Somebody To Love

2014, 53 minutes

Sexuality is an integral part of life and is recognised as a basic human need. Yet, for people with a disability, it is often disregarded. In fact our culture, society and even sometimes our judicial system, impose limitations upon the romantic lives of the disabled.

Sexuality is not only about attraction or about the act of sex itself. Its about self esteem, gender and body awareness, as well as the formation of relationships. It is, for many, the search for that which makes life ultimately worthwhile: human connection.

Largely observational in style and relying on first hand experiences Somebody To Love provides a diverse range of stories from all around Ireland from individuals or couples with different disabilities, both physical and intellectual.

The programme is opened by the charming Kieran Coppinger (33), an actor with Down's syndrome from Blue Teapot Theatre Company in Galway. Together with his leading lady Charlene Kelly (29), who also has an intellectual disability, they are putting on a play, challenging a little known law which governs the sex lives of the intellectually disabled.

In Dublin, Mandy Finlay [40] has Down's Syndrome and lives in the St John of Gods Service. Mandy has always had a boyfriend in her life and her mother, Frieda Finlay, has been campaigning on capacity and decision making laws for over 20 years. She believes in Mandy's right to romance.

A lack of clarity in the legislation is sometimes used to control sexuality and the relationship rights of people with intellectual disabilities.

Ciara Staunton [27], from Wicklow, had an accident in her early twenties. It took her some time to regain her self-esteem and sense of sexuality, but she is actively back in the dating world. She describes the experience of self-rediscovery as a second puberty.

Her friend Deirdre Mongan [35], from Newcastle, Co. Down, is also a wheelchair user and will shortly marry Steve Donnan. The wedding preparations are underway, but how will how will the dress work in a wheelchair ?

Sarah and John Paul Fitzgerald are both in their 30s. They're from Tullamore, County Offaly and have been together for 14 years. Both of them work, enjoy independent lives and have Cerebral Palsy. Recently married, they also have a young child. They don't see themselves as any different from any other Irish family, but how do people treat them?

In this documentary, we learn about the practical and emotional obstacles faced by our cast of contributors and watch as they live, play, celebrate, and love :- taking journeys to create change in both their own lives, and the society around them.

Are we really so different or is there something fundamentally human which binds us all together?






Editor Patrick Hodgins
Executive Producers Adrian McCarthy
Martha O'Neill
Producer Zlata Filipovic
Director Anna Rodgers




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Somebody To LoveMonday, February 17, 2014