Disabled, Not UndateableApril 3, 2012 1 Comment
Online dating is for everyone — heterosexuals, homosexuals, and apparently even married folk, so it’s no surprise that there are dating companies, like Stars in the Sky, that arrange dates for the disabled.
What’s more surprising is that the trials and tribulations of disabled daters are now coming straight to British living rooms. Undateables is the new series exploring the ins and outs of dating when you have a disability, such as blindness, cerebral palsy, people confined to a wheelchair, and even those with learning disabilities. The show is designed to answer all of our burning questions about what it’s like to combine disability and dating, but most of all to give humanity to those we may have considered “undateable” at one point or another.
There will undoubtedly be a slew of criticism (just check Twitter after it airs tonight), but the good news is that it allows people with disabilities to tell their side of the story. By giving us a window into their lives, it may help to lessen the stigma we often associate with the word “disability.” Undateables will showcase real people with real lives participating in the universal quest of finding love.
After watching Sister Wives (now that’s complicated), I can say with confidence that a show about disabled daters is really not that shocking after all. They’re disabled and they date. So what?
But this series has the potential to be groundbreaking in that it forces people to rethink their preconceived notions of what it means to live with a disability. Sure, there are challenges, but there are also triumphs. For someone who is blind, “Love at first sight” can be interpreted as “Love at first discussion.”
And it’s not all about sex, contrary to very the personal questions someone like Shannon Murray, whose day-to-day life is in a wheelchair, has been asked. “When I was a teenager, guys would offer me a drink and ask me straight away: ‘Can you still have sex?’” says Murray. Although dating is difficult for everyone (as millions will attest to), this show presents the particular challenges those with disabilities face and asks us to reconsider any stereotypes we might have.
Above all, the series is meant to help change people’s attitudes about disabilities and, more specifically, sex and disabilities, which is definitely a noble goal. Those who have disabilities are desirable and dateable despite what any statistics might say.
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