The past week, our little paradise has been shaken by the vehement dismay for people living with disabilities. The plights of people with disabilities are not different from LGBTQIA+ people. The more so, LGBTQIA+ people with disabilities in Mauritius live through a double challenge which are intersectional: being ostracised, discriminated against, denied access to services and face challenges in their daily lives.
Policy wise, the quasi non-existence of data concerning disabled people and LGBTQIA+ people makes it difficult to plan for improvement in the livelihood of these groups. Access to health care for people with disabilities which is often challenging is similar to hurdles faced by LGBTQIA+ people. Additionally, in most cases, people who are from low-income background faces such kind of discrimination as they cannot afford private health care services. Furthermore, LGBTQIA+ people with disabilities are most likely to have mental health issues which impact on their daily activities.
Moreover, being Queer or disabled, or both, makes one prone to bullying, stigma and discrimination from peers subsequently leading to early school dropout. As a result, this often results in unemployment impacting one’s standard of living and purchasing power. Besides, discrimination based on mental and physical capacity compounded by the discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity makes it a greater challenge for LGBTQIA+ people living with disabilities to fully integrate society.
Despite the challenges faced, there exists narratives of Queer or disabled people who have succeeded: a singer of international renown, those working in the public sector, the entrepreneurs, and the artists.
As Queer people, we need to stand in solidarity with disabled people, and fully aim at integrating society to them. Inclusion and enablers should be the philosophy driving a society towards a truly rainbow nation.
Young Queer Alliance