The date was set. On September 8, 2014 — for better or for worse — we were going to meet. But first, there was something I needed to tell him.
Looking down at my phone, I hesitated.
What if he wasn’t into it? Sure, we’d been chatting for a while, but still…
Maybe this would turn out like that movie The Proposal, where Ryan Reynolds, my biggest crush since I was, like, 15, and Sandra Bullock, his polar opposite, pretend to be in love only to really fall in love in the process… Or it could be the worst.
I took a deep breath and started to type.
“Alright, before we meet,” I wrote, “there is something you should know… I have Cerebral Palsy.”
Suddenly, every insecurity and fear came rushing back to me.
What if he were like so many others in the past and decided he didn’t want to meet? What if he were turned off? Or, worse, what if he were turned on? Not in a you’re-such-a-great-guy-and-I-want-to-get-naked-with-you kind of way, but a creepy I’ve-always-had-a-fetish-for-guys-with-“challenges” kind of way.
Visions of myself as a 90-year-old man, gay and disabled and alone with nothing to keep me company but my own drool flashed through my mind.
Minutes later, he responded. Fearing the worst, I cautiously looked down at my phone.
“I already knew you were disabled,” he wrote. “I read your blog.”
Oh, right. That. The same blog in which I had written countless dramatic posts about being disabled, gay and fearing no one would ever love me or want to buy me candy.
And with that, we met.
That was one year and seven months ago, and we are still together today. In that time, I like to think we’ve learned quite a bit about each other — including what it means to be in a relationship where one person is disabled and the other is not.
Sure, sometimes it is hard. For instance, we both like to hike. However, there are times when my muscles will ache and I’ll just want to stop. (Thanks, Cerebral Palsy for giving me muscles that rarely want to work right!) I’ll get tired before he does and get so discouraged, not understanding why I should even bother trying to keep up with him.
And then there is the staring. That’s right, walking down the street, you would think we were the gay power couple of Kalispell, Montana or something. People will look at us, mouths gaped open, wondering what it is they are seeing. My favorite are the children, who like to yell some version of “Mom, what’s wrong with his legs!?” as their mothers turn red, trying to hush them. Usually, I can’t help but laugh when this happens–you gotta love a child’s honesty!
Not to mention my bouts of insecure hot-messery. There have been many times where my old insecurities creep back and I’ll stop and think how easily it would be for him to find someone else — someone who can hike five miles, who can keep up and perform every sexual position imaginable, all while doing back flips, juggling bananas and shopping for underwear online.
In other words, someone else who isn’t disabled.
But then I’ll think of how good he is to me. I’ll think of all the times when we are on a trail and he’ll tell me, “How many other disabled people do you see doing this? You should be proud.” I’ll think of how cutely annoyed he will get when people are staring, and how he will say something to them if he notices it’s bothering me. I’ll think of how he helps me down stairs, drives me places, and lets me call him “Pookie.”
I wish I could sit here and talk about just how crazy wild our relationship is because of my disability, but that’s not exactly my reality. Sure, we have our own unique challenges. But in many ways, we are actually pretty boring. We fight over things like money and sex and whose turn it is to take the dog out before bed.
I guess, in the end, being with someone with a disability requires a special willingness to learn from both sides.
And over the last year and a half, we’ve learned a lot. He has learned that I can be an extremely sarcastic, overly sexual, sometimes-lazy human being with an unusual obsession with coffee, especially if there is caramel involved. In turn, I’ve found he can be a very funny, sometimes-stubborn, hardworking individual with a strange addiction to chicken tenders (especially if they are spicy).
From my perspective, I couldn’t have asked for a better man. OK, maybe Ryan Reynolds, but that’s another story.
What’s It Like To Be Young, Gay And Disabled In The Age Of Grindr? (Hint: It Can Be Awesome!)
Five Tips For What Not To Say To Someone Who Is Gay And Disabled
Everybody deserves someone to bu them candy an flowers; to hug them and hold them; and to share their love. I am happy Josh got just what he deserved in this case.
I’d care more about his story if he was a disabled queer person of color seeing as being white probably offsets any hesitations someone might have about pursuing him romantically despite his disability. I’ll get angry replies to this but let’s keep it real. People of color, especially black men are either fetish or treated like lepers in the community so it’s not a stretch to think it’s significantly harder if you are black and disabled in this oh so “inclusive” community of ours.
Matthew David Thompson
Joshua Anthony Villegas
So fucking charming it hurts! I got teary eyed reading this! THIS is the type of content I want to read! ð??ð?»ð??ð?»ð??ð?»ð??ð?»ð??ð?»ð??ð?»ð??ð?»ð??ð?»ð??ð?»ð??ð?»ð??ð?»
Aww â¤ï¸â?ºï¸â?ºï¸ I enjoyed reading this!!
I would call this a very able relationship. Lovely story.
The best story I have read on this site! Finally, a story about REAL gay issues…not what celebrity has recently shown his junk. Keep these up! We like this content much better than brain dead fluff!!
Jerimiah Lee Buchanan
Helps if you’re cute js..
I swear there’s an onion somewhere in the room…great story!
IÂ´m forever grateful my boyfriend stayed with me after I became disbaled only a few months after we met….
Very good story.
I do agree….finally a good post!
I have been with my Partner for 5 years and he is a Paraplegic.
He has the same insecurities as this article says.
I love him for him, not what he can and cannot do.
His man parts work, and we make each other happy.
Christian A. Kurka
It’s good to see articles like this. I am hearing disabled and it has been a huge challenge for my bf but he is compassionate and cares and helps all the time. It means the world to me
Nicholas Elliott Lintner
Such a beautifully real story, I love it!
Awwh that’s is the cutes thing I ever read wow. Hopefully soon I find the love of my life and settle down. Because a disability does not make you any different from anyone else. We are all human and people with disabilities are even stronger than those who have none. But by not treating them any different is what makes us better people and showing respect also.
I’m not looking to spar, but you might consider easing up. I date men of any color (or rather I would; there’s a dearth of gay Asian men where I currently live), but I’ve run into several recurring issues with black men.
Many seem to fetishize me because I’m white and, in their words, “built like a black man,” whatever the hell that means. I’m 6’6″ tall, lean and muscular, and have a high, round ass. But I know a lot of black men who are stocky, shorter, and glute-challenged.
Two of the black men I’ve dated (one an MD, another an editor) wanted me to use the N-word while we were in bed (instant deal breaker). Seriously–wtf.
All but one asked me to act like I was just a friend if we were ever around straight black people. I have too much self-respect and too little patience to jump through those kinds of hoops.
One even insisted he enter his home five minutes before I did, and that we say goodbye before my opening the door to leave (like that bullshit was fooling anybody). We only lasted two dates.
I continue to date men of all colors, but I have to work to keep from letting some of these experiences color (pun unintended) my impressions of the guys I meet. Ironically, most of my introductions come through straight friends and acquaintances. I have twin biracial daughters, and the mothers (black, white, and Latina) of their playmates always “have the perfect guy for me.”
Color is the least of my criteria. Intelligence, self-respect, and a sense of humor are everything. Are you listening, Xzamilio?
@Aromaeus: This is the sort of quality news that serves the gay community by opening our hearts. Beautiful.
I don’t have a need to do an angry reply as is rightfully expected on the internet. The person who gives an angry reply is only serving to show the world that he or she is an angry person; same for stupidity, hate and bullying. It all exists within the person doing it and has nothing to do with who or what he or she is railing against. Let’s be real, though, I’ll stick with ‘he’ because it is usually men, male macho, egoic awareness, hormone driven, fear motivated men that have a need to fight and hurt others.
I guess it’s that caveman thing. I wonder if they played with each other’s clubs?
What I want to tell you is two-fold:
1. I am a white, college educated, 6′ 4″, strong man who enjoys adventures and has lived and worked globally. Now, that would get some responses on Growlr wouldn’t it? BUT then I say I’m fat, big, more than husky.
Can you hear the air as all those boners deflate? lol
I can easily use that as an excuse to hide, stay at home, not put myself out there on Match, Scruff, Mister, etc because gay men don’t like fat men; many look right through us. I have committed the gay sin. I am a wonderful soul, enlightened teacher and coach, fabulously loving heart, etc BUT I am too fat for a super majority of gay men.
2. BUT here is the point: No one can reject anything about you that you have not already rejected yourself. When I am in a “poor me, I’m a fat man and no one will find me attractive” mood how is my life going to turn out? With that self-identity I have set in motion the way my experiences will go. I will seek out and find every person who will reject me. Life responds to what you think, believe and feel about yourself. When I am in a “wow, let’s go have some fun, there’s always some gay men who like bigger bears” mood then I have very different experiences in life that match. That’s a good thing. I will have people reply to my online profiles, I meet some good men, good comes to me. True, I don’t have the traffic of the perfect headless torso; good, because I am seeking quality, not quantity.
What matters is self-like, self identity and a good heart. There are always people who will be attracted to you, the true you, the essence of the person that you are within your body. How will he ever find you if you keep putting up that wall to separate you from him so that he cannot see you? Choose who you are and how you want to see yourself and you will no longer have the need to hide behind those old walls and excuses based on self-hatred that have only separated you from your good…and from some good sex, I am sure.
Your tantric bear 🙂
P.S. The reactions that come to this post should be interesting.
Bless you both.
I have a friend with PSD. I love him dearly. I wish that I could give him my lungs.
I have a friend with PCD. I love him dearly. I wish that I could give my lungs.
Though I’d like to have read something contributed by the other partner as well, this story is awesome.
Some of the sexist men I’ve seen have been “disabled”. When I was 18 I had a huge crush on someone who as 16 who had CP. He was sooo cute with curly blonde hair and blue eyes. Unfortunately he was not legal and probably straight but that didn’t stop the fantasies. 🙂 He was in a horseback riding program where I volunteered and we did drag race after he got his license. Totally illegal but a lot of fun.
April Clark of course I cried like a baby
They are very lucky to have each other.
Tommy Ray Chitwood
Ahhh such a great story .. It should never be about what you and your partner have or have not .. Love is all you need !!! Any more in the gay world it’s questions like what u do for a living ? What’s your life dreams ? It’s really not nesassary to talk about that right then and their. Be thoughtful of your words cause a tounge can do alot of damage . especially dating a guy with a disability …
Jared Eaton… This article made me think of you… ð???… Hope you are doing nothing well
Wonderful, emotional, poignant story. It made me cry a little bit. Love between men can be so beautiful.
Patrick Van Der Ven
Well that is one of the most beautiful stories I have ever read.
My partner is disabled and we have been together 37 years. He has given me so much love and kindness that it is a pleasure to be his caretaker. We married last July 2. It is wonderful to share memories with the one you love.
I’ll be impressed when this story is about someone who’s not young and hot. But then it wouldn’t get any attention in the gay media, of course.
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