"Assisted autonomy" and sexual rights for individuals with Down Syndrome
Georgia Rose Seltzer
May 15, 2020
Department or Program
Individuals with Down Syndrome have too often been left out of sexual narratives and misrepresented by societal norms to be antithetical to the autonomous being. By analyzing both the autonomy and rights frameworks in tandem with the experiences of employment and housing opportunities, I argue that “assisted autonomy” increases access to sexual rights for individuals with Down Syndrome. “Assisted autonomy” refers to one’s ability to make decisions or act with the assistance, but not force, of a support system. In the case of Down Syndrome sexuality, this includes accessible sex education, facilitated consent, and sex surrogacy. This thesis hopes to begin the process of shifting the harmful perceptions of autonomy, sexuality, Down Syndrome, and their inherent connections.