Sexuality and Reproductive Health of Deaf and Deaf and Hard of Hearing Youth in Kenya
Infantilizing and Dis(abling) Discourses
Perceptions about Sexual and reproductive health of deaf and hard of hearing youth are embedded within the discourses of sexuality and disability. They are often framed and represented as asexual, childlike and vulnerable to harm. They are also they are judged as sexually incapable, inferior or vulnerable to harm. These judgments are created outside of themselves framed within protectionist discourses. They are therefore perceived as persons in need of protection from multiple perceived problems linked to their sexuality. While sexuality of youth in general would be an object of similar concerns, for youth with disabilities, the very conflation of disability and youth attracts greater scrutiny and policing than the able (hearing) youth. By drawing from a youth led research1, this paper explores these discourses on the sexuality and reproductive health of Deaf and Hard of Hearing youth in Western Kenya and these affect the perception of their needs. We aver that this specific positioning and categorization is not without effects and affects their sexual and reproductive health. We note that to continue relying on these constructions and being blind to their embodied realities is social injustice to young people that needs to be remedied.
Ngutuku Mulongo, E.M, Munene, A, Okwany, L.A, & Ombagi, E. (2018). Sexuality and Reproductive Health of Deaf and Deaf and Hard of Hearing Youth in Kenya. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/114876