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SFSU Public Affairs Press Release

Published by the Public Affairs Office at San Francisco State University, Diag Center.

#083--March 9, 2000 For Immediate Release
Contact: Ted DeAdwyler
phone: 415/338-1665

Sex and disability: San Francisco State University conference to take new look at a research field slow to change with society

SAN FRANCISCO, March 9, 2000 ---An international array of scholars in the field of disability and sexuality research and Bay Area disability advocates will examine the needs of the gay and lesbian disability community, mobility-impairment and sex, and sexual self-identity and self-esteem among people with disabilities during a landmark two-day conference at San Francisco State University on March 17-18.

"We look at this as a landmark conference because in addition to anthropologists, sociologists, psychologists and educators, we will have many from the disability community speak to this issue," said Gilbert Herdt, director of the Human Sexuality Studies Program at SFSU and conference chair. "Too often the voices of people who are disabled, especially those who are gay, lesbian or bisexual, have been left out of the discussion."

The Disability, Sexuality and Culture: Societal and Experiential Perspectives on Multiple Identities Conference, co-sponsored by the World Institute on Disability in Oakland and SFSU's Institute for Disability, will attract scholars from across the United States, Canada and Europe who will explore emerging issues in the field of sexuality and disability research.

S.F. State's Herdt said the focus in disability and sexuality research has changed in recent years. Research has traditionally been preoccupied with the physiological functioning of white heterosexual males with late-onset disabilities. "Now research has moved on to also include women's sexuality, the sexuality and gender identity of gays, lesbians and bisexuals who are disabled, the sexuality of people with early-onset disabilities, the sexual abuse of disabled people, the interpersonal component of disability and sexuality and many other issues," said Herdt, a leading expert on human sexuality.

Here is a summary of key sessions for the Disability, Sexuality and Culture: Societal and Experiential Perspectives on Multiple Identities Conference on March 17-18 in S.F. State's Seven Hills Conference Center.

Friday, March 17
Opening --- 9:30 a.m.
Gilbert Herdt, conference chair and director of human sexuality studies at S.F. State; Robert A. Corrigan, president of S.F. State; Devva Kasnitz, director of the World Institute on Disability; and Russell Shuttleworth of UCSF.

Disability and Sexuality: History and Context -- 10 a.m.-noon
Tom Shakespeare of the University of Newcastle in England on background and perspectives on disability and sexuality; and Barbara Faye Waxman-Fiduccia of the Center for Women's Policy Studies on current issues in the field.

Cultural Representation and the Missing Discourse of Pleasure - 1:15-3 p.m.
Pam Block Lourie of Brown University on women with cognitive disabilities; Mitchell Tepper of the University of Penn. on sexuality and disability.

New Perspectives and Community Applications of Disability and Sexuality Research - 3:15-4:45 p.m.
Ray Aguilera of the Center for Independent Living in Berkeley on sexuality and amputation; Gary Gray and Leroy Moore on Disabled Advocates Minorities Organization on the African American experience; Alice Wong of UC San Francisco on reproductive health issues; and Anne Guldin of University of Iowa on mobility-impairment and sex.

Saturday, March 18
Gender, Interpersonal Relationships and Self-Esteem --- 10-12:15 p.m.
Judith Cook of the University of Illinois, Chicago on sexuality and women with psychiatric disabilities; Russell Shuttleworth of UCSF on sexual relationships for men with cerebral palsy; Linda Mona of the World Institute on Disability on sexual self-identity and sexual self-esteem among people with disabilities.

Sexual Diversity and Multiple Identities - 2-3:30 p.m.
Shelley Tremain of the Roeher Institute and Corbett O'Toole of the Disabled Women's Alliance on sexuality of gays and lesbians who are disabled.

Clinical and Critical Approaches to Disability and Sexuality - 3:30-4:45 p.m.
Linda Mona of World Institute on Disability, Dominic Davies of Nottingham-Trent University in England and Denise Sherer Jacobson of UC.

For more information about the conference, call either Gilbert Herdt at (415) 405-3574 or Ted DeAdwyler of the Public Affairs Office at (415) 338-7110.


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