Are Blind People Denied Their Sexuality?
The contortions that people will undergo to desexualize me, a blind woman, can be overwhelming.
This is A Blind Writer’s Notebook, a monthly column by M. Leona Godin about her experiences as a writer and the monolithic trope of blindness.
The Sheltering Sky.
Waiting for the Barbarians
“When I look straight there is nothing, there is— ”(she rubs the air in front of her like someone cleaning a window).
“A blur,” I say.
“There is a blur. But I can see out of the sides of my eyes. The left eye is better than the right. How could I find my way if I didn’t see?”
“You visit other girls,” she whispers. “You think I do not know?”
I make a peremptory gesture for her to be quiet.
“Do you also treat them like this?” she whispers, and starts to sob.
Though my heart goes out to her, there is nothing I can do. Yet what humiliation for her! She cannot even leave the apartment without tottering and fumbling while she dresses. She is as much a prisoner now as ever before. I pat her hand and sink deeper into gloom.
M. Leona Godin is a writer, actor, artist, and educator who is blind.
She is currently working on Seeing & Not-Seeing: A Personal and
Cultural History of Blindness with Pantheon Books. Godin founded
Aromatica Poetica as a venue for exploring the arts and sciences of
smell and taste, an online magazine not specifically for, but
welcoming to, blind readers and writers. She is proud to be a 2019
Logan Nonfiction Fellow.
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The idea of exploitation seemed to me fraught with assumptions about what a blind person is supposed to do and be—assumptions that insist blind people be poets and prophets, saints or beggars, not lowbrow entertainers.
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I felt that whipping out the white cane would irrevocably launch me into the kingdom of the blind, and, for many years, I did not want to go there.