David and I were asked to attend an awareness day at the royal institute of medicine in London; this was done after I had finished working with him and as a friend. It was a joint meeting with Sexual Health and Disability Alliance (SHADA) Disability, sex, relationships and pleasure. It was entitled “Some answers to the questions every Health and Care Professional working with people with disabilities needs to ask”.
There was myself and David plus a gentleman named Dominic who is tetraplegic
And we were all there to do talks and demonstrations.
Dominic was first and his talk was entitled “What they never taught me at the spinal injuries unit: The multi-sensory experience”. I interpreted this for David which he found very interesting as Dominic was completely paralyzed from the neck down.
Then it was our turn we worked with a lady called Solitaire who is a stripper. She performed on stage whilst I interpreted for David this in itself was one of the main talking points of the event and I was constantly telling David how important what we were doing was. There were hundreds of medical professionals from all over the world who had come to see this and learn from us.
I had to voice over on this occasion so that everyone was able to hear what I was signing to David; this was very unusual as I normally just sign. I have learnt from previous experiences to use the correct medical terminology for body parts when I am interpreting as any slang will not be understood and could be misconstrued such as certain words for female genitalia whereby David enquired why she would have a cat with her. When I interpret a stripper for David, it is a job like any other job and I am there purely there to relay the information. I am not there for any other reason
This is something that I introduced to David and gave him the choice if it was something he would like to access. We work with 1 particular stripper, who knows and understands the situation very well, and will drop or drape her clothes on David as they are removed. David is not allowed to touch solitaire directly but she will often cuddle him, or drape her hair over his lap.
During my 8 years of working with David we had worked through a sense programme covering sex education and have slowly built up his knowledge about this subject – whilst at college David was taught how to cope with living with his disability and sex education and life skills with people was sadly pushed aside so this meant that he had never really had any teaching about these subject matters until he was in his 30’s.
David really loved to learn and looked forward to our weekly sessions which lasted a year to cover the necessary units and then due to David wanting to learn more they was carried on after as well
After finishing working with David I have kept in contact with him as a friend which has been a great as it has meant that I am able to do more with him as a friend than as a worker as there are fewer barriers in place.
I am very proud of the work that I do with David based on sexual awareness as it is so important yet it always seems to be such a frowned upon topic. People will continue to have their views on what I do with David but he is an adult and is fully capable of making his own decisions. He has been made fully aware of how people view this topic but he does not care as to him it is female company – and nothing more.