Disabled People Are Getting Real About Their Relationships & It’s Beautiful


Nick Levine

Disabled people on Twitter are sharing the many beautiful ways in which their partners make them feel loved.

Imani Barbarin, a communications professional from Paris, encouraged fellow disabled folks to share their stories using the hashtag #YouCanLoveMeButYouCantHoldMyHand.

The hundreds of responses she received are varied, unvarnished and very moving. Check out a selection below.

This isn’t the first time Barbarin has initiated a trending hashtag. In March, she created the hashtag #DisTheOscars to draw attention to the lack of disabled representation at the Academy Awards and in film and TV generally.

Explaining why she created the hashtag, Barbarin told SMA News in April: “It is more than important, but imperative that the realities of the disabled experience be told truthfully and with disabled bodies.”


Barbarian went on to explain that representation matter because “there are many children that grow up, and adults that become disabled later, with little knowledge that there are those that came before them, that move through the world in the same way, that have made life a touch easier.

“There is also a community that goes unseen that is welcoming and life-saving — and the stereotypes that seem to define this community from the outside have little to do with who we are and what we are capable of,” she added.

According to disability charity Scope, there are 13.9 million disabled people in the UK. Some 19% of working age adults are disabled, while 45% of pension age adults are disabled.

However, just 6% of respondents to a 2016 Scope survey said they had been on a date with a disabled person they’d met on a dating app. Only 16% of respondents to a previous Scope survey said they had ever invited a disabled person into their home.

Representation in the media can be a significant tool in changing prevailing social attitudes; as Imani Barbarin says, it’s time we started telling disabled people’s stories more truthfully, more comprehensively and more frequently.



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