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Tesi di dottorato: (In)visibile bodies: Disability, Sexuality and Constitutional Law

Carla Maria Reale

Tesi di dottorato di Carla Maria Reale, dal titolo "(In)Visible bodies: Disability, Sexuality and Constitutional law" discussa presso l'Università di Trento il 2 aprile 2020


This study aims to investigate the field where law, sexuality and disability meet, with a particular focus on constitutional law. Through the use of comparative law and an interdisciplinary approach, the study will try to understand whether the law might have a role in overcoming social barriers affecting people with disabilities in the sphere of sexuality, and which are the criteria the State should follow when intervening in this complex field. Drawing on different notions of disability, we will sketch how law itself is slowly enacting a paradigm shift in disability law, while leaving outside some of the ultimate inquiries elaborated by disability theorists. It is the case of the issue of sexuality, which still remains a "silenced discourse" both on the international and domestic level. In spite of its relevant legal implications (e.g. forced sterilization and legal denial of sexual agency) and recent efforts to secure its negative aspects, the right to sexuality for people with disabilities has not been the object of positive measures, with few exceptions (e.g. Denmark). One of the most debated instruments in this field is currently sexual assistance: a controversial praxis, even in its definition and boundaries. It was observed, both at the domestic level and by comparative analysis, that the legal status and the factual development of this tool is strictly linked to the regulation on sex working. An alternative solution, namely framing sexual assistance as a form of personal assistance in Italy, will be theorized. Sexual assistance, however, is condemned to be ineffective if not surrounded by other tools (such as inclusive sexual education, sexual counselling etc.) aimed at fostering self-determination in the sexual sphere for people with disabilities. These policies need to be developed down the constitutional path already traced by the jurisprudence, starting from the experience and questions of people with disabilities and using flexible sources of law rather than hard law. In this way law could contribute to the social change needed to dismantle social barriers and discrimination experienced by people with disabilities in the field of sexuality and grant them full participation in all areas of life.

Pubblicato il: Martedì, 14 Aprile 2020
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