Meeting love on dating sites is not always easy for people with disabilities. Tired of derogatory comments about her chronic illness, Jacqueline Child and her sister Alexa created an "inclusive" dating app for people with disabilities. "Dateability", launched in 2022, has the mission to "make love accessible to all", far from "ableism" – which takes the form of oppression or even discrimination – explain the two young Americans.
When Jacqueline needed a feeding tube in 2021, Alexa worried about her sister's love life accumulating bad experiences. After her hip surgery, a man had allowed himself to advise her "not to have children" because it would be "selfish" to "pass on his genes," she told USA Today.
Secure and adapted interface
Thus, Dateability wants to create a "safe" space for people with physical, intellectual and psychiatric disabilities. To do this, users can narrow down their search for their soulmate by checking filters such as: "wheelchair user", "mental illness" or "service animal". These descriptions remain relatively vague so that users do not feel compelled to disclose their disability. The app will also include the ability to report abuse.
The two founders would like to clarify that people who do not have disabilities can also use the application. "We really want the majority of users to be disabled or have chronic diseases, but we understand that there are able-bodied people, non-disabled people who are quite comfortable with a disabled person," Jacqueline told the American media.
Creating an app for the disabled also involves adapting the interface and functionality. Thus, to select profiles, the app includes the classic options of "swipe" or "swipe" from left to right. But if the gesture is physically complicated to perform for the user, he can click on buttons provided for this purpose.
The sisters estimate that the number of potential users of their app could reach about 5 million in the United States alone, based on the 60 million people with disabilities living in the country. They hope to launch the app soon in Australia and Europe and expand it to friendly relations, reports Forbes magazine.
These applications that advocate the inclusion of a community or a minority, like Dateability, have multiplied in recent years. Twenty-five years after the launch of the first dating site in France, there are more than 2000, and for all tastes. The most famous, Tinder - downloaded more than 45 million times worldwide in 2021 - is very popular with young people, when the over fifty years old refer to Disons Demain.
Sites and apps also want to appeal to all sexual preferences. For example, Gleeden was designed for extramarital dating, Gindr for the LGBT community, and OkCupid for "sapiosexuals" – who are attracted to someone based on their intelligence.
There are also as many sites and applications as there are political or environmental beliefs. It is thus possible for users to discuss the carbon footprint on Amours Bio or to be sure to meet someone "who also respects animals and the same vision of the world" on Veganland.