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

  • Sara Axtell


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 


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1999

Authors and Affiliations

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

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