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.
The sixth sense, second sight, third eye. We are supposed to have both extra-accurate hearing and perfect pitch, more numerous and more acute taste buds, a finer touch, a bloodhound’s sense of smell.
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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.