Autistic Perspective Series: Sex and Sexuality

RESOURCES

Resources that have an ** next to it contain explicit content. 

VOCABULARY

 

Glossary of LGBTQ Terms This resource contains many definitions from the LGBTQ community. Some are related to sexual orientation and identity, and some are related to gender identity. Someone's sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression are separate. To learn more about the differences between them, visit here.

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PANELISTS

 

Lydia X. Z. Brown (they/them)

Lydia X. Z. Brown is an advocate, organizer, educator, attorney, strategist, and writer. Their work focuses on addressing state and interpersonal violence targeting disabled people living at the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, faith, language, and nation. They are Policy Counsel for Disability Rights and Algorithmic Fairness for the Privacy and Data Project at the Center for Democracy and Technology, and Director of Policy, Advocacy, and External Affairs for the Autistic Women and Nonbinary Network.

Lydia currently serves as a member of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Disability Rights, chairperson of the ABA Civil Rights and Social Justice Section’s Disability Rights Committee, and representative of the Disability Justice Committee to the National Lawyers Guild’s National Executive Committee. They also serve on the board of directors of the Alliance for Citizen Directed Supports, and on advisory boards for organizations including the Transgender Law Center, The Kelsey, Borealis Philanthropy, the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy, the Nonbinary and Intersex Recognition Project, and the Vera Institute for Justice. They regularly provide consulting, training, and workshops to nonprofit organizations, services agencies, colleges and universities, and other programs and companies interested in radical access and inclusion.

Lydia founded the Fund for Community Reparations for Autistic People of Color’s Interdependence, Survival, and Empowerment. They are currently creating their own tarot deck, Disability Justice Wisdom Tarot. Lydia is Adjunct Lecturer in Disability Studies at Georgetown University and Adjunct Professorial Lecturer in American Studies at American University’s Department of Critical Race, Gender, and Culture Studies. Previously, they taught at Tufts University as a Visiting Lecturer for the Experimental College. Often, their most important work has no title, job description, or funding, and probably never will.

Azrael Burton (xe/they)

Azrael is working toward a degree in Women and Gender Studies with a Minor in Sexuality Studies. Xe is driven by furthering sex education into a more intersectional arena, as xis lived experience is inherently intersectional.  They believe marginalized communities are particularly underserved in many academic conversations surrounding gender, sex and sexuality and looks to those primary sources as equally important.

Hannah Shumaker (sher/her)

Hannah Shumaker (she/her) is passionate about transforming curiosity into understanding, connection, and collaboration.  The foundation of her work is a belief in the inherent value of each person's experience, identity, and perspective.  Hannah does not ascribe to deficit models but instead brings a lens of socio-cultural construction of disability, as well as a keen eye for power disparity, to her work.  She honors the identities of each individual and strives to expose the impact of inequality within relationships and structures.  

As an autistic parent of two children (7 and 17) and spouse of a neurotypical partner, Hannah brings experience and insight to ND/NT parenting, partnership, and working relationships.  Her personal experience is complemented by work, research, and education, including a Bachelor's degree in Anthropology (UNC-G), graduate certificate in Disability Studies (CUNY), and ongoing graduate study in Counselor Education (NCSU). 

Hannah is a North Carolina Certified Peer Support Specialist and has training and practice in Nonviolent Communication, Wellness Recovery Action Planning, Advanced Training in Collaborative and Proactive Solutions (CPS) with Dr. Ross Greene, Somatic Abolitionism, Accessibility Auditing, and analysis and construction of sensory-friendly physical spaces.  Hannah is a graduate of the Ability Leadership Project Disability Justice Activism training with Disability Rights North Carolina. She is currently enrolled in the Genesis Healing Institute’s Liberation Academy for white practitioners, a year-long educational training designed to decolonize mental health practice.

She volunteers on the Board of Women's Birth and Wellness Center, with The Arc of the Triangle's Human Rights Committee, and as a consultant for the Safe Kids Coalition of Orange/Chatham County as a Child Passenger Safety Technician with Special Needs training.  For many years she was a homestead farmer and educator, although now living in Carrboro, NC, she carries that experience forward in the sensory-friendly therapeutic garden and play space, available on a case-by-case basis.

Hannah believes that ruptures in relationships may be bridged through understanding of unmet needs and lagging skills, as well as through centering radical equity in shared spaces.  It is only by taking a wider view of behaviour that we are able to gain true understanding and acceptance of individual as well as collective needs.  All needs may be met when we begin with curiosity, grow comprehension and acceptance, and then move forward collaboratively.

 

Jenna Meehan (she/her)

Jenna (she/her) is an Autistic and ADHD occupational therapist that recently opened her neurodiversity-affirming private practice, BE ME Occupational Therapy, focusing on providing supportive, authentic, and validating OT to adults and children as well as consulting with organizations and businesses for improved community neurodiversity support and inclusion. She lives in Durham, NC with her neurodivergent children and partner.