December 21 Book Discussion Club on Sex, Theology and the Disabled

December 21 Book Discussion Club on Sex, Theology and the Disabled

“I want to have dates, be married and have children, but I don’t think I am legitimate to do so…” Hazel Man was stirred when she first heard this comment from a disabled person while she was studying her Master of Divinity two or three years ago. She came to realize that what was considered normal in a normal person’s social or sexual life is not actually easy to get for the disabled. It is not that the disabled can’t have a normal social life and enjoy sex but it is the society that thinks that they can’t.

Mrs. Wong, who is disabled like her husband, said that it was the thought of most disabled people in Hong Kong that those things (social life and enjoy sex) did not belong to them kept them away from actually getting them. Mrs. Wong responded that disabled people also needed sex and she shared how it was an important part of their married life. They only needed to try different positions in order to do so. It was sad for her to hear that a disabled friend had to go to the sex workers secretly in order to have a taste of what sex was like. Compare to Taiwan and Japan, Hong Kong is still very behind on the issue of sex, which indirectly leads to more sex abuse against the disabled.

In response to how the Hong Kong society only concerns about the living of the disabled but completely ignoring their sexual needs, Hazel points out that it is all related to some twisted ideology that neglects God’s creation and how God accepts the wholeness of a person. Yet she refuses to construct a complete opposing theory and idolizing “sex”, because that would also be simplifying sex of the disabled. Hazel chose to show the situation of the disabled as it is.

First of all, Hazel affirmed the body experiences of the disabled. The disabled can also share with others and reconstruct relationships with themselves, others and the world through sex. The process is just like experiencing rebirth and salvation. However, there are still things about sex that they “can” or “cannot” do, which is just like the Word becoming flesh, experiencing the ups and downs in life. On the other hand, disabled people actually have a more diverse understanding of sex than normal people, which can help us understand better what sex is.

Guest respondent Small (細細老師) was an intersex representative. S/he told us the sex conditions of those with abnormal genitals and how even someone with a completely non-functional genital would still have desire for sex. That was because the most powerful sex organ of all was our brain. Under serious misunderstanding, some intersex people would refuse to date or have sex with anyone. Freedom to love is just a lie for intersex people and their life is full of embarrassment and grievance. “Intersex people are definitely queers!” said Small.

Small carried on telling us that intersex and disabled people were misunderstood by the society. That kind of ignorance and misinterpretation formed suppression and discrimination and their sexual needs were wiped out because of that. Small said the sexual needs of the intersex were even more complicated and difficult to provide for than the disabled. However, if we use our heart to understand and respect each and every one person, we could all help and support and even change the society’s mindset.

One participant pointed out that the church community was actually "disabled" because our theology was not inclusive enough to embrace the disabled. The disabled were able to face themselves truthfully, which makes them spiritually more complete than us who were deemed normal. Yet it was us who were incomplete that construct the ideology of sex in society. The church and the society should both reflect on such condition. Hazel would like her article to be a blessing to the disabled and intersex. The church will become a community of value when she is willing to be a leader of change.