Saturday, 21 March 2009

The mother who is helping her Down's son lose his virginity insists: He has just as much right to a love life as anyone else

Full Article:

Sipping a bitter shandy, Otto Baxter is describing to me his ideal girlfriend. He'd like her to be pretty, petite, with a good sense of humour to match his own. Someone like former pop star and Strictly Come Dancing contestant Rachel Stevens would do, he says. 'I want to meet a nice girl, I want to make love, I want to get married one day,' he grins, 'but I don't want any children. I can't be doing with getting up in the night and changing nappies.'
So, not very different from other 21-year-old, hot-blooded males. Only Otto has Down's syndrome and his public quest to find a lover - to be just like his friends - has stirred up a hornet's nest of controversy over the taboo subject of disability and sex.
This week, his adoptive mother Lucy Baxter, 51, was accused of being 'odd', 'irresponsible', 'creepy', and 'strange' after she revealed she was actively helping her son seek a partner, setting up a Bebo page for him on the net and researching dating agencies so Otto can 'enjoy the same experiences as other men his age'.
Her assertion that she would support him if he ever wanted to seek the services of a prostitute prompted an even more vitriolic response that she would be 'pimping' out her son rather than protecting a vulnerable young man. Some readers found the very thought 'disgusting'.
Far from being hurt, Lucy Baxter welcomes the debate her words have sparked, bringing the whole issue of Down's syndrome and sexuality into the open.

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