SHFPACT was invited to participate in the first Canberra Feel the Vibe Disability and Sexuality Forum and Expo on the 12th and 13th of June. A first-of-its-kind sexuality and disability expo and forum was held for adults with physical disabilities, their families, carers, advocates and disability support workers. The Feel the Vibe Forum and Expo aimed to lift the lid on sexuality and disability, two often taboo topics, by giving people with disabilities, their supporters and advocates more information about choices in regards to sexuality and disability. In addition and most importantly giving people with disabilities a voice and control over their lives as sexual beings.
Two staff members were invited to speak at the forum, Lisa Grant (Director Client Services) and Erin Smith (Professional and Community Education Officer). Lisa spoke on the importance of educating on the topics of sex, relationships, and parenting so we can properly communicate and ensure people with disability understand these human experiences. Erin discussed the intersection of disability and sexuality from within a human rights framework. Erin spoke at length about the ‘dignity of risk’; we have a right to make decision, take risks, learn from them and then try again. People with disabilities embarking on relationships should have the same dignity of risk as all other people.
At the Saturday evening expo health promotion staff, Riddhi Blackley and Amy Duncan, shared their knowledge with adults with physical disabilities, their families, carers, advocates and disability support workers about sexual health and answered questions. The SHFPACT info stand had games, hands-on displays, health promotion materials and give-aways.