‘She was the light’

GA Voice - - Sex & Dating -

“How am I sup­posed to touch you?” It’s a ques­tion that Evan Wain­wright, 29, has been asked so of­ten by ro­man­tic part­ners that he has an an­swer at the ready. “Un­less I say some­thing, just do what you’d nor­mally do,” he says. For most men, their first im­pres­sion of him in his souped-up wheel­chair is one of fragility, but Wain­wright is quick to re­mind po­ten­tial suit­ors that his dis­abil­ity does not de­fine him or in­hibit his abil­ity to give or re­ceive plea­sure.

Wain­wright has cere­bral palsy: a neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­or­der that per­ma­nently af­fects body move­ment and mus­cle co­or­di­na­tion. He tells Ge­or­gia Voice that a bad de­ci­sion by his birth doc­tor re­sulted in his present con­di­tion.

“Three days af­ter I was born ... the doc­tor was try­ing to see if I could breathe on my own be­cause I was pre­ma­ture,” he said. “He turned off the air in my in­cu­ba­tor and that made me have a seizure, which caused me not to be able to walk.”

While Wain­wright has been ad­just­ing to life with cere­bral palsy since in­fancy, he says he first ac­knowl­edged his at­trac­tion to the same gen­der around age 13, and later made the de­ci­sion to come out in col­lege to a sur­pris­ingly sup­port­ive fam­ily.

Still sex­ual

Ac­cord­ing to Wain­wright, two of the big­gest mis­con­cep­tions he’s en­coun­tered about peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties are the no­tions that dis­abled peo­ple are un­in­ter­ested in sex or in­ca­pable of be­ing aroused.

“I lost my vir­gin­ity at 21 to an able-bod­ied per­son that I met on­line. He came down to see me one week­end and that’s when it hap­pened,” he said. “He knew I was dis­abled and he was cool with it. I thought I was just go­ing to be a top. And then he wanted to top me (laugh­ter),” he said.

With lim­ited mo­bil­ity due to his dis­abil-

Fe­bru­ary 5, 2016

ity, pre­par­ing to be the re­cep­tive part­ner dur­ing sex can be chal­leng­ing.

“I don’t do it that of­ten, but when I do they usu­ally help me with the process,” he said.

Hav­ing grown tired of mean­ing­less sex, Wain­wright says he’s now hold­ing out for a mean­ing­ful re­la­tion­ship, which he be­lieves is within reach.

An­gela Davis, 45, is an ex­am­ple of what is pos­si­ble for Wain­wright and other LGBT peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties. Davis is legally blind—a fact that most peo­ple find hard to be­lieve. A ca­reer de­vel­op­ment ser­vices man­ager at the Cen­ter for the Visu­ally Im­paired, Davis is also an or­dained min­is­ter, artist and fi­ancée to long-time At­lanta les­bian ac­tivist and “ZAMI NOBLA” ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Mary Anne Adams. Davis re­calls the on­set of her vi­sion loss af­ter a trip to Namibia in 2003:

“Three months af­ter that ex­pe­ri­ence I de­vel­oped some vi­sion loss. No vi­sion in the left eye and par­tial in the right,” she said. “Within a mat­ter of 24 hours I was to­tally blind. No light per­cep­tion, to­tal dark­ness. I couldn’t even tell you if it was sunny. I spent two months like that.”

Di­ag­nosed with op­tic nerve at­ro­phy, Davis has lost the abil­ity to see fine de­tail, but her abil­ity to thrive pro­fes­sion­ally and ro­man­ti­cally re­mains in­tact.

As a min­is­ter, “Je­sus was my Satur­day night hot thing,” she says of her years-long ab­sence


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