Solingen 93

Domestic Violence and Abuse

Online Dating With A Disability

– My profile says don’t
panic, I don’t have any legs. I can still pitch a tent,
but I don’t like camping. (soft music) My name is Spencer West. I am a gay man, and I am
as single as they come. I think I would consider myself a romantic given the opportunity. Growing up in a small town
here in the United States in Wyoming and being gay,
there wasn’t any examples. I don’t really have any
pre-conceived notions or touch stones or anything, which in the beginning
was a little frustrating, ’cause I’m like well how does this work and what does this look like? But now as I’ve gotten a bit older, I realize oh, I kinda
get to make the rules and get to decide what
that looks like for myself. I would say that I fluctuate in dating. I go in spurts where I’m like I’m into it and I want to meet someone. And then I’m like ugh, this is exhausting. I used to on like my dating profiles on like Grindr and Tinder
not disclose my disability, but I had photos that’s like
clearly I don’t have any legs, but sometimes people don’t really notice. I didn’t think it was important, because I thought oh, it shouldn’t matter, but then I realized what
would happen is I would start to chat with someone and get to know them, and then we’d get to the stage where like, okay, well maybe we should meet, and then it would have to
be like oh, by the way, I don’t have any legs. And sometimes it would be like
oh, this person blocked me and doesn’t want to talk anymore. Or sometimes it would be like oh, well that changes things a little bit. A it felt like coming
out for a second time. I’ve got two things to come out about. Surprise, I’m gay. Surprise, I don’t have any legs. And then I thought, well this is silly. I wish that we lived ina
world where it didn’t matter, but I guess it does. So now I address these
things on the app right away to sort of like just get it done, so then we can move on
to more meaningful things like getting to know each other. People want to know where my legs are and I’ll copy and paste that from like notes in my phone, ’cause it’s like so obnoxious
to type out every time. Well I was born with a genetic disease that caused the muscles
in my legs not to work. As a kid they removed just below my pelvis so I could get around better. It’s a lot to type on like a dating app, so I would copy and paste it. Then the next question
people always wanted to know is do you have a penis and can you have sex? So like I address, yes I don’t have legs, and yes I have a penis, and yes it works. And I try to make a joke about it, because I think it’s important to like laugh at ourselves
and get other people to laugh at the same time, hopefully that’s kinda cute too, you know? What’s interesting though,
is a lot of these profiles don’t have my height or my weight. So when you have to list those things, I always keep them blank,
and then people are like, well, how tall are you? And I’m like, two foot seven inches, and I weigh 85 pounds. (laughing) What’s been nice about
addressing it like that is now when people message me,
it’s usually the people that are interested, not just
in the physicality of things, but like in me as a person. I think it gets people to
see my personality a bit more and to see past my disability
and this idea of just being like a sex object and
into like the person itself. When people contact you, you can tell whether they’re actually interested in you or whether they’re fetishizing you, and it’s a thing like in
the disability community, not just like me without legs. I’ve talked to a lot of other folks with disabilities who have the same thing. It’s the curiosity of like,
how does everything work and I want to like experience
it just to say that I did. The other that I’ll get,
I’ll just get a message being like, you’re such an inspiration. I’m so proud of you, you’re so brave for being on this app. This is coming from a
genuine, like nice place, but I don’t think people understand that it sounds so condescending, ’cause how I interpret it, largely, is like oh man, if I was in your position, I wouldn’t date, I wouldn’t fall in love. This would be awful, I’d
probably stay at home and cry all day, like
whatever that would look like. I don’t know, I usually respond by saying that’s really nice, but why is me wanting to fall in love inspiring? Or why is that brave? I’m not doing anything
that you’re not doing. I just happen to not have legs and don’t have to spend money on shoes. (soft music) A couple of years ago I met someone. He was from New York, so it
just so happened I was gonna be in New York like a few weeks later, so I messaged him and I was like hey, I’m gonna be here, let’s go out. And he was like amazing, let’s do that. And it was probably
like the best first date that I have ever had. I felt like I was living my
best Carrie Bradshaw life, like in New York City. He said this restaurant that was nearby. We were both really nervous,
we each like had a drink and ordered our food,
and instantly started to relax, we had this
amazing conversation. So after dinner, we wanted
the date to continue. It was one of those like the
conversation was so good. So he was like, do you wanna
just like go for a walk? And I was like yes. We’re starting to walk,
and we turn the corner and it’s all these
beautiful, brown stones, and so he was do you wanna just like sit on the stupe of this brown stone and chat? And I was like yes, and so in my mind, I was like playing it cool, I was just like yeah, yeah sounds good. And so we like sit down on the stairs. We’re like chatting and really connecting and really having this
lovely conversation. You know, like we start
like getting a little closer and getting a little closer, and then, (record scratching) I don’t know, I feel like I
was reading the signals right, but I think he panicked and he was like, can I give you a hug? And I was like, wah wah, but sure! And like okay, we’ll start there. So we hugged, we kept
talking, and as we’re talking, I’m like sort of looking at the sky and looking at him, it’s starting to get grayer and grayer, and pretty soon, it like lightly starts to rain, and he’s like we should
probably go inside. And I was like wait, wait, wait, I feel like we have to take advantage of this opportunity, and I just
leaned in and I kissed him. We made out in the rain for a little bit, which was like so romantic and so hot, and then we walked to like a nearby bar and just like had a couple drinks and just like sat in the
corner and just chatted and cuddled, and then he walked me home to my friend’s apartment, and that was it. For me, it was like love exists. People are romantic, and even for someone with a disability, it didn’t matter. This is what love is supposed to be like, and this is what genuine connection is and this is what every
first date should be like. I hope people just have a
deeper understanding of A, what it’s like to be queer
and to have a disability, and for folks to recognize that yes, we are sexual people, like everyone else, but I think it’s important for us to get to know one another
and to have that visibility of that just because I have a disability, doesn’t mean I want to date,
and doesn’t mean I don’t want to have sex, I have all
of those same feelings and urges as everyone else does, and I think it’s important
that we all recognize that and encapsulate that
to see the whole person and not just these segments of them. (soft music)

Cesar Sullivan

100 thoughts on “Online Dating With A Disability

  1. I came across a wheelchair bound man on tinder. He had the nastiest attitude. I honestly wanted to get to know him.

  2. There's 2 kinds of people with a disability
    Type 1 has so much self pity they ruin their lives with it
    Type 2 tries as hard as he can and proves disabilities shouldn't stop you from achieving what you want
    This man is type 2

  3. If you're a straight man using dating apps and you're not rich or exceptionally good looking. you're basically disabled to the women on the apps.

  4. I had the opportunity to meet Spencer in India a couple years ago on a mission trip. Can truly say that he is one of the most incredible people I've ever met. He is so inspiring and just speaks his truth every damn day. Hope he gets everything he deserves and more, well done buzzfeed

  5. So he said he has a penis but where is it sense he has no legs? Sorry if this seems rude but i really want to know?

  6. I’d love it if buzzfeed did a series on this. Showing people with different types of disabilities and their experiences. For someone with the conditions/disabilities I have it’s not something that’s cut and dry. Things like chronic illnesses fluctuate and some people are ambulant wheelchair users or need extra help day to day. It would be nice to hear about people dating in these sorts of situations as well.

  7. As someone with a disability and a chronic illness also I loved this video! I’m newly out of a relationship and online dating is hard, especially because I disclose on my profile I have a service dog. So thank you so much for this video, I’m going try to have his perspective on dating!

  8. I loved the new York story! I identify with this cause I have a couple health things and it is so hard to find someone willing to deal with those things right off the bat. Also I am ssbbw and not in to the fetish side of that so that is hard to navigate as well. I am hopeful but in this time of internet dating it it difficult.

  9. Met this wonderful man a few years ago after dedicating many school projects to him. His story and achievements are unbelievably inspiring, and I'm so thankful that I grew up with him being a role model

    Great video!! So so cool to see him on Buzzfeed!

  10. One thing I've found discouraging is the number of people who use employment as a dealbreaker. I've had a hard time finding employment because of my disabilities (a very common thing that we face), but able people don't realize how difficult it can be to find a good fit.

  11. Sometimes, it's hard to find someone who can accept you for who you are, but if that person is interested with you, your flaws won't matter.

  12. I am disabled from lumbar disk disease had trouble getting a girlfriend but now I moved to the Philippines because I met my wife online and now we have a child. So anything is possible I have the love of my life because of the free dating app meetme

  13. its a nice cause for a video, but buzzfeed exploitng handicapped people for views and then putting one of the cringiest low effort thumbnails ive seen of a major channel…..fuckin disgusting…..

  14. I am disabled as well. Why do we have to be defined by are disabilities? We are people with feelings and desires just like everyone else in this world.

  15. I love him. I truly hope this video gets him so much traffic and attention that someone or a few people genuinely want to reach out to him and date him. Or BuzzFeed set him up with a date and follow him on it! I would love a cute update on him!

  16. He is absolutely handsome and lovely!!!!
    I would love to meet him, but we're so far!!!!

  17. I hope he finds the love of his life. His romantic date story is the cutest ever.

  18. I don’t have a disability but this is inspiring to me, u know not inspiring to the fact he has no legs it will still be inspiring if he did have legs, but I just love how happy he is in life, and I wish I could be as happy as him💖

  19. The most common question when dating as a person with a disability is "Can you have sex?"/"Does your vagina work?". So weird. Lol.

  20. I just love your personality. I wish my brother was still alive I would have him watch your video. He was gay and disabled also before he died in 2016. I wish you all the best and hope you find your love you so deserve. My brother never did. Blessings to you.

  21. i feel like he’d also get called ‘cute’ or ‘adorable’ not hot. because i’m short and never get called ‘hot’ it’s always ‘cute’ and i feel like, because of his height, he’d get the same thing? idk?

  22. And I don’t get how height and weight matter really… like I am double his height and only a few pounds more… there is a lot of factors going into it…

  23. What a great guy! Hope he finds someone who adores him as much as he deserves to be adored. And loved. ❤️

  24. i have a lot of questions about his disability but i don’t want to be rude. like how does have organs bc his body seems to cut off at his torso

  25. I can’t even begin to explain what this video means to me. A few months ago I had surgery that changed my life and as a single 30 yr old girl I’ve constantly been wondering what this means for my dating life. Should I put it right out there? Do I hide it until it’s brought up? So many questions that not many people can relate to but so many people give “pep talks” about. To hear this from someone who truly gets it. It was the most amazing timing. Thank you.

  26. Can you please ALSO do a video about Online Dating As A Woman???

    Jeesh! It is just as difficult. Being a woman is very sad and very hard, especially in America.

  27. Yeah i know the bs guys think im a loser because i cant drive i have epilepsy and adhd even though my seizures are completely controlled with meds i still have memory damage from both seizure meds i take have memory loss as side effects and the adhd i cant focus worth a crap then after studying for days and months and hours i cant remember what i just studied the driving part i got its the test part and remembering the answers and all this crap happened because i got my period 😒 my body didnt like the new hormones so it gave me epilepsy 😒

  28. You describe the term I thought of as the "loss perspective". The Loss Perspective is the perspective from an able-bodied person to which they think about losing abilities they once had, therefore, the only option is to feel sorry for oneself. (3:00)

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