One of the biggest misconceptions about people like myself who live with disabilities is that we are completely isolated from society. That we don’t have the desire to find love, or we simply just don’t understand what it’s like to be in relationships.
Well, I’m here to tell you that that’s far from the truth.
Many of us with disabilities do have the desire to find love and put ourselves out there. It doesn’t matter to us whether it’s with someone who is disabled just like us, or someone that is able-bodied.
A lot of the time people assume that it’s abnormal for a disabled person to be interested in dating an able-bodied person because of their physical differences, or vice versa. They think that an able-bodied person wouldn’t be interested in dating someone disabled. But, that is just because because they lack understanding about the other person’s disabilities.
This is exactly why we need to start normalizing inter-abled relationships.
So that the stigma surrounding inter-abled relationships could help society adapt to the idea of seeing someone romantically involved with a person who has a disability. To be honest, it’s really not that big a deal for an able-bodied person to date a person with a disability. Inter-able relationships are just as typical as your average relationships. The only difference lies in the barriers they sometimes face. But that doesn’t mean they don’t adapt to those barriers along the way and experience growth. Anyway, that comes with every relationship in our modern-day society. This makes an inter-bodied relationship just as normal as a relationship between two ordinary people.
However, although it might be unexpected for you to see an able-bodied person holding hands with someone with a disability, it doesn’t mean that we’re some “inspiring” object.
We are ordinary people who want the same experiences as everyone else in society because we are human and deserve to live our lives as fully as any able-bodied person. Society labeling inter-abled relationships as “inspiring” makes us feel as if we’re not normal; it’s like we’re being forced to be a mascot. Calling us inspiring because we’re in an inter-abled relationship allows society to condescendingly act like we deserve a reward. They see our relationship as something that ought to be out of the norm.
The truth of the matter is we don’t want praise.
We don’t want a reward. We just want to be treated like regular human beings doing regular things. In my autobiography How to Get a Man With Wheels and I talk about some of the dating obstacles I’ve faced, people have praised me for being so inspiring for even dating in general because of my cerebral palsy. This is exactly why I feel mainstream media needs to dive deep into the wonders of dating with the disability. Feature it in more documentaries and more TV shows that talk about this so that we could end the stigma.
People have the misconception that inter-abled relationships consist of the able-bodied person being the caregiver. They think that it’s a burden for the able-bodied person just because they’re dating someone with a disability.
If people knew more about inter-abled relationships maybe the stigma will end. Then maybe we could live in a society where this is normalized because, guess what?
It IS normal.