Advertisement

Disability and Chronic Illness Identity: Interviews with Lesbians and Bisexual Women and Their Partners

  • Sara Axtell
Article

Abstract

Disability rights activists and cultural workers are articulating disability identity and culture. Through interviews with lesbians and bisexual women with disabilities or chronic illnesses and their partners, the present study examined disability/chronic illness identity on the level of individual, couple, and community. Participants shared differing perspectives about how disability/chronic illness identity relates to other aspects of identity, and about whether disability/chronic illness identity is fluid or constant. They described several challenges they have encountered in developing disability/chronic illness identity. Couples talked about developing boundaries and balance in their relationships, and about how disability or chronic illness has strengthened their relationships. A number of participants spoke about identity as intimately linked with community. Implications for community building are discussed.

disability identity chronic illness identity community membership lesbians bisexual women 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

REFERENCES

  1. Crabtree, B. F. & Miller, W. L. (1992). A template approach to text analysis: Developing and using codebooks. In B. F. Crabtree & W. L. Miller (Eds.), Doing qualitative research (pp. 93-109). Newbury Park: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  2. Cox, S. & Gallois, C. (1996). Gay and lesbian identity development: A social identity perspective. Journal of Homosexuality, 30(4), 1-30.Google Scholar
  3. D'Auost, V. (1996). Which map is not whose territory? In S. Tremain (Ed.), Pushing the limits: Disabled dykes produce culture. Toronto: Women's Press, 154-163.Google Scholar
  4. Feinberg, L. (1996). Transgender warriors: Making history from Joan of Arc to RuPaul. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  5. Hershey, L. (1993). Coming out in voices. In M. E. Willmuth and L. Holcomb (Eds.). Women with disabilities: Found voices. Hawthorn Press, pp. 9-17.Google Scholar
  6. Ibrahim, F., Ohnishi, H., & Singh Sandu, D. (1997). Asian American identity development: A culture specific model for South Asian Americans. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 25, 34-50.Google Scholar
  7. Johnson, M. (1987, January/February). Emotion and pride: The search for disability culture. The Disability Rag, 1, 4-10.Google Scholar
  8. Lincoln, Y. S. & Guba, E. G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  9. Longmore, P. K. (1995, September/October). The second phase: From disability rights to disability culture. The Disability Rag and Resource, 4-11.Google Scholar
  10. Lorde, A. (1984). Sister outsider: Essays and speeches. Turmansburg, NY: Crossing Press.Google Scholar
  11. Moses, J. (1996). Connections. In S. Tremain (Ed.). Pushing the limits: Disabled dykes produce culture. Toronto: Women's Press. pp. 204-205.Google Scholar
  12. Pastio, D. (1995, September/October). Identifying with our culture—ourselves. The Disability Rag and Resource, 11.Google Scholar
  13. Patterson, J. M. & Garwick, A. W. (1994). Levels of meaning in family stress theory. Family Process, 33, 287-304.Google Scholar
  14. Pegues, J. (1997). Strategies from the field: Organizing the Asian-American feminist movement. In S. Shah (Ed.), Dragon ladies: Asian-American feminists breathe fire, (pp. 3-16). Boston: South End.Google Scholar
  15. Pegues, J. (1998, March). Building a broad-based social justice movement. Keynote presented at Outfront Conference, Minneapolis, MN.Google Scholar
  16. Pride and identity: Part two of an interview with New York City Disabled in Action's Nadina LaSpina and Daniel Robert. (1998, March/April). Ragged Edge, 12-14.Google Scholar
  17. Rolland, J. S. (1994). In sickness and in health: The impact of illness on couples' relationships. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 20(4), 327-347.Google Scholar
  18. Tremain, S. (1996). We're here. We're disabled and queer. Get used to it. In S. Tremain (Ed.). Pushing the limits: Disabled dykes produce culture. Toronto: Women's Press. pp. 15-24.Google Scholar
  19. Wade, C. M. (1994a, November/December). Creating a disability aesthetic in the arts. In The Disability Rag and Resource, 29-31.Google Scholar
  20. Wade, C. M. (1994b, September/October). Identity. In The Disability Rag and Resource, 32-36.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sara Axtell
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Minnesota Medical SchoolMinneapolis

Personalised recommendations