“It was too hard to teach him about his body, and I didn’t know how, so I didn’t do it.”
Sexuality is a core part of what it means to be human. Although often simply equated with sex, it is much broader. It encompasses the feelings, thoughts and behaviours of being female or male, being comfortable with ourselves and being in love, as well as being in relationships that may include sexual intimacy (Independence Australia).
The World Health Organisation (WHO) lists a healthy sexuality as a core aspect of mental health. Their position on sexual rights of people living with a disability include the right to:
- Be recognised as having a sexual nature just like anyone else
- Explore and express their gender and sexuality
- Have relationships based on consent, respect and safety,
- Choose when, whether or not to have sexual experiences
- Learn lessons from life’s experience, with support and skill development where required
- Control decisions which affect their sexual and reproductive health and relationships as much as possible
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities states the right to sexuality regardless of disability. To respect the rights of the child, we need to treat every child with the principle and belief that they have the same rights as everyone else.