The issue of accessibility should be a growing concern not only outside, but also in the digital environment, especially for those who propose to create inclusive products and services that meet the needs of different types of consumers.
According to data from the 2010 IBGE Census, which surveyed 46 million Brazilians, around 24% of the population reported having some degree of difficulty, including physical, motor, visual or hearing disabilities; but how are these people when it comes to flirting or finding someone on a dating app?
Reading about this topic, I came across a survey released by the company QuackQuack, leader among dating apps in India. According to the data released, 43% of people with disabilities between 21 and 30 years old said that dating has always been in the background. On the other hand, 52% of people aged between 25 and 30 use dating apps to find people because of the simplicity provided by technology.
From this survey, two data caught my attention: the first said that 49% of respondents choose not to define conversations based on their disability, while 51% prefer to inform at the beginning; and 41% of women revealed a lack of trust in partners for fear of feeling less attractive due to their physical condition.
Is there still a lack of inclusion in traditional apps?
To learn more about the experience of PCDs in apps, I talked to digital influencer Danilo Casalechi and translator and writer Renato Farias.
About using an application focused on PCDs, both Danilo and Renato agree that it would be an important investment.
“I consider it to be a positive thing, yes, if there are people wanting to meet PCDs, whether out of fetish or curiosity, and there are PCDs wanting relationships or sex or simply feeling desired, why not create a space where these two groups meet and meet each other’s needs?”, asks Renato.
“For me it’s positive because it facilitates the meeting between people. There are beautiful moments and beautiful stories that have passed from the virtual to the real. […] Yes, I would, especially if I had an app focused on people with disabilities. I like meeting people, chatting and having an app that brings us together would facilitate communication”, says Danilo.
He reports his experience with the apps. “I used some apps, I had good experiences but I missed seeing myself in there as a person with a disability. I notice that in apps the disabled are very hidden, I didn’t feel represented”, he points out.
‘You have to be prepared for other people’s questions’
Regarding the ease of applications, Renato reinforces that it is necessary to be prepared to deal with others: “I believe that applications make meeting/contacting other people much easier, but you have to be prepared to deal with other people’s issues as well (insecurities, internalized homophobia, etc.) and having that basic awareness that just because you find someone interesting doesn’t mean they’ll return the interest.”
He also spoke about his experience in forums aimed at PCDs: “I’ve already used a gringo discussion forum aimed at women and gay devotees [pessoas com fetiche por PCDs] and PCD men, the overwhelming majority were women; I had some interesting conversations and I got to virtually meet a boy in a wheelchair from the interior of Minas, but nothing more”.
Do you always declare yourself as a PCD in these apps?
According to Renato: “I don’t always declare myself as a PCD. I’ve had periods of purposefully hiding this information and hoping to win the person in the conversation to the point that they don’t care when they find out, I’ve had periods of being the first thing they put on their profile to in case it was a problem, the person doesn’t waste their time or mine talking. Nowadays, if I don’t put it on a profile it’s because I forgot, like forgetting to put that I like ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’, or that I have two dogs , it’s just another fact of my life”.
For him, honesty and open dialogue are important: “I’ve had experiences with both people with a PCD fetish and people who rejected me when I said I was PCD, some covertly and others openly. wanted to go out with me because I am PCD —they were ableists, but they were honest, and I know that the problem was not me, but their prejudice. Those who reject in a veiled way always leave a flea behind their ear, an uncertainty, if suddenly I could have done or said something to make it work”, he says.
Is there a long way to go for traditional platforms to adapt? What do you think apps can do to become more and more inclusive? Leave it here in the comments!