Irene Torices

Ashoka Fellow
Mexico City, Mexico
Fellow Since 2012


This profile was prepared when Irene Torices was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2012.
The New Idea
Irene is championing the rights of persons with physical and intellectual disabilities to free and healthy sexual expression. She founded the Interdisciplinary Educational Group on Human Sexuality and Attention to Disability (Geishad) to provide specialized attention and integral solutions to the disabled, their family members and professionals, and to serve as a platform for educating public, private and state institutions engaging these communities. Through education and advocacy, training, counseling, and professional therapy, Irene is tackling a subject that strongly and detrimentally affects the welfare and well-being of Mexico’s disabled communities.

Irene and Geishad offer specialized clinical therapy with a multidisciplinary team of sex therapists and professors of disability and sexuality. They are giving individuals with disabilities not only the feeling that their sexual expression is healthy and normal, but also the agency to take control of this aspect of their lives.

Recognizing the broader issues constraining the disabled community’s exercise of their full rights (and the concomitant negative effects on the general population) Irene seeks to spark a paradigm shift in favor of the disabled population’s worth, humanity, and rights to personal expression. First, Irene is normalizing the issue of human sexuality as a topic in broader professional therapy. She is leading the creation and implementation of academic and professional specializations in the field, and the provision of integral care to the disabled and those around them. To date, Irene has worked with two national institutions to create a certification degree and a master’s degree in collaboration with the Mexican Institute of Sexology (IMESEX) on disability and sexuality.

In addition to training the next generation of professionals working with the disabled, Irene is seeking to influence public policy and the existing institutional awareness and prioritization of sexuality issues in the education, care, and services offered to the disabled. She is working both nationally and internationally. Irene is a frequent collaborator with public bodies such as the National Council for the Prevention of Discrimination, the National Human Rights Commission, and the National Institute for Social Development, engaging these institutions to address the discrimination and the violation of human rights for the disabled. These relationships allow Irene to influence public policy and create a legal framework that ensures that the information, work, and defense of the legal and reproductive rights of the disabled can be sustained over time and spread throughout society.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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