“Love is Just A Four-Letter Word”: Sexuality, International Human Rights, and Therapeutic Jurisprudence
Michael L Perlin & Alison J Lynch
One of the most controversial social policy issues that remains underdiscussed in scholarly literature is the sexual autonomy of persons with disabilities. This population has faced a double set of confl icting prejudices: on one hand, people with disabilities are infantilized (as not being capable of having the same range of sexual desires, needs and expectations as persons without disabilities), and on the other hand, this population is demonized (as being hypersexual, unable to control primitive urges). Although attitudes about the capabilities of persons with disabilities are changing for the better, attitudes toward persons with disabilities engaging in sexual behavior have remained firmly in place for centuries. However, the ratifi cation of the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) demands we reconsider these attitudes.
This paper will (1) review the history of how legal and social issues regarding sexuality have been ignored and trivialized by policy makers and the general public; (2) highlight sections of the CRPD that force us to reconsider the scope of this issue; (3) off er suggestions as to how states must change domestic policy to comport with CRPD mandates; and (4) consider the implications of therapeutic jurisprudence insights for the resolution of these issues.