Shonali Bose’s tour de force, Margarita With A Straw, should be an interesting starting point for a debate on the sexual rights of the differently-abled. Interesting because the protagonist–played by Kalki Koechlin–shakes off social barriers by actually doing something about her desires.
Not every person with disabilities is able to break through; social pressure to be asexual generally triumphs. There is little recognition of–or thought invested in–the sexual rights of the differently-abled. And, as with most social tragedies, it’s the women who suffer the most.
According to the 2011 Census, the differently-abled account for 2.21% of the population that is approximately 26.8 million people. Of these, 11.8 million are women.
These numbers have been contested. The World Health Organization, using a broader definition of disability to include conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, estimates that 70 million Indians suffer from disabilities.
No matter which estimate you accept, the fact is that this is a sexually invisible group. In fact, their sexual rights have been systematically throttled. They have been subjected to segregation, confinement and even forced sterilisation.
This is an excerpt from a blog that I wrote for the Huffington Post. Read the complete post here: http://www.huffingtonpost.in/ashraf-engineer/lets-talk-about-sex-and-t_b_7149060.html