One of the ‘events’ I missed during my three day sleep in, was the defeat in parliament of the removal of the ‘freedom of expression’ amendment to the Coroners and Justice Bill.
The Government have only given in temporarily, they fully intend to answer the high pitched whinnying of the gay lobby to create an offence of inciting hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation ‘as soon as possible’. The possibility of someone who is ‘openly gay’ being offended by being referred to as ‘openly gay’ by either comedian or newspaper is an anathema in our PC society which is apparently fully deserving of the attention of our parliamentarians over and above other issues.
At the same time, the NHS, after 60 years, is finally getting round to thinking about, talking about, reporting about, gathering a range of views about, and generally stalling about, the routine humiliation handed out to another group of citizens in respect of their sex lives.No government intervention here.
This week, two disabled citizens will (reluctantly, for I am sure they would have preferred that their motives be proved in another manner) parade their limited ability to partake in one of the most common human activities, in front of a room full of surgeons, carers, charity officials and others who consider it is their right to pontificate on these matters, in an effort to persuade members of the so called caring profession that it is not only those who wish to have their hymen repaired ‘to improve their marriage prospects’, not only those who wish to have their labia reformed to some ideal culled from a graphic magazine, nor those who wish to make the transition from Harry to Harriet, (and memorably, back again, when Harriet proved not to be such an attractive proposition) that are deserving of their unembarrassed attention.
It brought to mind a young man called Craig. He was in his first year at university, out drinking on a Friday night with a bevy of young lads similarly intent on proving their attraction to the female of the genre by imbibing impressive quantities of warm beer and muttering foul mouthed suggestions at any female within earshot. The usual mating dance of the freshman. They decided to add the aroma of greasy kebab to their repertoire. On route, the driver’s reflexes proved slower than he had anticipated, and he impaled himself on the rear end of the late night bus. Craig went through the windscreen.
I shall spare you the gory details, but after four months in a coma, and several months of remembering what his name was, young Craig was returned to the forgiving arms of his Mother, no longer university material. He had acquired what the medics like to refer to as ‘the tremors’. It meant that he could no longer drink tea out of a cup – the only way to rehydrate himself was with the aid of a milk bottle and a long straw, anything less and everyone within range would end up soaked. He had a slight paralysis of the jaw, not much, but sufficient to ensure that he could not, as the rest of us do, keep his mouth shut and the spittle in, Craig had to wear a bib to collect the spittle on his chest. He could no longer walk either, but he was mobile, the state having provided him with a motorised wheelchair.
Along the way he had become a millionaire, the drivers insurance company having ‘compensated’ him for his injuries. The kindly, caring, Court of Protection had stepped in to ‘look after’ his money, so he had no say in how it was spent.
Now whenever (on the rare occasions that it does) the conversation veers towards the subject of sex and the disabled, there is invariable a eugenically centered argument as to whether it is ‘right’ or ‘proper’ for those with Down’s syndrome to reproduce, we seem to have no problem discussing such an abstract concept. The judicial system can cope with an argument as to whether four men have the right to nail each others nipples to a bread board, these matters are quite open. Our parliamentarians can discuss for days whether it is right and proper for a comedian to poke fun at Harry’s wish to become Harriet.
Young Craig was fully aware that being a millionaire was insufficient aphrodisiac to over come the reluctance of any of the young ladies in his local drinking establishment to go home for the night with a 23 year old man who dribbled down his shirt, drank his beer out of a half filled milk bottle with the aid of a straw, and needed his Mother’s help to get his trousers off. It was only his head which had gone through that windscreen, his penis resolutely refused to accept the situation. Come Friday night, it stood to attention, shouted ‘Whay the lads’, and demanded to be let out to play.
What, he wanted to know, was I going to do about it? It was a perfectly reasonable question, and when I talk of proportional humiliation, I am talking about a young man who had to bring this conversation up with a stranger, a woman old enough to be his Mother, in order that I could write a report to a solicitor, so that the solicitor could make an application to the court that his Mother not be informed, that young Craig, this week, would like to be given £250, no receipts to be requested, so that he could hire a hotel room for the afternoon, away from his caring Mother’s prying eyes, the balance to be handed to whichever of the local professional sex workers was prepared to come round to that room and attend to his needs.
The court turned him down. £250? No receipts? I got a routine lambasting for having involved myself in such an indelicate matter.
Tuppy Owens, the founder of the Tender Loving Care, campaigns for the sexual needs of disabled people to be recognised by care workers. “Sex is right at the bottom of the list when it comes to their care requirements,” she says. “But they have a right to enjoy all elements of life just like everyone else.
Many high-profile names have backed the TLC’s cause, including Lord Faulkner of Worcester, Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer and the philosopher and author A. C. Grayling, but no one has gone so far as to suggest that sex workers should be paid for by the NHS.
Why not? Sex therapy is available for men suffering from penile dysfunction, Viagra is routinely paid for, every conceivable physical cosmetic vanity catered for by the NHS; and yet a group of disabled men and women have to perform their variety of the sex act in front of an audience in order to even raise the profile of their unmentionable ‘problem’ – far less solve it, and earnest parliamentarians are consumed with the injustice of one particular group suffering a minor humiliation at the hands of comedians?
The Danish Government is under attack for paying for its disabled citizens to have sex once a month with prostitutes. Opposition parties have attacked the move claiming it is an ‘immoral way of spending tax-payers money’.
The British Government has done nothing to assist its disabled citizens to have sex, and yet spent money lobbying for its gay citizens to have the ‘freedom’ to marry – surely an oxymoron, for marriage is an instrument of the state, maintained by the state, hardly a ‘freedom’.
There is an urgent need for a sense of proportion in all this. I can scarcely imagine the outcry had four young gay man been required to demonstrate their sex act in front of an audience of medics, academics, and other interested parties in order for them to obtain the ‘right’ to have sex.