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Exhibition dispels myths about disability & sexuality

The Outing Disability exhibition is now in its fifth year and it continues to proudly attack the myths and multiple discriminations lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) people with a disability can face. This year, with six new participants, the exhibition explores the emerging themes of mental health, disability and identity.

Led by Family Planning NSW and developed with photographer Belinda Mason and support from Inner West Council, Outing Disability presents engaging photographic portraits, audio descriptions and a documentary to take viewers on a journey into the lives of people with a disability and their experiences of coming out, transitioning, dating and finding acceptance.

Family Planning NSW health promotion manager Rob Hardy said the exhibition challenges preconceptions that often mask the sexuality of people with disability.

“This exhibition is a great triumph for the participants involved as sexuality can be a silent, ignored and invisible aspect of the lives of people with disability. We want to support this community and give a voice to the rights of people with disability to make informed choices about their reproductive and sexual health,” Rob said.

“There is a social taboo around the fact that people with disability have diverse sexuality and gender, like anyone else – so there’s a great satisfaction in being able to tell the world ‘This is me!’.

“This project shows us the true diversity of the LGBTIQ community which includes people with a disability so, we are so excited to be sharing these stories with the broader community.”

The exhibition forms part of a broader advocacy strategy from Family Planning NSW, to increase recognition of the reproductive and sexual health rights of LGBTIQ people with disability and to better cater for their needs and mental health.

“Championing the rights of people with disability, particularly the LGBTIQ community, is an ongoing focus for Family Planning NSW. In addition to advocacy, we provide education and training for teachers, disability workers, family members and carers about sexuality for people with intellectual disability,” Mr Hardy said.

“Family Planning NSW has been providing reproductive and sexual health services for more than 90 years and delivering targeted services and resources to support people with disability for more than 35 years.

“We will continue to advocate for change from government, schools, disability service providers and health providers to ensure people with disability have the opportunity to participate in loving, safe and fulfilling sexual relationships.”

Outing Disability is showing at the Chrissie Cotter Gallery, Pidcock St, Camperdown, from October 25 to 28. A range of audio descriptions, videos and images are available online www.fpnsw.org.au/outingdisability

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