No matter who you are, dating can be difficult, but disabled youth may face a unique set of challenges.
Sweeney, who identifies as a genderqueer woman, begins by explaining the difference between gender identity — how you feel on the inside regarding gender —and sexual orientation — who you’re attracted to.
If you’ve settled into your gender identity and sexual orientation, you may be wondering how to meet people to date. Sweeney suggests meetups, dating apps, or through friends.
If you need to bring an aide on a date, you can make it less awkward by first explaining to your date why you need an aide. Sweeney suggests getting an aide closer to your age to make it feel less like a chaperoned date, and working out a secret code with your aide for when they can take a walk and you can have some alone time.
Regardless of if you have an aide, you’ll want to explain your disability and how it might be relevant to the date, like if you’ll need accommodations. Be open to questions so long as you’re comfortable with them. Sweeney reminds us to always talk about and ask for consent, which can be given verbally with a “yes” or nonverbally with gestures.
Sweeney goes on to answer a number of questions, such as how to talk about an invisible disability with a date, how to find the best method of communication with your partner (which can be especially important if you’re nonverbal), and how exploration can help you discover the kinds of people and dating you’re into.
Overall, just try to have fun dating!