Forced Intimacy: An Ableist Norm

This is a great post, and it reminds me yet again of why I don’t talk much about being autistic… with anyone, really. Even in safe, autistic spaces, there can be too much intrusion , as others seek to connect with me in ways that are actually very uncomfortable for me.

I find it especially off-putting with certain autistic men, for reasons too complex to describe and explain at this point in time. Not *all* autistic men, but … well, men in general tend to be “problematic” for me for a whole bunch of reasons.

Most of it has to do with how men are socialized and what’s expected from gendered individuals. It takes a very “evolved” individual to interact with me in ways that aren’t offensive on some level.

So, I keep everybody and everything at arms’ length. Shields up. Is it lonely? Not nearly as lonely as being stuck with stereotypical gender roles and people who don’t know how to socially navigate in any other way.

Life goes on. And I have myself intact. That’s what matters.

Great post… Nice.

Leaving Evidence

Photo of my wheelchair in a dark room, silhouetted against a doorway, with a large shirt outlined in lights hanging against a dark wall.

“Forced Intimacy” is a term I have been using for years to refer to the common, daily experience of disabled people being expected to share personal parts of ourselves to survive in an ableist world. This often takes the form of being expected to share (very) personal information with able bodied people to get basic access, but it also includes forced physical intimacy, especially for those of us who need physical help that often requires touching of our bodies. Forced intimacy can also include the ways that disabled people have to build and sustain emotional intimacy and relationships with someone in order to get access—to get safe, appropriate and good access.

I have experienced forced intimacy my entire life as a disabled child, youth and adult…

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