Today I will be receiving a lifetime achievement award at the “Inspire” ceremony here in Toronto from the LGBTQQ+ community. It’s for my work regarding sexuality, adulthood, and self advocacy with people who have intellectual disabilities. I feel humbled by the award and challenged by the fact that I have one minute to speak after receiving the award.
Should I mention the time I was called a pornographer for producing information and materials on sexuality and masturbation by newspapers in Maine?
Or when I was banned from speaking by several organizations in Oregon?
Or when my book on sexuality and adulthood was burned and the ashes sent back to me in the mail?
Or the death threats that resulted from some on air work here in Canada?
Sometimes it’s fun to look back and this occasion has me thinking through how upset people were about ideas that I’d present which are now, pretty much, standard practice.
I remember being screamed at by a man who, in an Ethics of Touch training insisted that I was perverse because I was sexualizing the fact that he allowed and encouraged the women in his group home to sit on his lap and rub their back to calm them down.
Or the woman who was so angry about my comment that staff are not friends that spittle flew in my face.
Or the group that accosted me at break time about my sexuality presentation which included a section on the rights of LGBTQQ+ people with disabilities to respectful support, I can still here the “God kills fags and PRAISE HIM for it” ringing in the ear. I still remember the organizer bringing security into the room for the rest of the day.
But as I thought about what I could say in one minute, I decided that this stroll down memory lane isn’t really what I should say. I think I’m going to …
(to be continued)