Do disabled people have sex? Do they want it? Are they even capable of it? Some of us assume they won’t. Or can’t. Or, well, we just don’t want to think about it. Stella Palikarova, events and programming co-coordinator at The Rose Centre for Love, Sex and Disability, says that there are disabled people who “probably never even thought they could be recognized as sexual beings.”
Of course there are people who don’t have sex, but in general, yes, disabled people do engage in sexual behaviour. In celebration of that oft-ignored fact, The Rose Centre will soon hold a fashion show called I’m Sexy and I Know It.
The Rose Centre is geared for all sorts of disabilities, visible or not, and one of its aims is to bring together disabled and able-bodied people. So, some of the models will be disabled, some will be able-bodied, and some will strut while others will roll. Everyone will be sexy.
One of The Rose Centre’s directors-at-large, Sara Cancelliere (who uses the gender-neutral pronoun they), says that while businesses and designers have generously donated clothing for the show, it’s not really about the clothing. “It’s more of a self-fashion show,” they say. “It’s about wearing what makes you feel sexy and celebrating your body as it is. So some of the models are wearing their own clothes.”
Formed recently, The Rose Centre is one of few organizations — if, indeed, there are any others — dedicated to addressing the needs of disabled people with respect to love and sex. I’m Sexy and I Know It is the centre’s launch event for the 2014/2015 season. In addition to the fashion show, the evening will include door prizes, a silent auction and musical performances by Harlot Eyes (Palikarova’s stage name) and Scotty Newlands, and a burlesque act by Tiny B Hiney. And, of course, the venue is wheelchair accessible.