“It’s our secret hideaway,” said Rachel, 21, who has Down syndrome, as she snuggled with Nicholas, 24, who has a developmental disability.
“Here, no one can see us and we are free to do whatever we want.” For people with disabilities like Rachel and Nicholas, such freedom to be intimate is rare.
“Now, if it’s [a.m.], that means I’ve got until 5 minutes to 1 p.m., before they start knocking on the door, saying my time is up.
It’s not much time.” Duncan said he met his sweetheart, who is 41 and developmentally disabled, while they were sitting at opposite computer terminals at the local library.
“All too often, we err on the side of overprotection.” In the meantime, sex remains a taboo subject in many residential settings for disabled people, which makes them more vulnerable to abuse because they are unsure about setting boundaries, said Fitzsimons of Minnesota State, Mankato.But that will require another complicated round of negotiations. I want to wake up in the morning and have someone there by my side and feel happy — just like everyone else.” DATE NIGHT: Rachel Larson and Nicholas Hamilton had an evening out at Rosedale Center.He suspects the answer will be “No.” Fear of rejection has kept him from making the formal request. “But if I ask for an overnight, I’m worried that I’m going to come off as some creep, as some guy who just thinks with his pants. ” Asked why a night alone with his friend is so important, Duncan shot back: “You have someone, right? They have support from their parents, including Larson’s mother, right, who said people with disabilities deserve the chance to “make the sort of mistakes we made when we were young.” Many restrictions reflect a well-intentioned effort to keep group home residents safe.Often, the barriers are imposed by group home operators that place safety above intimacy.In the isolating confines of Minnesota’s more than 4,500 group homes, true intimacy can be impossible.The physical and legal barriers are sometimes reinforced by the widely held perception that people with disabilities are “asexual,” or are too helpless to consent to intimacy, advocates say.“We are denying people [with disabilities] a fundamental part of being human — the right to have intimacy and connectedness,” said Nancy Fitzsimons, a professor of social work at Minnesota State University, Mankato.ear sunset, Rachel Larson grabbed Nicholas Hamilton by the hand and pulled him down a steep embankment below a graffiti-covered bridge.With late-summer mosquitoes buzzing around them, the two giggled and caressed each other, their voices muffled by the rush of a nearby stream and the traffic above.Captivated by her long blonde hair and dark eyes, Duncan introduced himself. The woman, whom he declined to identify, first insisted that she was engaged, then reluctantly agreed to go out with him, Duncan said.Their first date was a visit to the Minnesota Twins winter caravan in Fergus Falls.