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January 11 2016


My Boyfriend Has A Disability, Our Relationship Doesn't

Disabled Dating
I met my boyfriend three years ago on Twitter. We were following one another in that time, then one day tweets converted into GChat conversations, and GChat turned into Skype dates. When I moved returning to DC last summer, we took it offline and shortly after started dating. He was cuter face-to-face, funny, smart, intriguing, and he happened to be disabled.

Once we first started dating he exposed if you ask me about coping with Spina Bifida and just how it manifested for him. As time went on, my feelings begun to grow for him and started really caring about him deeply. However i still had my concerns: What would people think about my disabled partner? What can my children say? Let's say people stare at us when we�re from a date? How could i support him as he needs me?

It wasn�t my personal feelings and comfortwhen it came to dating a disabled man that I was concerned with - it was other people�s reactions to my choice that basically worried me. Somewhat, those concerns were warranted because lots of people don�t understand what it means thus far a disabled man, they don�t have real conversations regarding it, plus they wind up making very wrong assumptions about my partner and me.


The main one question I�ve gotten more than once is most likely among the rudest questions I�ve ever heard, usually something like: �How do you have sex?,� or possibly the more crass version: �Does his penis work?� I was asked this once with a colleague, and I were required to fight the impulse to shoot back, �Well, b*&^h, how can you have intercourse?� It�s extremely problematic since it assumes that disabled people can�t perform and, moreover, can�t be sexually appealing. My boyfriend continues to be told to his face that he�s half a guy, just how can he possibly please me? I won�t get into detail about my sex-life, but I will say that sex isn�t much different whether you�re having an able bodied person or perhaps a disabled person, and I�ve didn't have doubts about my partner�s capacity to please me.

Another assumption that a relative made was i didn't have other choices when it comes to men up to now, so I somehow �settled� for any disabled man. That one is doubly offensive, because it doesn't only play into this concept of Black women within �find a man,� additionally, it assumes that disabled men aren�t worth dating since they use a disability. I'm with my boyfriend because I love him and because of just how he makes me feel if we are together. I�ve never met someone else who was so open and so ready and available to love. Why would I pass by the chance to be around such a great guy? Being with somebody who has a physical disability isn�t settling; being with someone who is emotionally unavailable could be.

So how do these assumptions result from? Dating a disabled person isn�t something which people discuss often (whenever), but it�s safe to say that these assumptions are rooted in ableism-social prejudice about people who have disabilities. When you believe that disabled people can�t perform sexually or aren�t dateable you might be buying to the concept that able-bodied individuals are standard. It's something which my partner handles daily, so that as his girlfriend I had to check my own, personal attitudes which may happen to be ableist. I don�t get it right 100% of that time period, however can say that being with him makes me think differently about what our societal norms are and the way I'm able to be not just a better partner but a better ally.

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