“Pride month means everything to me. It feels like I can show my colours and show who I am.”
Maz, who has Down’s Syndrome and gets support from LDN London, is celebrating Pride month.
And in August Maz plans to go to the Brighton annual Pride parade to celebrate even more and show her support.
They will go to the beach with their flag and have a few drinks with friends and their girlfriend. “It’s more free, you can show your true colours out there” they say.
Maz is nonbinary and so uses the pronoun they. They talk about their sexuality openly and think that it is really important. “I’m proud to show it off because it’s who I am.” Maz is an LGBTQI activist, they say. “I’m against homophobia. I’m an LGBTQI person with a disability and I’m proud of who I am.”
It can be a challenge for LGBTQI people with learning disabilities to talk about their sexuality though. They can face discrimination due to their gender or identity (and also because they also have learning disabilities), according to research. People with learning disabilities also sometimes hide their sexuality because they think people won’t accept it.
Maz fortunately has a supportive family. When she told her mother that she was gay, her mother said that she just wanted Maz to be happy. It made Maz cry with joy.
“I’m an LGBTQI person with a disability and I’m proud of who I am.”
It is becoming more normal for people with learning disabilities to be open about sexuality, Maz says.
“It can be challenging, it can be difficult, but nowadays people with a disability have girlfriends and boyfriends. People with disabilities have relationships with other people who have different disabilities. My girlfriend has autism and I respect her and who she is.”
“But they feel different than the other people because we represent disabilities, “Maz says, “We’ve got the right to be who we are.”
“People with disabilities should express who they are,” Maz says. If other people don’t like it, “they can sashay away!”
For more information and research on LGBTQI people with a learning disability, Mencap has more information on its website: https://www.mencap.org.uk/learning-disability-explained/research-and-statistics/sexuality-research-and-statistics