In Mexico, talking about sexuality continues to be a taboo subject in all social spheres: in politics, education and even in the family. This problem is even worse when we talk about the sexuality of a person with a disability because for society, it is almost impossible to think that they can have an active sexual life. The lack of information, education and training in these issues, coupled with the cultural baggage of Mexico, leads to health problems for the population with disabilities and the people around them.
The legal position regarding the sexual and reproductive rights of persons with disabilities is contradictory, since, despite being contemplated in several national laws and international treaties, there is no political will to ensure compliance, regulation and financing.
It could be said that this issue is non-existent for the authorities of our country and society in general because there is widespread ignorance about their rights. For example, special education schools and public health agencies that serve this population do not include these topics in their plans or work programs.
In Mexico women with disabilities outnumbers men (3.8 million against 3.3 million), 6.2% of women in the country live with this condition and in the case of men, they represent 5.7 percent of the total population ( INEGI, 2014).
Gender stereotypes have an adverse impact on women with disabilities and place them in a situation of greater vulnerability. For example, the stereotype of motherhood as inherent and natural to women places many of them, with or without disabilities, in the face of the social pressure of being mothers. In the case of women with disabilities, they are not considered capable of complying with this social requirement. In addition, there is a refusal to recognize their sexual and reproductive rights, such as the right to decide whether or not they have children, and even to lead an active sexual life (Torices, 2007). The lack of recognition of these rights restric them from being provided with comprehensive sexuality education, having less or no access to information on contraceptives, sexually transmitted infections, ways to prevent violence, and other issues related to their sexual life and reproductive health, unlike men with disabilities. The problem of discrimination due to disability and gender is compounded by the lack of public policies that address the specific sexuality needs of people with disabilities (Sánchez, 2017).
In the field of research and academia, documentation on the subject of sexuality and disability is scarce, a situation that contributes to the poor training of professionals in the area of health and special education. If this lack of information, we add discrimination, social exclusion and denial of parents to the situation of having a child with a disability, the barriers are widened, causing negative effects in their daily lives.
The project seeks to offer scholarships to train 30 interested professionals in one year -including women with disabilities- who have the income profile required to complete the Diploma Program on Sexuality and Disability in twelve months, and initiate actions practically immediately, with the population which provide their services daily, from the creation in their work centers of formal education programs and comprehensive counseling on sexuality mainly for women, although not exclusively, because we know that the participation of men in the transformation of discriminatory and transgressive practices of sexual and reproductive rights of women with disabilities, it is essential for the change not only to be a reality, but also to last over time, diminishing the existing gap in sexual and reproductive health services of women with disabilities. the general population in comparison with the population with disabilities. In a period of 12 months the care of approximately 1500 women would be guaranteed monthly, if it is considered that in the Multiple Care Centers as in the Rehabilitation Units, each professional attends an approximate of 50 people monthly. This estimate would allow thinking that each year 18,000 women with disabilities (and men) would be cared for in terms of sexual and reproductive health and, consequently, minimize the factors that interfere in the sexual experiences of people with disabilities.
In case of not reaching the final goal, the resources obtained will be used for the delivery of courses and workshops on sexuality aimed at people with disabilities, as well as their families and professionals who provide them with services; within the annual event of GEISHAD, AC, called Encuentro con tu Sexualidad. The number of workshops to be taught would depend on the donation obtained and women with disabilities would be privileged to receive them.
The measurement of impact will be made through the periodic evaluation of the achievement of the competencies required to educate people with disabilities fully in sexuality and offer specific counseling. The achievement of this objective will allow each professional in training to account for the number of women served in their workplace and the welfare achieved from this care in their sexual and reproductive health.
Interdisciplinary Educational Group on Human Sexuality and Disability Care A.C. (Geishad, AC) works for people with disabilities to demand their sexual and reproductive rights in an informed, free, responsible and healthy manner.
Geishad, AC, promotes the culture of disability nationally and internationally, through the creation of a range of academic and professional specializations in this area and above all providing comprehensive care on sexuality to people with all types of disabilities, their families and specialists who provide services to them. The training, counseling, therapeutic and professional care, seeks to give any sexual problems they present.
Geishad is a pioneer in scientific research in the area of human sexuality and disability nationally and internationally and has developed courses, teaching materials and multidisciplinary postgraduate studies for specialization in this area.
Comprehensive attention to the sexuality of people with disabilities is of the utmost importance, since it is a population with a high incidence of sexually transmitted infections and is an easy target for sexual abuse.
For example, among all disabilities, people with hearing disabilities have the highest rate of HIV and are not served by public institutions, considering that they are projects with low social impact.
The social and public health cost is high and affects both the population with disabilities and the entire society.
The intention of Geishad is to get its methodology to the whole country through the formation of professional cadres in Disability and Sexuality that can achieve a systemic change so that people with disabilities can fully demand their sexual and reproductive rights.
Carmen Alicia González Preciado
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