The Importance of Disability Representation in Everyday Life

Dating with a Disability

I was recently on a Podcast episode where we discussed dating and how it’s different in a wheelchair. To be honest, I hate dating. It’s not fun and requires much more work than I like to put into activities. I like the independence being single provides me. It allows me to do what I want when I want and not wait on anyone else, which is the way I like it. As a routine-oriented person, dating can be difficult.

That being said, dating in a wheelchair can be different. First, deciding to disclose your disability beforehand can be a tough decision for anyone. Since many people use online dating, deciding to put a profile photo up that shows your disability (if not invisible) is a choice many struggle with. I’m not too fond of online dating, but I have accounts, and my chair is in my profile photos. I reason that it’s part of who I am and always will be.

The only way I enjoy dating and meeting new people is in person. As an extrovert, I already go out often. Upon meeting someone, romantic or platonic, I don’t bring up my disability unless it comes up. I almost always sit at the bar when going to a restaurant and usually converse with those around me. My philosophy on not just dating but general socialization is to go with the flow and only bring something up if it is relevant to the conversation. I usually put my wheelchair next to the bar seat next to me, so it is rarely visible. Usually, when I get up to use the restroom or whatnot, the person sitting next to me notices the chair; sometimes, it comes up, and sometimes it doesn’t. This is the way I prefer it.

When dating or meeting new people in general, I prefer an organic relationship and conversation. Sometimes the disability gets brought up; sometimes, it doesn’t. Yes, I use a wheelchair, but I am also a person who lives like other able-bodied individuals as well. My wheelchair is a part of me, but not the whole me.

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About Me

Hi, my name is Sabrina; I grew up in Mill Valley, California, and I love to visit when possible. I now live in Los Angeles, California.

Growing up using a wheelchair I knew my life would be very different. But I didn’t see people that looked like me until I started playing wheelchair basketball as a teenager. Then, in college, the visibility of disabilities grew (in my opinion and experience).

After graduation, I worked for the Jewish Los Angeles Special Needs Trust, which helps people with disabilities supplement their government benefits with affordable, professional special needs trust services.

After leaving that job, I eventually got my paralegal certificate and currently work in Family Law.

Throughout my life, I realized the importance of representation and of people who look like you and have a similar experience. My experience as a wheelchair user may be different than others, but it may prove helpful for someone else.

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