Why Dating Is Hard as a Lesbian With a Disability
To some this sounds like a crime I am being charged with, and honestly, sometimes it feels like one. I am a 30-year-old lesbian woman with dwarfism who relies on a wheelchair part-time. However, society only sees me as a woman in a wheelchair and that is the end of it. Therefore, I am not supposed to be attracted to anyone or seen as attractive. It’s almost a sin to be disabled and to want to be in a relationship with someone who isn’t.
As a disabled person on dating apps, I rarely get swiped right on, and when I do, it is usually one of four situations. They are way too into my disability, they are a couple looking for a unicorn, so they swipe right on literally everyone hoping to find someone, or they are someone who swiped out of sheer curiosity to ask me some absurd question about my disability they would never ask in person. However, since they are on a dating app and never have to see me face to face, it’s somehow OK.
As a person with a disability, according to the media, I am supposed to be so busy being an inspiration to able-bodied people, or being so positive about my life, or my absolute favorite, being so depressed and hating that I’m disabled so much that I don’t have time or need for a life partner. However, I am not asexual and I am not aromantic. Yes, those are valid identities, but that is not who I am. I am a sexual, romantic person, and yes, I happen to be in a wheelchair part-time. The media portrays people with disabilities as some sort of ethereal beings who don’t need to find love or companionship, when and if they represent us at all. It irks me SO much that according to any movie I am too pathetic or disabled to love.
The old saying goes, “There are plenty of fish in the sea.” So, most people have an “ocean” to choose a potential date from, but those are straight able-bodied people. LGBTQIA+ people don’t usually have “oceans” but generally instead “seas” of people to choose from. When you’re disabled, that “ocean” turns into a “puddle” if you’re lucky, and by lucky, I mean heterosexual. If you are disabled and a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, well that “puddle” turns into a raindrop on the sidewalk of life. Honestly, how many people do you know who can fit in a raindrop? Because I don’t know any, and that is just the beginning of your issues when you’re dating with a disability and queer.
I’m 30 years old and I’ve honestly never been hit on by someone. In my almost 31 years on this planet, I’ve only dated one person. After almost six years together, the problem of being “too disabled” reared its ugly head. I’ve now been single for almost four years now and struggling to even find someone to look past my disability long enough to make it to the first date.
Dating while disabled and queer is hard. That’s for sure. So, the next time you see someone who’s visibly disabled, don’t pity them, especially if you think you might hit it off with them. Try looking beyond their disability and get to know the person behind the disability. Who knows, you just might find love!
Getty image by FG Trade.