Lucy Webster, a journalist for the BBC politics department, was shocked, hurt and dismayed after the dating site, Matchmakers Dating, turned her away for using a wheelchair.
The dating site sent Webster an email which read that singles “are not always open” to dating someone with her disability.
It continued that the dating agency is “not a specialist agency” and that their “experience of disabled dating is limited,” adding, “We have found that achieving good outcomes for full-time wheelchair user clients can be quite challenging.”
“You should consider this before looking to take out a membership with us,” it told Webster.
The email read, “As we get more enquiries from the disabled, we are considering developing a specialized brand for the disabled dater.”
Webster shared the email on Twitter because she wanted to highlight the discrimination faced on a daily basis by many people with disabilities. She said, “Next time a disabled person tries to talk to you about ableism, please remember that it’s not just frustrating things like a lack of ramps. It’s also stuff like this, that hurts more than I can say. “
On her Twitter feed, Webster wrote, “I just received this email from a ‘professional’ dating service. When I spoke to them on the phone they said that my disability was fine, but when I clarified that I was a wheelchair user, this [was their response].”
The journalist explained, “Imagine for a second being told that you are too disabled for a non-disabled person to love.”
Twitter users quickly took the dating service to task, with one person commenting, “Are they trying to say disabled people can only date other disabled people??? How f***ing stupid is that??”
Another person wrote, “Surely the best person to decide if they want to date a person with a disability, is the potential date?”
A spokesperson for Matchmakers Dating adamantly denies turning away Webster, stating, “We have current members living with various disabilities, including using a wheelchair. Sadly, there is still a lot of prejudice out there in society at large…we have not always been successful in finding others open to dating people with disabilities, despite our best efforts – others make their own decisions.”