Disability Studies

Sins Invalid: An Unashamed Claim to Beauty in the Face of Invisibility

When members of Krip-Hop Nation visited the Syracuse community back in October, they discussed hip hop culture, social and media constructions of disability, and sexuality. During the discussion, Keith Jones said, “People think that when you have a disability, you don’t need an education. You don’t need relationships. You don’t have a sexual identity because you can’t possibly have sexual feelings.”

This “lack” of sexual ability prevails within our cultural narratives of disability. We see this in the news (e.g., stories of women with disabilities who are given hysterectomies so they cannot reproduce), in movies that equate sex with pity (e.g. I Am Sam), and in collective understandings of sex, sexuality, and ability.

Rodney Bell, Sins Invalid Performer
Rodney Bell, Sins Invalid Performer - via Richard Downing

Sins Invalid: An Unashamed Claim to Beauty in the Face of Invisibility, a performance project that explores disability and sexuality, seeks to disrupt these narratives. According to their mission statement, Sins Invalid works to “develop and present cutting-edge work where normative paradigms of ‘normal’ and ‘sexy’ are challenged, offering instead a vision of beauty and sexuality inclusive of all individuals and communities.” The project celebrates artists who have been historically marginalized because of their disabled, raced, or queered bodies.

More recently, Sins Invalid members and volunteers have been working on a film project to share their work with people outside of the San Francisco/Bay Area. The purpose of the film is to open a dialogue about the “taboo” issue of sex/uality and dis/ability and show that all bodies are both beautiful and valuable.

If you’re interested in finding out more, you can visit their website to read more about Sins Invalid and even see some of their videos. To find out more about their film (or to donate to the project), you can visit their Kickstarter page. This project is a great opportunity to educate a wider audience about the beauty of all people’s bodies and to work against the idea that people with disabilities lack sexual identities. Best of luck to the group with completing the project!



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