When my brother was alive, he was living with a handicap. He had muscular dystrophy of the type Duchenne (“Dystrophia Musculorum Progressiva, typus Duchenne”). This kind of handicap is bad news – really bad.
I and my family got the news about the handicap back in 1979 (might be earlier – I was only 5 years, or so). It was told that it was not likely that my brother would survive much longer than the age of 18. Fortunately, my brother lived longer than that. He died in 2001, 28 years old.
Muscular dystrophy has a very bad habit, it weakens the muscles and it gets worse over time. If you have the Duchenne variation, it will get worse and worse. In the age 10-12, you will probably need help for walking, and will soon need a wheelchair (normally an electric wheelchair, a little later). In the 20’s many will need help for respiration and might need a respirator to help you breathe. My brother had a respirator on his wheelchair for many years.
I loved spending time with my brother (Brian), who also was the best friend I could get. Brian was a bright person – his brain worked really well. Together we experienced a lot of joy and of course also sadness.
Stares and downgrading
I have been on the sideline of my brother, the most his life. From the sideline, I have experienced and noticed a lot of things. It is not easy to be disabled, many people stare at you when you’re in a wheelchair. Many people don’t think you can have a well functional brain when you are disabled and in a wheelchair. Therefore, they talk to you as if you were 5 years old. It doesn’t get better when you have a respirator on the back of your wheelchair, with a tube going from the back side of the wheelchair to the throat (there is a made a tracheotomy in the throat where the tube goes and makes it possible to breathe with the respirator).
For many people, it can be hard to understand what all this do to a human being. The starting, the downgrading and in many cases also bullying. Many people without anybody problems, has a problem with their body image. Imagine, how hard it must be, when you at the same time, has a lot of people staring at you and asking “stupid questions” like they were talking to a small child.
When my brother lived, I wasn’t nudist. I would rather say – I loved being naked, but that was alone in my apartment or on a deserted spot on the beach. Now I have realised that I love being naked. I like going to nude beaches and on naturist vacations. Naturism has learned me that nakedness can create acceptance of your own body and nudity makes other accept different bodies at the same time. We are all different and we are all equal at the same time. Nobody looks the same and that is what makes us equal.
I can’t remember that I’ve seen any naked disabled people on a naturist beach or a naturist resort so far. It is a bit sad, because what would happen if more disabled visited naturist places? I think there would be a much bigger understanding for disabled men and women. Another thing is that the disabled would experience, that they would feel more accepted in naturist societies, where diversities is much more accepted than other places.