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Club looks to break down stigma

Meeting promotes awareness through discussion

Junior+Philip+Djerf+leads+a+group+discussion.+SHEC+provides+a+space+for+students+to+discuss+the+importance+of+sexual+education+at+Park.
Junior Philip Djerf leads a group discussion. SHEC provides a space for students to discuss the importance of sexual education at Park.

Junior Philip Djerf leads a group discussion. SHEC provides a space for students to discuss the importance of sexual education at Park.

Nathaniel Sturzl

Nathaniel Sturzl

Junior Philip Djerf leads a group discussion. SHEC provides a space for students to discuss the importance of sexual education at Park.

According to Sexual Health Education Club co-president Philip Djerf, the club held a meeting to discuss stigma surrounding sexuality and disabilities.

Djerf said the meeting involved clearing up misconceptions about the sexuality of people with disabilities.

“We started by watching a YouTube video by Dr. Lindsey Doe, who is a clinical sexologist and she had a really good video where she kind of debunked the myths that our society creates about people with disabilities and their sexuallity,” Djerf said.

Sophomore Cailey Hansen-Mahoney said the videos taught her lessons she hadn’t thought about before.

It was really interesting learning about sex with disabilities because when you think about people who are disabled, you don’t think of that as apart of their life,” Hansen-Mahoney said. “You don’t think about dating and relationships and sex when you think about people with disabilities, so I just thought it was interesting to learn more about that and remind yourself that people with disabilities are just like the rest of us.”

Sophomore Erica Dudley said she learned of stigmas she didn’t know existed by attending the meeting.

“I think it was really cool to learn about all the myths that they have surrounding it, that I didn’t even think about before,” Dudley said. “When they talk about it, it makes sense that people think that, but I didn’t even realize that was the case.”

Djerf said open discussion creates opportunities to normalize sex for people with disabilities.

“I think (learning about this topic is) important because we have to create visibility for people with disabilities, because they are a group that are often underrepresented in our society,” Djerf said. “In a lot of our media, we see heterosexual, white, able-bodied people, so it’s important to discuss how sex might look a little bit different for someone with different needs, and that’s totally fine.”

Djerf said students should seek out more inclusive media.

“I think people need to accept the fact that there is an underrepresentation,” Djerf said. “I think people just need to seek out media and seek it out from people who are not just able bodied people—hear things from the perspective of people with disabilities.”

The final SHEC meeting date is to be determined.

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Club looks to break down stigma