By Ana Luengo
The concept of functional diversity offers an inclusive and positive alternative of the human as an always co-dependent being with a multiplicity of skills, versus concepts with negative meanings like “disability” or “handicap.” If we look at the etymology of the first word, we can see that it denies human abilities by using the prefix “dis”. The second word, “handicap,” originally meant an exchange of articles, which restricts the person to their supposed value.
From the 21st. Century, collectives of persons with different capacities have put on doubt this categorization which reduces them to what they cannot do, versus what they are able to do. The change of paradigm is that we all have both limitations and abilities, and this is just another human feature. Besides, each person during their life goes through different conditions that require care, dependency or specific attention.
The first who used the concept of “functional diversity” were the Spanish activists Javier Romañach Cabrero and Manuel Lobato in the Foro de Vida Independiente in 2005. The same authors published the paper “Diversidad funcional. Nuevo término para la lucha por la dignidad en la diversidad del ser humano” in the journal Comunicación e Discapacidades (2007). The concept has generated questions about how the hermeneutic change of the social paradigm can reduce the attention to people with special needs (Joan Canimas Brugé. “Discapacidad o diversidad funcional” en Siglo Cero, 2015, Vol.46(2), pp.79-97). However, from then on, the concept of “functional diversity” has been generalized not only in Spain but also in Latin America and has allowed that voices and perspectives of people who were insulted with prefixes which denied dignity, can be expressed and considered in the society. For instance, the documentary Yes, We Fuck, by Antonio Centeno and Raúl de La Morena (2015) shows the intersectionality with sexuality. In the movie, several people who have been also denied and discriminated by the affective-sexual normativity, express their needs, longing, and obstacles.