On Devotees

Published: Aug 06, 2017

Recently, I received the following question in my inbox:

quote: Do you think devotees who respect consent and common decency and don’t act like creeps are OK? Devotee meaning someone who is primarily or exclusively attracted to disability or disabled people. I’m sort of on the spectrum of devoteeism and I feel like crap because someone else I was following just posted something about how disgusting devotees are. end quote

To be honest, I had to take a good hour or so to gather my thoughts before addressing such a sensitive and controversial topic. There’s a lot to unpack here and I want to make sure I state my opinions and beliefs regarding “devotee‐ism” very carefully.

Let me start off by saying this: I don’t believe in kink‐shaming. If someone gets off on something that I’m not into, it’s not my job to try and police it. If it always involves two (or more, who knows?) consenting adults and everyone is safe, then go for it.

Devoteeism, in my view, is not a kink. You cannot objectify and fetishize an entire group of people and claim that you’re operating within the bounds of “consent” and “common decency”.

Disabled people have a hard enough time addressing our sexuality both internally and within the eyes of society as a whole. We have little to no representation in media and when we are represented it’s through either a lens of pity or as another item to check off on your Fuck World Tour next to “Little Person” (I’m being polite here and using the correct term but I’m pretty fucking sure that’s not what you wrote down), Trans Person (again, being polite), and “Two People at the Same Time, Bro”.

Devoteeism is objectification plain and simple. You can wrap it up in whatever reasoning you want but at the end of the day you’re seeking sexual gratification in what is very likely an unhealthy power dynamic. Meanwhile, I’m over here trying to get able‐bodied people to quit asking me if my dick works.

Being a devotee and seeking out disabled people simply because they are disabled is like going to the bar and saying to every woman you meet “I’m into you because you’re Asian, not because you’re interesting”. I’m sure you can imagine how well that would go over.

One more thing: If you describe yourself as belonging to a group of people who seek out a specific kind of sexual gratification but you caveat that description with the fact that you “respect consent and common decency”, maybe you should reevaluate your membership in that group.