CPActive Champion Jerusha Mather is on a quest to find love. Living with cerebral palsy, Jerusha knows that for people with disabilities the journey can take extra twists and turns.
On major dating apps, people with disabilities often experience discrimination, where their prospects of being seen as a potential partner are often judged according to their disabilities.
“I have had many challenging moments with people misunderstanding and judging me at face value because I move and speak differently,” Jerusha says.
Knowing her experiences are not isolated, she wants the big dating apps to acknowledge exactly that.
Jerusha has started a petition on Change.org calling on Tinder, Bumble, e-Harmony to take meaningful steps to increase visibility of people with disabilities using their apps and educate their users to be more open and inclusive when searching for the one.
This includes ensuring that their apps are safe spaces for people with disability, increasing visibility by including people with disability in their advertising, and making mentoring and specialist coaching accessible for people with disability who may need extra support along the way.
The petition already has over 2,000 signatures – click here to add yours!
“Just like the next person, I too am looking for a romantic partner and want to be in love,” says Jerusha.
“People with disabilities have the potential to become great partners. We bring love, care and passion to our relationships just like anyone else. We want to be lovers, parents and experience fulfilling relationships.
“If you’re someone who uses dating apps or websites, there’s a lot you can do to be inclusive of people with disabilities looking for a partner.
“Do not infantilize us and look upon us with sadness, we do not need your sympathy.
“Treat us as you would treat any other person, with respect and dignity.
“Turn up to the date, with the intent to get to know us.
“Do not use negative words such as suffering, problem, vulnerability, and weakness to describe disability, a person’s disability should not be the central focus or be made a big deal of.”
By targeting the gap where many misplaced and uninformed assumptions about dating someone with a disability are formed, people with disabilities can have better and more positive dating journeys and experience the love and companionship that everyone deserves.
You can sign and share Jerusha’s petition here: Bumble, Tinder, e-Harmony: Make your platforms more inclusive of people with disabilities