Our Lives, Our Choices, Our Rights!

About the authors

Pauline Bosma (she/her)

I am the founder and coordinator of the Rainbow Support Groups, a network of support groups for self-advocates who are members of both the intellectual and developmental disability community as well as the LGBTQ+ community. I identify as a transgender woman who is labeled with an intellectual disability. I have extensive experience offering training and presentations on sex education and issues related to the LGBTQ+ and disability community. I work for Massachusetts Advocates Standing Strong, where I continue to grow the Rainbow Groups and lead sex education webinars. I also work on the Awareness & Action peer-to-peer training to help people with disabilities recognize, respond to, and report abuse and work on the Mass Rights for Change project to develop a program to support people with disabilities who have survived sexual abuse.

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Nora Johnsen (she/her)

I am a disability rights advocate, and storyteller. I lived in Utica, NY until 2020 when I moved to Massachusetts. In Utica I was involved with several New York Self Advocate groups, including Partners In Policymaking. I have also given power point presentations at colleges, social service agencies and for doctors in Syracuse, Boston and Montreal. I also have a one person play, “I Dream A World,” where I share my struggles, triumphs and dreams as an individual with a disability. Since moving to Massachusetts, I have greatly enjoyed being a member of Mass Advocates Standing Strong/Rainbow. I have also been a part of a panel working with Oscar Hughes on his PHD thesis: developing a guidebook for teachers, social service agencies, parents and others to learn about identifying both as LGBTQ+ and living with a disability.

Oscar E. Hughes (he/him)

I started my career as a special education teacher for high school and transition-age students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I identify as a gay transgender man, and was super excited when Pauline asked me to work as her assistant for the Rainbow Groups. In addition to working part-time for Rainbow, I am currently a PhD student in special education at Boston University. Writing this guidebook with the authors above was part of my community-based dissertation research project. I also volunteer leading healthy relationships groups for autistic adults, and lead sexuality education training for Elevatus Training.

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