This article actually made me pretty emotional while reading it. It pained me to realize just how much stereotyping goes beyond the racial slurs and sexual identities. Our generation even stereotypes those with disabilities, which when you think about it, truly does happen all of the time. But why? Can't we just accept people who may be a little different than us?
This piece in particular caught my attention because it focuses on such an intimate part of our lives: dating and sex. All human beings should experience this, we're all capable of experiencing this. But many view those with a disability as an exception to this.
"Youth with a disability can find the idea of dating and sex especially overwhelming, given that they may have a poor body image along with performance anxiety related to their physical restrictions," says Dr. Miriam Kaufman, head of adolescent medicine at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children.
"You might very well feel unattractive and you might have gotten a strong message from even your parents that no able-bodied person is going to be interested in you and that really your only chance is to find somebody else with a disability who might possibly be interested in you," Kaufman says.
That makes me upset. Everyone should experience the emotions of attraction, love and intimacy. It's a part of our humanity, and it's how we connect with one another.
The article goes on to spotlight a few stories from youth suffering from the challenges of dating and sex, even socializing in general.
"I just want to have a relationship with somebody who likes me for me, regardless of how I look and what I have to go through, and be supportive," says Sasha (not her real name), 20 years old. "Isn't that what everybody wants?"
Not gonna lie but this last part of the news piece really made me emotional. Of course this is what everyone wants! I know I can personally identify with this. Although I don't consider my birth defect a disability in my life, I can relate to the self-consciousness it may create with intimacy...
Like for instance, would a man be okay with me even touching him? My fingers aren't normal, would he feel uncomfortable if I put my hands on him? That's a sad thought that should never cross my mind, but it's the reality of our society.
I thankfully no longer think this way, no man deserves me if they can't accept me. Like I've said before, my birth defect is like a blessing, it allows me to appreciate the little things in life. You know when couples hold hands walking down the street? It's such a simple gesture, but it's one of my favorite parts of a relationship. For me, it's like my partner accepts and understands my difference, and isn't afraid to publicly show the world.
Little things like that mean a lot to me, and I'm sure the same goes for someone else with a disability.
Care to read the rest of the article? Click here >>>> "Dating, sex can be daunting for youths with disabilities," Sheryl Ubelacker, The Canadian Press
—— Mandi Beergoon