Wheelchair Women Are Changing The Dialogue Around Disability In Japan

Wheelchair Women Are Changing The Dialogue Around Disability In Japan

Have you ever wondered how people confined to a wheelchair go to the toilet? Or how they have sex? In other words—have you ever wondered how people confined to a wheelchair get on with a ‘normal’ life?

Recently in Japan, a handful of wheelchair-bound women have taken to social media and mainstream media, to explain the challenges of life in a wheelchair. They are doing it to change the narrative around disability to one that includes them as part of everyday life.

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In an interview with the Asahi Shimbun’s ‘withnews‘ in February last year, Eri Umetsu explained why she is letting the world know about her private life:

until now, generally what has been sought was a moving tale of overcoming disability, but I thought, you know, there’s more to it than that…there’s love, marriage, childbirth, child-raising—life continues

Sex is part of life

Consequently, she says, sex is part of that conversation. “I think there are many disabled people who are troubled by the same issues, so I want people to know that even disabled people can have sex, can fall in love, and can have children.

At age 27, two years after getting married, Umetsu developed lupus and was bed-ridden for six years as the autoimmune disease attacked her whole body. With rehabilitation, she gradually became able to eat by herself, go to the toilet by herself and perform other daily activities.

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She had hoped for children, so when she found herself on all …continue reading