Monthly Archives: July 2012

Participants Needed

I’m looking for 4 or 5 disabled people who identify as gay, lesbian, bi, queer or trans to participate in individual interviews about their experience of sexual and/or erotic pleasure, particularly in relation to how their identity as, and lived experience of being, a disabled person affects their experiences. The interviews will be the research for my MSc dissertation in Gender and Sexuality.

If you think this is something you’d like to do, please read on – please pass this on to your friends and acquaintances as well.

If you would like to participate – or would like to ask me any questions, please email me at eshepp01 [at ] mail.bbk.ac.uk or leave a comment in the box below with a way to contact you (comments are not automatically published, and I will not reveal your personal information).

About You:

  • You must be 18 or over at the time of interview.
  • You must identify as disabled, with part/all of your impairment(s) affecting your mobility and/or range of movement or motor control; you can have multiple conditions (I include chronic illnesses and pain within disability).
  • You must be sexually active – either currently or in the past. It’s up to you how you define sexually active, but if your disability/impairment is acquired, you must have been sexually active since that point. I include solo sexual activity – i.e. masturbation – as sexually active, but if you don’t, that’s ok too.
  • You must identify as Queer, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Trans.
  • You’re happy to talk about having sex, sexual and erotic pleasure, and your disability.
  • You live in the UK.

The Interviews:

Face to face interviews will be conducted in a location of the your choosing, if both you and my own access requirements can be met (including the services of a BSL interpreter if necessary; I do not speak BSL to anywhere near an appropriate level). Unfortunately, I’m not able to travel far outside of London, but I will make every attempt to do so if possible. . Otherwise, interviews will be conducted via Skype, or through e-mail, depending on your preference.

The interviews will be recorded, and you will have the opportunity to review and revise the transcripts. I think the interviews will take an hour or thereabouts if done by Skype or in person, and email interviews would involve maybe five or six emails being exchanged. I am also happy to do the interview through instant messenger if you’d prefer.

I am happy for you to have your assistant present if you wish, or a translator if you prefer to speak BSL or a language other than English. While I’m not able to pay you to participate, I am happy to cover the costs of a translator.

The Questions:

The basic questions will be the same for all participants, however, the direction of our conversation will be guided by your answers and what you want to talk about; I might have other questions, depending on what you say. You do not have to answer any question you are uncomfortable with, and I will stop or pause the interview should you wish.

The interview data and transcripts will be made anonymous in the final dissertation, and any other publication resulting from this work.

The following questions will be the initial “starter” questions, although some may not be relevant to you.

  • Does your disability affect your current sexual/intimate relationship(s) or activities? How?
  • Does your disability affect forming new sexual relationships? How?
  • Do you think your impairment has changed how you approach or go about sexual activity? If you have always been disabled, or were disabled from childhood, do you think your disability affects your sexual activity?
  • Does your disability play a role in your sexuality or how you see yourself as a sexual person?
  • Has their impairment changed how you view and/or express your sexuality?

The following biographical information will be collected as well:

  • Age, Gender, Sexual Orientation, Ethnicity
  • Impairment/disability
  • Age of impairment occurring/developing
  • Do they have/need a carer or personal assistant, if yes, is that person(s) a relative/friend, or an employee?

Getting In Touch:

If you would like to participate – or would like to ask me any questions, please email me at eshepp01 [at ] mail.bbk.ac.uk or leave a comment in the box below with a way to contact you (comments are not automatically published, and I will not reveal your personal information). I can also be reached on twitter, if that’s your thing.

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Participants and interviews.

Being mildly forgetful, I forgot to record the presentation I did last week at uni, on my dissertation. It wasn’t particularly long or in-depth, but it would have made a good post. Oops. If anyone is interested, please let me know and I’ll send them a copy, complete with notes – I am working out how to put the powerpoint online with all the notes; I’d use Prezi, but it makes me nauseous, and I’m not sure how well it goes with text-to-speech readers. If anyone has any suggestions, I’m all ears open comment box.

 

On to other things. I’m still waiting for ethics clearance from Bickbeck to start interviews, but hopefully I should hear soon-ish. By the end of July at the most; this has meant I’ve started to think about contingency plans, as that will only leave me six weeks to find participants, do the interviews, and write everything up – and I’m very aware that trying to rush things is not only bad for research, but bad for my health and sanity. Having said that, if you, dear reader, think you’d like to be a participant, let me know – these are my criteria:

  • You must be 18 or over at the time of interview.
  • You must identify as disabled, with part/all of your impairment(s) affecting your mobility and/or range of movement or motor control; you can have multiple conditions and I include chronic illnesses and pain within disability.
  • You must be sexually active – either currently or in the past. It’s up to you how you define sexually active, but if your disability/impairment is acquired, you must have been sexually active since that point. I include solo sexual activity – i.e. masturbation – as sexually active, but if you don’t, that’s ok too.
  • You must identify as Queer, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Trans.
  • You’re happy to talk about having sex, sexual and erotic pleasure, and your disability.
  • You live in the UK.

 

I am restricting participants geographically in part because I think that the institutions and systems that regulate and affect disability are geographically-specific; access to medical care is different in the UK to the US, for example, and this influences how disability is viewed and thought of. It also means that, while I don’t think I’ll be able to do all the interviews face-to-face, I will at least have a chance to try to do so. Futher to that, while face-to-face interviews are arguably the norm for this sort of thing, I am limited myself in terms of access to transport – partly due to expense, partly to do with my own disability making longer-distance travel difficult – and so interviews will be conducted through Skype or email where face-to-face meetings aren’t possible – you’ll get to say which one you’re more comfortable with, and obviously, all interviews will be recorded and there will be informed consent forms to sign. If you have a carer or personal assistant, I am more than happy for them to be present if you wish – however, they will also have to sign consent forms; if you need a BSL or other language interpreter, there will be forms for them too (and I’ll be meeting that cost, even if you have someone you would rather bring).

The restriction to disabled people whose impairments affect their mobility is more complicated. In part, it’s purely logistical – this is only a MSc, and so my focus needs to be relatively narrow in order to be manageable. Then, more selfishly, I’m more familiar with mobility problems – I would say that I have issues with my mobility and range of movement – and so I’ve got a more vested interest. I’m not sure if this will make be a better researcher, but it will mean that I’m more in my comfort zone than if I were discussing queer sexualities and intellectual disabilities – both in terms of knowledge and my own empathies. While I do need to challenge myself, I don’t want to challenge myself too much – or do a disservice to the people who are taking the time to talk to me.