12 January 2017

Book Review: Already Doing It

Michael Grill is an American assistant professor at Grinnell College in Iowa. This is his second book.

Already Doing It is about sexual agency with those that live with intellectual disability. I have to admit that I have thought very broadly and very deeply over the years about sexuality, sexual agencies, kinship, etc., and in my own able-ist way, I have never really thought deeply about sexual agency of the intellectually disabled.

For those with intellectual disability, having a sexual partner or having sex is in part determined by parents, teachers, doctors, nurses, lawyers and judges. The most disturbing aspect that I had no knowledge of previously is how right-wing evangelical Christian views of kinship and gender roles so strongly filter into sex education materials for not just those with intellectual disabilities but also for all of the "professionals" who participate in decision making about these issues. Gay, straight, whatever.

He then moves onto even more (to me) alien issues such as the impulse of persons with intellectual disability to be parents. Is parenthood only reserved the rich, white, able-bodied heterosexual couples? If the state intervenes and manages so much of a particular person's life, should such intervention and management vouchsafe for an intellectually disabled person's desire to be a parent?

I'll let you ponder those questions but definitely consider reading this book. In some ways I'm embarrassed that I had never fully considered these issues. In fact, when I first starting reading the book, it wasn't that these issues were demystified or that I had some hidden reactionary view that was dispelled. Rather, there was an absence of a position entirely. I had never thought about it although, for certain state institutions, these are fairly common considerations to be taken account of.

The version I read was a 288 page paperback published by University of Minnesota Press (March 17, 2015).

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