Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Conception, Contraception, and Misconceptions

For Valentine's Day, two items on romantic love and sexuality, and how amazing it is to some folks that people with disability have either love or lust in their lives: Stella had to break it to her physician that she uses birth control--for birth control. "I'm 23 years old, women my age occasionally have partners, and sometimes even shag them. To assume that I don't, based on nothing other than the way I look, is totally offensive. Never mind the fact that using contraception is actually a responsible and sensible thing to do, and no-one should ever have to justify that," she vents. And just in case you think maybe that's a rare lapse, Ben Mattlin had an outstanding essay on NPR's Morning Edition this morning about the disbelief he and his wife have encountered over the years--is she his sister, his nurse, his employee? Even worse, a nurse once asked his pregnant wife if their daughters were "really" his. (Adoptive and interracial families will surely recognize that question, too.)

The editors of Morning Edition put Ben Mattlin's essay immediately after a story titled "New Jersey High Court to Weigh Gay Marriage Case." That makes sense, because the bigger point is that many marriages and families don't fit the Ozzie-and-Harriet mold--but that reality still isn't quite reflected in law, policy, or everyday interactions. As Mattlin points out, there are federal disability benefits programs that punish or disqualify recipients who go and do something perfectly ordinary like getting married. And as Stella found, there are still doctors surprised to find a young woman doing something perfectly ordinary, like using contraception.

In happier hearts-and-flowers mode, the Ouch! blog has posted the winner of its myth-busting Kissability photo contest--a mind-your-own-business discreet embrace and smooch between Joanne Evans of Glasgow and her sailing mate, Phil. Congratulations to all the happy contestants.