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Second draft

Common perceptions were challenged on Feb. 1st at the Rafters as UMD student Galynn White discussed misconceptions that many have concerning people with disabilities, including the little-discussed issue of disabled people and romance.

“Dating is my only limitation� said White, 22, who is unable to walk and is physically much smaller than normal, both common effects of the rare defect osteogenesis imperfecta, which weakens the bones.

Society has traditionally viewed the dating of people with disabilities as socially unacceptable, said White, who feels that she isn’t even acknowledged as a potential partner by the opposite sex.

“The dating of disabled people is a taboo subject.� said White, adding “I just wish people were more open-minded about it.�

White will have a table on this subject, entitled “Disabilities and Sexuality� at the Kirby Center on Valentine’s Day.

The issue of romance isn’t the only misconception about disabled people that White faces, however.

“People sometimes assume I have a mental disability.� said White, who feels that people with differing disabilities are commonly lumped together into a single category.

According to White, people’s initial assumptions about disabled people are quite often wrong.

Despite this fact, White said that she has a positive outlook on people in general, saying that as a whole people are kind and helpful.

White expressed this positive outlook throughout her discussion, accompanying many statements with “I don’t mean to complain� and a humorous anecdote or two.

“I’ve lived a normal life� said White, who, along with her studies, enjoys fiddling and gardening. She also talked of a murder mystery she wrote that recently debuted.

“I’d like to open a coffee shop someday.� said White of her future aspirations.

White later went on to discuss accessibility for disabled people on campus and around Duluth.

UMD is a very handicap accessible campus, she said, which is one of the main reasons she chose to study there. She finds that the city itself is fairly easy to get around in as well.

White uses Northern Access, a bus service for disabled people, to get around in the city. She said that she hopes to get a van in the future, but funding for the necessary modifications is currently out of reach.