Woodward chronicles these reactions on her blog “Step Funny Right Now.”Some of the first-time messages she’s received from guys on OKCupid:“…Are you handicapped cause in half the pics your [sic] standing and the others your [sic] not so I’m confused.”“Hello there. ”For people like Woodward who look different than the norm, these kinds of awkward first-liners are a fact of life.
A day running errands in public can involve multiple strangers asking invasive questions about her body and her abilities.
This relentless disability trolling on dating websites can have a truly toxic effect.
Woodward has caught herself paying more attention to her disability than she normally would.
“I feel like, as a person with a disability, I get a lot more of the weirdoes or the people who feel entitled to ask questions before they know my name.”There’s a special type of troll on dating sites.If you don’t have a disability, you’re unlikely to know they exist.But if you do have a disability, try sifting through the literally hundreds of messages you receive from people who aren’t interested in making a good first impression.Stephanie Woodward, a 26-year-old lawyer with spina bifida, recently turned to online dating as a fun and cheap way to explore her new city.However, the online reactions from men to photos of her using a wheelchair have been nothing more than a “shitshow,” she says.While heading to a first date, for instance, she often can’t help wondering if walking with crutches—which she can do for short distances—would be better than using her wheelchair.