DCSIMG

Calendar promotes naked truth of disabled sexuality

Enhance the UK Undressing Disabilty calender picture for December. From left: Andy Trollope (T5 paraplegic), Josh Lancaster (cerebral palsy),
Elizabeth Guasp (curvature of the spine, cleft palate, hearing impariment and short stature), Jennie Williams (hereditary degenerative hearing loss) and Zoe Lloyd (rheumatoid arthritis).

Enhance the UK Undressing Disabilty calender picture for December. From left: Andy Trollope (T5 paraplegic), Josh Lancaster (cerebral palsy), Elizabeth Guasp (curvature of the spine, cleft palate, hearing impariment and short stature), Jennie Williams (hereditary degenerative hearing loss) and Zoe Lloyd (rheumatoid arthritis).

A charity calendar promoting the importance of disabled people’s sexuality has sold out of the first print run.

The Undressing Disability Calendar, showing disabled people posing in their underwear around London, was the brainchild of Jennie Williams, the founder and CEO of Aylesbury-based charity Enhance the UK.

Jennie, who was born and raised in the town, said: “We didn’t expect to sell so many so quickly, we were trying to be cautious. It’s been brilliant.

“When you are working on a campaign like this and people are buying the calendars and contacting you, you realise that what you have been working towards all these years is needed. It’s amazing.”

Jennie, 34, has a hereditary degenerative hearing loss and set up Enhance the UK five years ago with James O’Driscoll who became blind almost overnight in 1998. Their aim was to teach people how to communicate with the social and emotional needs of disabled people.

The charity provides trainers who present one-day workshops in disability awareness to groups including the fire brigade, social services and Chambers of Commerce.

The idea for the calendar came about when some of the members posed for a group photo a year ago.

Jennie said: “Some people posted it on their Facebook pages and it went viral with 3,500 hits a day mainly from America and Canada.

“We decided to try and make it bigger and do a calendar using iconic buildings and landmarks around London.”

Although the group hope to raise funds from the calendar – which is available from www.enhancetheuk.org – the main reason for doing it is linked to the group’s Undressing Disability campaign.

Jennie said: “The campaign aims to celebrate disabled bodies normally ignored and desexualised by society and to raise awareness, on as big a platform as possible, of the serious implications suppressing sexuality can have on disabled and sensory impaired people.”

The group is running sex and relationship education projects in collaboration with youth sexual health educators Brook, and donations received for the calendar will go towards the project.

Jennie said the charity hopes to see sex education in schools change to include disabled young people as well as able bodied people. She said it is important to educate disabled youngsters in order to protect them from abuse and to allow them to enjoy and celebrate their own sexuality.

The models used in the calendar are trainers from Enhance the UK and include actress Kiruna Stamell, who has restricted growth and has appeared in Moulin Rouge and EastEnders.

Andy Trollope, who appears in the December group picture, was running his own business and competing as a professional Moto X racer when a freak low speed crash left him a T5 paraplegic. Now a trustee of Enhance the UK, five years on from his acident he has been selected for the GB water ski team and is training hard for the 2014 European and 2015 World Water Ski Championships.

Aylesbury woman Zoe Lloyd also features in the group shot, as well as in a taxi shot for June.

Zoe was studying Sports Science at the University of Brighton when a rapid onset of rheumatoid arthritis forced her to leave.

Within three months she could no longer walk or even stand.

She has adapted to life in a wheelchair and now drives again, lives in her own home with 24-hour care, works part-time and maintains an active social life.

Fourteen years on she is more confident about her disability and says overcoming the mental adjustment was harder than the physical.

 

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