UP HIS TOY CARS, BECAUSE THAT WAS THE ONLY THING I COULD CONTROL. I COULDN’T DO ANYTHING ABOUT A CACOPHONY OF SENSORY INPUT I WAS GOING THROUGH, SO I CONTROLLED WHAT I COULD. ALL THOSE YEARS, I WAS TRYING TO KEEP IT TOGETHER AND MAKE SENSE OF IT ALL. EVENTUALLY, I WAS BETTER ABLE TO SORT THROUGH THE SOUNDS AROUND ME AND MAKE REALISTIC ADJUSTMENTS OF WHAT I NEEDED TO DO TO FUNCTION IN ANY GIVEN SITUATION. IN SCHOOL, I KNOW I WILL NEED REGULAR BREAKS TO CLEAR MY HEAD, AND SOME TIME TO LISTEN TO MUSIC. AT HOME, MY FAVORITE ACTIVITY TO RELAX IS CUTTING PAPER, AND MY FAMILY KNOWS TO LEAVE ME ALONE FOR AN HOUR AFTER SCHOOL SO I CAN HAVE SOME DOWN TIME.

A SENSE OF COMMUNITY RUNS THROUGH OUR VERY BEING, AND IS AS INTRINSIC TO HUMANS AS BREATHING.

NOW I’M ABLE TO SHARE MY THOUGHTS AND CONNECT WITH PEOPLE WITHOUT HAVING TO RELY ON MY MOM OR MY PARAEDUCATOR AT SCHOOL. ALL I EVER WANTED WAS TO BELONG, AND NOW I DO. A SENSE OF COMMUNITY RUNS THROUGH OUR VERY BEING, AND IS AS INTRINSIC TO HUMANS AS BREATHING. IT IS A FORM OF LOVE THAT FEEDS OUR SOULS, AND BRINGS OUT THE VERY BEST IN US WHEN IT SEEMS LIKE THE WORLD IS GOING MAD. VERY LITTLE GOOD BEGINS IN CHAOS. IT IS WHEN WE COME TOGETHER AND LOVE EACH OTHER THAT GOODNESS PREVAILS.

TONIGHT, I WANT TO ASK EACH OF YOU TO APPEAL TO THE CHILD INSIDE YOU, AND BE A LITTLE PLAYFUL WITH EACH OTHER. LAUGH A LOT AND DROWN OUT THE RHETORIC THAT IS FLOODING THE NEWS. FIND WAYS TO PLAY MORE AND COMPLAIN LESS. BELIEVE IN THE POWER OF BEING SILLY AND FUNNY WHEN THE MOOD STRIKES, AND LETTING YOUR TEARS FLOW WHEN YOU ARE SAD. FIND COMFORT IN EACH OTHER AT THOSE TIMES LIKE A CHILD DOES WHEN THEY SCRAPE THEIR KNEE. ABOVE ALL, ACCEPT THAT WE ALL BELONG TOGETHER, WHETHER THAT’S ON THE BUS OR IN THE CLASSROOM OR ON THE PLAYGROUND.

PLEASE SUPPORT HARPER’S PLAYGROUND, AND HELP THEM CREATE MORE PLACES WHERE EVERYONE CAN PLAY TOGETHER!

TRIP ENDING

THE TRIP IS COMING TO A CLOSE. IT HAS BEEN A WHIRLWIND THAT HAS BEEN A MIX OF EMOTIONS: EXCITEMENT, ANTICIPATION, AND MAKING NEW FRIENDS. I AM ESPECIALLY GRATEFUL FOR THE PEOPLE WHO REACHED OUT AND TRIED TO TALK WITH ME. I KNOW IT TAKES TIME, AND KIDS MY AGE OPERATE AT WARP SPEED.

FOR THE TEENS WHO HAVE A DISABILITY, I WOULD STRONGLY ADVISE YOU TO APPLY FOR NEXT YEAR’S CONTEST. IT’S INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO BE HERE AND SHOW OTHERS THAT WE EXIST. DIFFERENT EXISTS IN EVERY ASPECT OF SOCIETY, AND WHEN ORGANIZATIONS SANITIZE WHO IS SHOWN, IT DOES NO ONE ANY FAVORS. I AM THANKFUL FOR THE TRIP AND EVERYTHING I’VE SEEN ALONG THE WAY.20121474_745117658993777_1972592196991605971_o

GOOD NEWS!

HEY EVERYONE,

I WANTED TO LET YOU KNOW THAT I AM DEFINITELY GOING ON THE UN TRIP NEXT MONTH! THERE WERE PEOPLE TALKING TO PEOPLE FOR A WHILE, AND IT FINALLY GOT WORKED OUT. I COULDN’T BE MORE EXCITED TO GET ON A PLANE!

I WANT TO THANK EVERYONE WHO SPOKE OUT FOR ONE AUTISTIC KID WHO HEARD THE WORD “NO” AND SAID, “WHY NOT?” ALSO TO GORDON AT DRO FOR BEING MY VOICE. TO MY PARENTS I AM ESPECIALLY GRATEFUL, AND UNDERSTAND THAT THIS IS MY DESTINY. YOU HAVE TAUGHT ME WELL.

Letter to the Editors of “The Oregonian”

DEAR OREGONIAN,

THE REASON I TOOK PART IN TODAY’S WALKOUT WAS BECAUSE I MEANT TO BE THERE ON BEHALF OF STUDENTS WHO ARE DISABLED. WE ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THE VISION OF TRUMP’S AMERICA. MANY PEOPLE WANT TO SEE THIS COUNTRY BECOME GREAT AGAIN. WHAT ARE THEY EXPECTING FROM A MAN WHO DOES NOT PRETEND TO CARE ABOUT ANYONE WHO IS NOT WHITE AND RICH? REALLY, CAN WE EXPECT TO BE INCLUDED IN ANY DEBATES ABOUT WHAT PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES CAN ACHIEVE WITH TRUMP? I SINCERELY DO NOT BELIEVE HE CARES. FOR THAT REASON I PROTESTED TODAY, AND I WILL CONTINUE TO VOICE MY OPINION IN ANY WAY I CAN. PLEASE DO NOT DISPARAGE YOUNG PEOPLE’S PASSION; WE WILL BE VOTING IN FOUR YEARS. PLEASE BE PATIENT WITH US AS WE CUT OUR POLITICAL TEETH.

SINCERELY,

NIKO BOSKOVIC
NORTH PORTLAND