Campaign fights stigma surrounding learning disabilities and sex

LONDON - Sexual health charity FPA is launching a campaign promoting the rights of people with learning disabilities to have sex and relationships.

The "It's My Right" poster advertising push is the result of a collaboration between FPA (formerly the Family Planning Association), ad agency the Ethical Agency and photographer Marcus Lyon.

The work is aimed at promoting Sexual Health Week, which runs from August 4 to 10, as well as changing attitudes.

According to the FPA, there are over 1.5m people in the UK with learning disabilities, but there is still a stigma attached to accepting them as sexual beings, which can stop people with disabilities form exploring their sexuality, having relationships and having sex.

The Ethical Agency has created a series of posters addressing this issue and presenting the disadvantaged as sexual beings. The posters use photographs of real people with learning disabilities striking sensual poses. The models were selected via dating agency Stars in the Sky.

Rebecca Findlay, the FPA's press and campaigns manager, said: "Powerful imagery which speaks intimately to its audience was needed for the campaign materials, and The Ethical Agency and Marcus Lyon have delivered this in abundance.

"Creating posters that people with and without learning disabilities can connect with and invest in emotionally was a key to the campaign. I'm very happy we've achieved that and produced some quite beautiful pictures at the same time."

The posters, and other campaign materials, will be sent out to thousands of professionals working in the UK sexual health and learning disability sectors.x

FPA will also be launching a CD-rom for people with learning disabilities on August 4.

Stuart Fermor, one of the Ethical Agency's creative partners, said: "To be asked to raise such an important issue among people with learning difficulties was a great brief, and to do it, we hope, without being patronising or exploitative.

"Meeting the people who were our models was life affirming. They were a terrific bunch of people, who were really up for the campaign and we'd like to thank them for helping us to see people with learning difficulties as wonderful, complex human beings."