Identity, diversity and difference: young people’s experience of fertility difficulties

Disability, chronic illness and identity

Disability thus becomes a social issue in which systematic discrimination not only leads to loss of independence and choice for disabled people but also excludes them from activities Buy Tadalafil online in Canada and roles taken for granted by the majority of the population. This powerful critique, by showing that many of the disadvantages faced by disabled people result from wider society’s inability to accommodate difference, has informed disabled people’s political struggle for a positive identity. Autonomy, inclusion, control of resources, independent living and claims to equal citizenship emerge as important symbols in the positive reframing of disability.

Despite its considerable and valuable role in asserting the rights of dis-abled people, the disability movement itself has been criticized for not recognizing diversity. Struggles to maintain a positive self-identity while engaging with negative public assumptions about disability and social disadvantage occur, of course, irrespective of ethnicity. Disability, however, can only be understood against what is considered as ‘normal’ for someone of that particular age, gender, social class and ethnic and religious background. Normalcy is not a given universal and needs to be seen in its social and cultural context. Consequently, as we have seen, independence and autonomy may not have the same meaning among different social groups.

A more specific example illustrates this further and concerns the choice of young South Asian disabled people’s marriage partners, particularly since such choices occur in relation to a preference for negotiated marriages among some South Asian communities. Since a sense of ‘spoiled identity’ underpins some of their experiences, important parallels emerge relevant to debates about fertility. South Asian disabled people express various concerns about marriage and about perceptions of their suitability as marriage partners, which reflect their more general sense of disadvantage as disabled people. Despite these concerns, Hussain et al. note that marriage still remained important to young disabled people and their families and reflected the cultural importance of marriage in South Asian communities. Impairment, however, did mediate marriage negotiations and differences did emerge between the expectations of the disabled young person and their non-disabled siblings. Disabled young people often felt that they had to accept ‘second best’ and believed that their brothers and sisters were more likely to find suitable partners. Perhaps for these reasons, parents and disabled young people felt it was easier to bring marriage partners from overseas rather than try to find marriage partners in the UK. Overseas partners were seen as having lower expectations and to be more willing to come to the UK, particularly since there was the additional opportunity of settling in the UK.

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