On 17th April, the Youth Network of the European Network on Independent Living (ENIL) will be launching a week-long study session entitled “Supporting young disabled people to explore sexuality and relationships as integral to their social inclusion and independent living”. The study session, organised jointly with the Youth Department of the Council of Europe (CoE), will bring together 23 participants from 14 European countries, who will meet at the European Youth Centre in Strasbourg.
The study session on sex and relationships is ENIL’s third cooperation with the CoE Youth Department. The topic has been chosen by members of ENIL’s Youth Network and the session is being planned and delivered by a group of young disabled people from the UK, Greece, Slovenia, Serbia and Bulgaria.
The topic of sex and relationships is considered taboo in many countries – particularly so when it comes to disabled people. Disabled people are often considered as having no interest in romantic relationships, not capable of having relationships or are treated as children long into adulthood. Young disabled people may find it hard to access information or support when it comes to sexual health and forming relationships, especially if they are excluded from mainstream education. As an organisation promoting Independent Living in all its aspects, ENIL’s Youth Network will use this study session to create a safe space to explore how sexuality and relationships relate to social inclusion.
During the week, filled with interactive workshops and presentations, participants will gain a better understanding of the intersection between disability and sexuality, and acquire skills to advocate for sexual rights of young disabled people in their countries and at European level. Two experts from Austria and Iceland will help participants explore equality and respect in relationships, and sexual and reproductive rights. At the end of the study session, participants will summarise the key learning points in a statement for the ENIL Youth Network, with recommendations on how to continue advocating on this issue; all to ensure that the topic of sexuality and relationships becomes integral to the work of ENIL and its Youth Network.
In June the ENIL Youth Network will hold a webinar on the topic of the study session. It will be free of charge and participation will be online – a great opportunity for those who couldn’t get a place at the study session! Follow the ENIL website and the Youth Network facebook page for further news.
If you would like to have more information about the study session, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org