Monday, 8 February 2016

Dating Websites/Apps for the Disabled


Last week I entered into a Twitter debate regarding dating apps/websites specifically designed for disabled people. I'm not one to hold back with my opinion (as you well know), and since I found a number of issues with the websites/apps, I thought I'd share why I find it all so problematic.

1. It highlights that disabled people should only date/be in a relationship with another disabled person.
My boyfriend is able-bodied, and a lot of my disabled friends have able-bodied partners, they love us because of who we are, it has nothing to do with our health. The whole thing stinks of the archaic attitude of, 'sticking with your own kind,' and quite frankly, it pisses me off. 

2. It'll be an easy hunting-ground for devotees.
Do you know that there's an odd collection of people out there that are attracted to disability? Not the person, but their disability. Having a website/app with hundreds of profiles of (some) vulnerable people is surely not going to go down well.

3. What about the haters?
The amount of hate-crimes and physical/emotional abuse disabled people have endured makes me sick. Once again, they'll be an easy target and evil shit-heads can take their pick.

4. Still considered sub-human.
We're different. We know we're different. We're reminded everyday of our lives. Can't we at least use whatever bloody site we want to find a partner!? Why do we need a different site? Are we not allowed to use Match or Tinder? I don't get it. We're all human ffs.

Funnily enough, there are people out there that will love you despite your disability. Like I said, the majority of my disabled friends have able-bodied partners that don't take their condition into consideration; our lives might be different from a 'healthy' couple but it works. You can't help who you fall in love with. 

Also, please note, I'm totally not having a go at any disabled couple, fall in love with whoever you want, my issue is how we're segregated from the 'norm', and how we need our 'own sites'. I do not have a problem if you're disabled and would want to use a site like this, that's completely up to you, I'm just stating my opinion on the topic. This is not a personal attack on any disabled user of an app/site like mentioned, it's a comment on how these apps/sites further alienate the disabled community.

I was tweeting with one of the co-founders of a particular new disability dating app last week and once I emphasised a few of my concerns, she became extremely rude and treated me like I was an idiot. I mean, what do I know? I'm only a little disabled girl with a post-graduate degree and background in the medical humanities.

If I wasn't in a relationship, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be using a site marketed at the disabled, not because I don't want a disabled partner (been there, done that), but because I don't want my disability to define me or who falls in love with me.

16 comments:

  1. So glad you wrote this Sarah, I couldn't agree more with your points. The dating world can be a scary world as it is let alone with the chance of people praying on vulnerable disabled people xx

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  2. You're summed it up perfectly! There are so many issues with having a 'disabled sating app'! I'm appalled by the whole thing. An accessible dating app/website would be great, but there's no such thing as accessible for all because we all have different needs! She never replied about my not being able to read the text, which just shows how poorly thought out the whole thing is. Xx

    Tania | When Tania Talks

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    1. Thanks, Tan. Yeah, I don't think she really cared about our opinion x

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  3. I didn't even know there were separate dating apps/sites but some of the points you made are quite concerning, particularly 2 and 3! xx

    Kimberley // thecolourchronicles.com

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  4. I know it's not the same, but I feel similarly about dating apps for plus size people and "plus size aficionados" - there's a fetishisation angle that makes me really uncomfortable. Great post!

    x

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  5. I had no idea there were different sites? But you're so right, why have a different app/site fall in love with whoever you want! X

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  6. Fantastic post! These are such good points, that as an able-bodied person, I never would have thought of. I think if you wouldn't consider a relationship with a disabled person, you need to have a hard look at yourself anyway. And, as you say, it does seem to be a way of penning you all in together and saying, "Stay in your box- don't interact!" x

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  7. I whole heartedly agree with you! I am divorced and I certainly wouldn't use one specifically for disabled people. That is not how anyone should be defined But by who you are! Although, I do think that it would be nice for some. My step brother is autistic and so badly wants a girlfriend and just can't understand why he doesn't have one or can't get one. My stepfather wanted to put him on a dating site which I had briefly been on and suggested it was definitely not for him. It was full of people trying just to either get sex or use other people. My stepbrother is to honest to understand that type of deception.

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    1. I'm sure it'd be great for a lot of people, I'm just concerned that disabled people are further alienated x

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