Sex, sexuality and the rights of people with disability

Room 227, Level 2
Kwong Lee Dow
234 Queensberry St
Carlton VIC 3053
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Banner artwork by Tanya RaabeMichèle Taylor: Consultant, Trainer and Performer, 2011, oil on canvas, 36″ x 30″

Disability activists, people with lived experience of disability, and academics will come together to discuss their perspectives on the rights of people with disability in relation to sex, sexuality and relationships, with an emphasis on challenges and priorities for research and advocacy.

Jax Jacki Brown is a disability and LGBTI activist, writer, spoken-word performer, public speaker, disability sexuality educator and workshop designer and facilitator. Through her presentations at conferences and universities, and her extensive publications, she provides a powerful insight into the reasons why society needs to change, rather then people with disabilities.

Prof Michael L. Perlin is Professor of Law Emeritus at New York Law School (NYLS), founding director of NYLS's Online Mental Disability Law Program, and NYLS's International Mental Disability Law Reform Project in its Justice Action Center. He is also the co-founder of Mental Disability Law and Policy Associates. He has written 31 books and nearly 300 articles on all aspects of mental disability law.

Before becoming a professor, Perlin was the Deputy Public Defender in charge of the Mercer County Trial Region in New Jersey, and, for eight years, was the director of the Division of Mental Health Advocacy in the NJ Department of the Public Advocate. He has represented thousands of persons with mental disabilities in individual and class actions at every court level from police court to the US Supreme Court, and has taught and worked with advocacy projects on every continent. He is also co-chair of the Disability Rights Interest Group of the American Society of International Law.

Linda Stokoe is a peer educator and trainer in the Sexual Lives and Respectful Relationships program at Deakin University, a peer led relationship program ran for and by people with an intellectual disability. Linda will talk about her own life  as a woman with an intellectual disability making decisions about sexuality and relationships and about how being a peer educator helps her and others to be heard about their sexuality and relationship rights.

Dr George Taleporos is a disability rights advocate with expertise in human rights, sexuality and disability service reform. He uses a motorised wheelchair to get around and a ventilator to breathe. He has a PhD in psychology with a focus on sexuality and physical disability and an honours degree in sociology. George is the Policy Manager at the Summer Foundation, a casual lecturer at Deakin University, an adjunct senior research fellow at Latrobe University and provides consultancy services in the field of disability. He appears on the series “You Can’t Ask That” and has been published in a range of books and peer-reviewed journals in addition to media outlets including the Guardian Australia and ABC’s The Drum.

The evening will be chaired by Dr Anna Arstein-Kerslake. Anna is a lecturer in Melbourne Law School at the University of Melbourne and the Academic Convenor of the Disability Research Initiative. Anna's research focuses on the human rights of persons with disabilities. Her published work focuses specifically on the rights to equal recognition before the law and legal capacity, including capacity to consent to sex.

Presented by the University of Melbourne Disability Research Initiative and RMIT University

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