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Gerald, too, receives services to achieve his goals, which include buying a home and earning his degree.
In terms of his sexuality, Gerald describes himself as a gay man.
Robert, who is 46 and identifies as bisexual, can recognize almost any disco tune and recall the year of its release.
With the help of direct support professionals, Robert maintains his own apartment.
She encourages anyone working with adults with developmental disabilities who come out as LGBTQ to find a resource for them, such as a support group.
“In Massachusetts, I’m usually the person who gets that call,” Pauline says.
Eileen even has to share a room, which doesn’t leave her a lot of privacy.
Pauline provided a simple answer: “You’re gay.” “He said ‘thank you! “He said because none of his staff wanted to answer that question.” Pauline suspects direct support professionals are “afraid they will get in trouble with their agency.” In her own experience, she has been shut out by agencies and staff who don’t want to become involved in LGBTQ politics and the free expression of sexuality of adults with developmental disabilities.
Pauline, now 51, has been receiving services since she was 15.
This is a struggle for me constantly when I want to visit other locations to meet new people.” Despite theoretically having the opportunity to meet gay men with and without disabilities, Robert remains slightly intimidated by other LGBTQ spaces, such as nightclubs and bars. I don’t know what those places are like.” Pauline, too, has detected elements ableism in LGBTQ spaces outside of her support groups.
“I haven’t really been exposed to that kind of environment. I’d like to explore that part of the LGBT community,” Robert says. Early on in her career in advocacy, Pauline reached out to Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) to involve them in her work with adults with developmental disabilities and “they just kind of shrugged it off.