By N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe
It is true that people with a disability face inclusivity barriers, not just in India but throughout the world. Ten per cent of the world’s population, which accounts for roughly 650 million, have a disability and battle ableism on a daily basis.
The problem lies with normal culture not being ready to accept the person with disabilities the way they are and just emulating their feelings towards them. They find it hard to be around specially-abled ones, whether at jobs, in education, or even in relationships. This isn’t limited to a particular locality, this is what people with a disability have to go through.
Remember, “Love is beyond disabilities. It just needs the ability to love, commit, and express feelings” – MatchAble.
However, the challenge doesn’t end here; since not all disabilities are apparent, there are stages in a relationship where persons with disabilities need a lot more help and understanding than typical. The unexpected shift in behaviour, the need to be understood, and many other issues with invisible disabilities can be difficult. And dealing with it can be a little challenging for other partners. But love can make anything happen, it’s fascinating!
On the note of love and disability, here’s what Minal Sethi, founder of MatchAble- Enabling Boundless Love said, “Like in any other relationship- I believe, one thing you need to constantly keep in mind while dating a person in the community is being patient. And never let the opinions and judgments of others affect any relationship. People will judge, let them!”
Here are five things that will help you date a person with a disability with ease, keeping in mind the needs of the community shared by Minal.
Educate yourself – Self-education will help you be more prepared to date in the disabled community. Learn about the impairments and the community’s culture. Even though your partner can help you, it is much simpler when you are aware. Learn about the people’s culture, the difficulties they encounter, and their hardships so that you may empathize with them when they require emotional support.
Don’t assume – Don’t assume things. Don’t let the expectations society has for people with disabilities feed into your head. Yes, whether it be a sexual desire or a connection, people with disabilities do admire intimacy. Let your partner communicate their sexual desires.
Add some flavour to the conversations- Try to avoid focusing primarily on the impairment when you are out on a date, try to spice up the conversations. Make an effort to have a more casual and sincere conversation. Don’t be empathetic and avoid using phrases like “you’re not alone” or “how can you handle this,” which simply serve to make the situation worse. Make sure they don’t feel undervalued or uncomfortable. Talk normally.
Fight against ableism – It becomes a side hustle for people with a disability! Even though they take a stand for themselves, there are instances when internalized ableism strikes, and in those situations, they will undoubtedly need a little of your help. In addition, never let your partner or your relationship be impacted by society’s norms and ideas. Don’t bind them; let them be free.
Instead of “ME & YOU,” let’s say “WE” – Don’t think that your partner won’t go on excursions or make your life boring. NO! They want to go through everything with you since they are exactly like you. Simply put, they might require more assistance than you and they need someone with whom they can indulge in intriguing activities worry-free.
Though the advice doesn’t end here, the more you love, the more you will evolve as the depths are beautiful!