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Cripping sex education: lessons learned from a programme aimed at young people with mobility impairments

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This paper analyses sexuality and relationship education (SRE) in a Swedish college programme aimed at young people with mobility impairments. Interviews and focus groups were conducted to explore students’ experiences of the structure, content and usefulness of SRE, and college personnel’s SRE practices. Results show that, although many of the issues covered are pertinent for all young people, being disabled raises additional concerns: for example how to handle de-sexualising attitudes, possible sexual practices, and how reliance on assistance impacts upon privacy. Crip theory is used as an analytical framework to identify, challenge and politicise sexual norms and practices. Students’ experiences of living in a disablist, heteronormative society can be used as resources for developing cripistemologies, which challenge the private/public binary that often de-legitimises learners’ experiences and separates them from teachers’ ‘proper’ knowledge production. Crip SRE would likely hold benefits for non-disabled pupils as well, through its use of more inclusive pedagogy and in work to expand sexual possibilities. Crip SRE has the potential to disrupt taken-for-granted dis/ability and sexuality divides as well as to politicise issues that many young people presently experience as ‘personal shortcomings’.
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Keywords: Sexuality; Sweden; crip theory; disability; special education; young disabled people

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Social Work, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden

Publication date: November 2, 2018

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