Dating an HIV+ guy who doesn't work...

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 22, 2012 7:05 AM GMT
    A bar friend went out twice with someone he referred to as the "best guy he had met in a long time". My friend is HIV+ but works at a demanding professional job full-time. He found out on the second date that his new "buddy" was living on an HIV/AIDS housing subsidy, receiving social security disability for his HIV infection in spite of his not having any apparent disability. (My bar friend described this guy as having a bodybuilder build.) My friend got pissed off about this guy living on benefits, told the guy off and wants nothing to do with him anymore.

    Not quite sure what to make of this... Isn't this a type of elitism or bigotry?
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    Jan 22, 2012 7:11 AM GMT
    Not all disabilities are visible on first seeing someone. Sometimes they are partially physical. Sometimes they are completely mental/emotional.

    Since it's such a sensitive and personal matter, no one should judge people on Disability. They have already been scrutinized by a professional and approved. Every new person they meet shouldn't require them to expose weakness or embarrassing parts of themselves to be approved for friendship as well.

    Judge him by his character. If he's a low life, your friend will find out in other ways and can then ditch him for those.
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    Jan 22, 2012 11:28 AM GMT
    SkinnyBitch saidNot all disabilities are visible on first seeing someone. Sometimes they are partially physical. Sometimes they are completely mental/emotional.

    Since it's such a sensitive and personal matter, no one should judge people on Disability. They have already been scrutinized by a professional and approved. Every new person they meet shouldn't require them to expose weakness or embarrassing parts of themselves to be approved for friendship as well.

    Judge him by his character. If he's a low life, your friend will find out in other ways and can then ditch him for those.


    That's what I thought...I can't understand how my bar buddy being HIV+ himself could be so judgmental about another HIV+ gay man that he was interested in until he found out that the guy was living on benefits and not working.....
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    Jan 22, 2012 2:05 PM GMT
    Smegmatron said
    SkinnyBitch saidNot all disabilities are visible on first seeing someone. Sometimes they are partially physical. Sometimes they are completely mental/emotional.

    Since it's such a sensitive and personal matter, no one should judge people on Disability. They have already been scrutinized by a professional and approved. Every new person they meet shouldn't require them to expose weakness or embarrassing parts of themselves to be approved for friendship as well.

    Judge him by his character. If he's a low life, your friend will find out in other ways and can then ditch him for those.


    That's what I thought...I can't understand how my bar buddy being HIV+ himself could be so judgmental about another HIV+ gay man that he was interested in until he found out that the guy was living on benefits and not working.....


    have you not read any of the numerous threads here where being unemployed puts you in the grave yard for guys?


    i don't understand why you are making this comment: " can't understand how my bar buddy being HIV+ himself could be so judgmental about another HIV+"

    it clearly has nothing to do with hiv status. it has to do with the fact that he is not working.

    not working is a deal breaker.
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    Jan 22, 2012 2:14 PM GMT
    And...

    Dating is mutual. If one party isn't interested, that's it move on.

    He isn't what your friend is looking for, I doubt either of them are loosing sleep over it unless they are unhappy with themselves.



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    Jan 22, 2012 2:29 PM GMT
    Not all disabilities are apparent. If it weren't for my semi-cushy job, I'd be on disability with my herniated disks because the injury was very severe (almost needed surgery, and still get chiropractic treatment to prevent it from disabling me completely).
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    Jan 22, 2012 3:11 PM GMT
    paulflexes saidNot all disabilities are apparent. If it weren't for my semi-cushy job, I'd be on disability with my herniated disks because the injury was very severe (almost needed surgery, and still get chiropractic treatment to prevent it from disabling me completely).


    I also severely damaged some discs in a bad construction accident. After being hospitalized in traction for a few weeks, a doctor came into my room to describe to me the operation he wanted to perform. I hobbled out of the hospital, skin intact, that day. I went to about five other docs until I found someone who could help me understand what had happened to me and who helped me heal myself without cutting me open. He was the head of neurology at the UofM at the time. Following his advice, utilizing methods alternative to surgery, I was able to make myself mobile again, went back to school and started a new career in publishing. Some 20 years later, I have only remnent symptoms of the accident, some numbness in my foot and a missing reflex in my ankle.

    One of my friends who wound up HIV pos, had given up on life and let himself die which causes me so much more pain today than my own ruptured spinal discs ever did.

    So from my persepective it sounds like your friend enjoys having others around him who justify and reflect the effort he puts into his life. It doesn't seem to me that he thinks the other guy is just lazy about not working or that he is just living off charity, but that he values his work ethic and sees a disabled guy who doesn't work at all but who coasts thru life as being a defeatist.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Jan 22, 2012 3:15 PM GMT
    Kind of hard to come to a conclusion based on this information. I have to say, I wouldn't be "drawn" toward someone who apparently is on subsidy as you said, but you may not know all the facts. That could make all the difference in the world.

    I would say, with the information provided, it would be wise not to have a
    "set opinion" without the additional facts.
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    Jan 22, 2012 3:20 PM GMT
    Smegmatron said
    SkinnyBitch saidNot all disabilities are visible on first seeing someone. Sometimes they are partially physical. Sometimes they are completely mental/emotional.

    Since it's such a sensitive and personal matter, no one should judge people on Disability. They have already been scrutinized by a professional and approved. Every new person they meet shouldn't require them to expose weakness or embarrassing parts of themselves to be approved for friendship as well.

    Judge him by his character. If he's a low life, your friend will find out in other ways and can then ditch him for those.


    That's what I thought...I can't understand how my bar buddy being HIV+ himself could be so judgmental about another HIV+ gay man that he was interested in until he found out that the guy was living on benefits and not working.....
    I definitely would be having problems with your 'bar buddy'.. sound like he's full of himself and over judgmental which is a total turn off for me.
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    Jan 22, 2012 3:52 PM GMT
    I am HIV+ for 27 years and I have never been on disability benefits. I have worked hard in my profession, and when I am working full time in my highest value work I am quite happy to be in a high tax bracket. I know that I have a gift for creating value (not as good as Warren Buffet, but a gift none the less) and what I create I have more than enough to share.

    While serving on the board of a not-for-profit HIV/AIDS Services agency, I've met many others who are HIV and live on the whole complement of disability, public support, and not-for-profit support options.

    I have found it to be rare the person who lives on all of these benefits who also make some sort of meaningful volunteer work to "give back" to the community which supports them. There is only one man who I know who I keep friendship with who falls into this category. He just moved to Puerto Rico to start an nutrition oriented services agency for the poor. He did this from all he learned as a disability recipient. He worked hard and served well. I did all I could to help him learn the "not-for-profit" sector's practices from a business viewpoint.

    In the cases where they are just too sick, I cannot fault them. That is what disability, public benefits, and not-for-profit service agencies are there to do...provide a humanitarian safety net for those who wouldn't be able to survive without help.

    But, I too have seen those cases where there are those who are for all intents and purposes "healthy" and do nothing to serve the community. In fact, in my experience they have an extreme entitlement mentality and are always looking for additional ways to "game the system". I find those men to be despicable parasites and will have nothing to do with them.

    Just my experience and observations.
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19129

    Jan 22, 2012 3:58 PM GMT
    Smegmatron saidhis new "buddy" was living on an HIV/AIDS housing subsidy, receiving social security disability for his HIV infection in spite of his not having any apparent disability.


    This is far more common than people realize, and NOT just with people who have HIV. Many people work the system as much as they can to get those disability checks, even when they are perfectly healthy enough to work. In fact, I know people who collect them and still work under the table. I have no doubt that millions of dollars are going towards "disability checks" for people who are not technically disabled. Just one of the many reasons that the U.S. is going broke.
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    Jan 22, 2012 5:21 PM GMT
    I see both sides of it. There are disabilities which truly make life a living hell, whether apparent or not so we shouldn't judge people without knowing the facts.

    On the other hand, there are a lot of people who "choose" not to work but could work with some difficulty. That difficulty is percieved based on what a person wants to achieve. To me there is a big difference between a "difficulty" and a "disability". When you look at the paralympics and all the combat troops who are severely disabled but are fighting even for a deskjob, it's a little hard to see other disabilities as anything other than inconveniences. I can't imagine that a guy who can date, have sex, workout at the gym, sit in his house and drive around town wouldn't be able to sit at a desk and email/answer the phone for part time/full time work. But that could be my more conservative side talking.

    I watch a lot of court tv and have had my eyes opened regarding the number of people who are "disabled" yet are able to have a vigorous sex life, go on trips, go out dancing and drinking while our tax dollars support their lifestyle. I have two herniated discs in my back, I get it. I really do. Which is why I calll bullshit. A disability would limit what you could do, but in many cases, it wouldn't eliminate every job you could do.
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    Jan 22, 2012 7:19 PM GMT
    Being HIV+ does not preclude one from working... unless he is in such bad shape healthwise that he cannot work. It doesn't sound like this is the case.

    If soemone told me that they had a chronic medical condition that is controlled by medication .... and that was their reason for not working.... then yes, I too wouldn't be very interested. I don't think I'd tell them off... but I'd want to know why exactly they felt completely unable to work. Perhaps he does have another disability, but again the story doesnt make it seem that way. it just seems strange to me.

    I know a ton of men who are HIV+. They are all productive members of society. They support themselves and are active in the community. I don't think it's elitist to expect someone you're dating to support himself or to at least DO more than sit on his butt and get disability checks when it doesn't seem like the guy actually needs them.

    If he is working out and has a "bodybuilder" build.... he can't be that frail such that he can't work. The guy sounds lazy to me. No one wants a freeloader.

    Again, if he has a legit reason.... by all means, take the check and housing. Its just that it doesn't sound like that's the case. Those HIV/AIDS subsidies should be for people who are too sick to work.
  • melloyello

    Posts: 149

    Jan 22, 2012 7:25 PM GMT
    GAMRican said
    But, I too have seen those cases where there are those who are for all intents and purposes "healthy" and do nothing to serve the community. In fact, in my experience they have an extreme entitlement mentality and are always looking for additional ways to "game the system". I find those men to be despicable parasites and will have nothing to do with them.


    +1

    I know several friends in New York that are on the HIV housing subsidy program. "More partying money" one of them called it as they work under the table for the rest of their money. One actually said he'd think about seroconverting for the benefits. Good luck with that. I don't think I could look myself in the mirror and respect what I saw if I was doing that.
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    Jan 22, 2012 10:11 PM GMT
    I'd say your HIV+ friend, who works hard for his wages, is offended that the other guy isn't working, even though he has the same physical condition. Seems pretty simple to me.
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    Jan 22, 2012 10:29 PM GMT
    Did your friend bother to gather all relevant facts before becoming so judgemental?

    In some ways, your friends' reaction says more about him than it does about his buddy.
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    Jan 22, 2012 10:36 PM GMT
    Well I guess he described the guy as bodybuilder type and so to him he seems like someone who is fully capable of working but still chose to live on disability benefits.
    You said yourself that your friend has a very demanding job and so he works hard to earn everything and probably expects the same with the guy he wants to date.
    Personally I wouldn't want to date someone who is capable of working but still prefers to love off disability benefits. Unless his HIV is hindering in getting a job its a whole different story but that doesn't seem like happening here.
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    Jan 22, 2012 10:48 PM GMT
    You qualified this guy as a bar friend, so he's not a regular friend.
    I don't know why you're so concerned about why he chooses to date or not date a guy he met. Apparently not working is a deal breaker for him.

    If you think your bar friend is a bigot and that's what got you upset enough to make this thread, then reevaluate what qualities you look for in a friend.

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    Jan 22, 2012 10:54 PM GMT
    You never know whats going on with people unless you're that person. It's best not to let other people's issues become yours.
  • DrewT

    Posts: 1327

    Jan 22, 2012 11:00 PM GMT
    I didn't read all the comments, but I'll post something anyway. I knew an HIV+ guy that didn't work much because if he made over a certain amount—somewhere near the 10k or so—he wouldn't be able to afford treatment as that low bracket he was given free treatment. If he made slightly more, he'd been kicked off the program and without it, he wouldn't have made enough to pay for the treatment.

    Could be the same with this guy. If he's been out of work, he might not want to pursue full time work, risk losing treatment, etc, etc.

    And like others say, disability isn't always apparent. My uncle had a blood transfusion and got an STD from it that makes it near impossible for him to work. I'm pretty sure it's a hepatitis.
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    Jan 23, 2012 12:19 AM GMT
    I have to agree with the friend, living off social security for having HIV really pisses me off. I have HIV and I don't live off Social Security. I have a full-time job and go to college full-time as well. What is this guys excuse? If I had an opportunity I would tell him off too. I don't care how good looking he is, if he is receiving Social Security because he is too lazy to get a job, I would want nothing to do with him until he gets off his ass and starts looking for a job. I could understand if he had a job and got laid off. My views change when the guy lives off of Social Security because he is lazy. There is absolutely no excuse for that!
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    Jan 23, 2012 12:30 AM GMT
    Something to consider about disability or medicaid benefits- if you do start working, there is generally a time period which benefits are not available (if ever provided) from a new employer. The medicaid threshhold is so low that there is no way you can work more than a part time job and remain eligible. Once you hit that eligibility ceiling, medical, housing and food subsidies disappear. And then you are effectively worse off than when you started. Its a complex system with many flaws. Not everyone is so lucky as your friend.
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    Jan 23, 2012 12:34 AM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle said
    GAMRican said

    In the cases where they are just too sick, I cannot fault them. That is what disability, public benefits, and not-for-profit service agencies are there to do...provide a humanitarian safety net for those who wouldn't be able to survive without help.

    But, I too have seen those cases where there are those who are for all intents and purposes "healthy" and do nothing to serve the community. In fact, in my experience they have an extreme entitlement mentality and are always looking for additional ways to "game the system". I find those men to be despicable parasites and will have nothing to do with them.

    Just my experience and observations.


    I went on disability after suffering stage four Non-Hodgin's lymphoma. After not being in remission for a year I was then diagnosed with anal cancer. I went through fucking hell. Because of my experience I often fear there is another cancer lurking around the corner. This does fuck with my mind on a constant daily basis. I feel like a time bomb ready to go off at any moment. It's exhausting to say the least.

    With that being said, I don't appear sick. But I did when I had lymphoma. I was almost wheelchair bound, that's how severe it was. But when I bounced back and was treated for anal cancer I didn't appear sick. But, in fact, the radiation to my pelvis caused me immense pain. I was literally suicidal. Every time I took a piss or a shit I was screaming in agony and wishing I had a gun in the house to end it all. The radiation went everywhere in my pelvis and burned my urethra shut, I had to rip it open every time to take a piss. Although I was nuked from behind it shot right through and burned my crotch and penis/urethra.

    The point I'm trying to make is that the OP really struck a cord with me. My dating life has been quite awful. Gay men have judged me harshly for being on disability and I have had to be strong and work hard not to feel ashamed. And I must admit that at times I don't have much luck with that battle.

    Most people I know who are on disability have not gone through multiple cancers. I know there are parasites who want to abuse the system. Unfortunately I get lumped into that group. Men haven't really taken the time to get to know me. For example, when I survived lymphoma I decided to go back to school to get my undergraduate degree. While doing so I was diagnosed with another cancer. Instead of throwing in the towel (with school) I used my schooling as a way to help me hang on. In a way it was like something to keep pushing myself in order to make it through. Many college students drop out when diagnosed with cancer. I did the opposite, I used my schooling as a way to help me fight my battle, as something to pull me through.

    Now that I graduated last fall (and as of December of 2011 got a clean bill of health from my last colonoscopy) I have been looking for work. In the meantime I volunteer once week at a library in a Spanish non profit institute called the Cervantes Institute. I used to volunteer at the Center on Halsted (Chicago's GLBT well known community center) in their computer lab and assist with Microsoft Office Suite classes and general invigilating duties. I got burnt out there but may go back soon.

    What concerns me is what if I find a good job, go off of disability and then have another cancer? I've been told it's very difficult to go back on disability once a person attempts to go back to work. How will I pay for my HIV meds? It's all very overwhelming. Just because I'm cancer free doesn't mean I'm not battling other things like depression and at times - extreme anxiety/fear of more cancer.

    I've had people (even guys I met on RJ in person) talk down to me and tell me I 'need to get a job.' It's really not that easy. The last guy I dated late last year was not very compassionate. And oddly enough, his own mother died from stomach cancer! You would think someone touched by cancer would be more understanding. His motive was to have me get a job so that he wouldn't be ashamed to tell his friends that he was dating someone on disability. He expected me to change and hounded me about getting a job.

    People assume I'm physically strong because of how my body appears. But I only work out 1.5 hours a week total and only go M-W-F. Not to mention I put in nearly twenty years in the gym prior to being sick, it's not like I'm going to lose everything.

    I'm glad that Smegmatron started this thread. All I can say is that I am more at peace with my path in life. It has taught me a ton of humility. I thought I would share a bit of my story since I thought it applied well to the topic of discussion. I will continue to be judged and I have learned not to care. Those people who judge me harshly have not experienced what I have and therefore really have no place in judging me. I someday hope to find a job and have a long healthy prosperous life. And I will be happy to pay taxes knowing that a percentage of them will help someone who, unfortunately, may have similar challenges like mine. I do know that if the shoe were on the other foot that I would date someone on disability. And for those that harshly judge, I simply have to remind myself that they are people I don't need approval from nor are they people I typically am compatible with in the long run.


    A, you're like my friend in Puerto Rico. You've made something of your life DESPITE the health challenges which have come your way AND you contribute to your community.

    You're the kind of person who reinforces my belief that our social safety net programs are a necessary part of the kind of society which not only promotes "free market" success, but also socially compassionate virtue.

    My friend Fernando is a catch, and so are you.

    It's that other small population of entitlement minded deadbeats who scam and game the system who draw my ire. Yes, they qualified for benefits. And, when I served on the board of an HIV/AIDS services organization, I've had to tolerate giving those clients benefits because I knew that the overwhelmingly larger population of clients were also qualified AND deserving.

    One Thanksgiving, I was not scheduled nor had I planned to volunteer. Help was needed in the kitchen. I put on an apron and got to work. After I had toiled in the kitchen to prepare dinner for several hundred, I took my apron off and prepared to join dinner. A client walked up to me and complained about the orange drink. He told me how it used to be better, and sweeter, and blah, blah, blah! Another man who served on the board of another affiliated organization was standing there with me. I looked over at him. He looked back at me with that knowing look. I turned to the ungrateful client and said, "You know, Andy, I am just so grateful on Thanksgiving to have anything to eat and drink. I am so grateful to all the volunteers who made it and provided it for us today. I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving."

    Andy was one of those who was well enough to do volunteer work. We saw him at the gym and doing his speed walking, But, he just "never had the time because he might not feel well". Bullshit!

    I was so disgusted that I could not sit down to eat. I left. As I was leaving, another client stopped me and told me that the dinner was the other direction. I took his hand and gave it a squeeze, smiled, thanked him, and hugged him. I told him that I had been around the food all day and now just needed to go home and rest.

    I enjoyed the rest of the day by myself and had a lovely time.
  • araphael

    Posts: 1148

    Jan 23, 2012 12:46 AM GMT
    Are you kidding me? Just how vain and insecure is your friend that he even hates someone with a life altering condition like HIV? Is he also jealous of soldiers in wheel chairs now collecting disability checks? Dude, you really need to upgrade your friends before u end up angry and with your friend's victim mentality.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 23, 2012 12:57 AM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle said


    I went on disability after suffering stage four Non-Hodgin's lymphoma. After not being in remission for a year I was then diagnosed with anal cancer. I went through fucking hell. Because of my experience I often fear there is another cancer lurking around the corner. This does fuck with my mind on a constant daily basis. I feel like a time bomb ready to go off at any moment. It's exhausting to say the least.

    With that being said, I don't appear sick. But I did when I had lymphoma. I was almost wheelchair bound, that's how severe it was. But when I bounced back and was treated for anal cancer I didn't appear sick. But, in fact, the radiation to my pelvis caused me immense pain. I was literally suicidal. Every time I took a piss or a shit I was screaming in agony and wishing I had a gun in the house to end it all. The radiation went everywhere in my pelvis and burned my urethra shut, I had to rip it open every time to take a piss. Although I was nuked from behind it shot right through and burned my crotch and penis/urethra.

    The point I'm trying to make is that the OP really struck a cord with me. My dating life has been quite awful. Gay men have judged me harshly for being on disability and I have had to be strong and work hard not to feel ashamed. And I must admit that at times I don't have much luck with that battle.

    Most people I know who are on disability have not gone through multiple cancers. I know there are parasites who want to abuse the system. Unfortunately I get lumped into that group. Men haven't really taken the time to get to know me. For example, when I survived lymphoma I decided to go back to school to get my undergraduate degree. While doing so I was diagnosed with another cancer. Instead of throwing in the towel (with school) I used my schooling as a way to help me hang on. In a way it was like something to keep pushing myself in order to make it through. Many college students drop out when diagnosed with cancer. I did the opposite, I used my schooling as a way to help me fight my battle, as something to pull me through.

    Now that I graduated last fall (and as of December of 2011 got a clean bill of health from my last colonoscopy) I have been looking for work. In the meantime I volunteer once week at a library in a Spanish non profit institute called the Cervantes Institute. I used to volunteer at the Center on Halsted (Chicago's GLBT well known community center) in their computer lab and assist with Microsoft Office Suite classes and general invigilating duties. I got burnt out there but may go back soon.

    What concerns me is what if I find a good job, go off of disability and then have another cancer? I've been told it's very difficult to go back on disability once a person attempts to go back to work. How will I pay for my HIV meds? It's all very overwhelming. Just because I'm cancer free doesn't mean I'm not battling other things like depression and at times - extreme anxiety/fear of more cancer.

    I've had people (even guys I met on RJ in person) talk down to me and tell me I 'need to get a job.' It's really not that easy. The last guy I dated late last year was not very compassionate. And oddly enough, his own mother died from stomach cancer! You would think someone touched by cancer would be more understanding. His motive was to have me get a job so that he wouldn't be ashamed to tell his friends that he was dating someone on disability. He expected me to change and hounded me about getting a job.

    People assume I'm physically strong because of how my body appears. But I only work out 1.5 hours a week total and only go M-W-F. Not to mention I put in nearly twenty years in the gym prior to being sick, it's not like I'm going to lose everything.

    I'm glad that Smegmatron started this thread. All I can say is that I am more at peace with my path in life. It has taught me a ton of humility. I thought I would share a bit of my story since I thought it applied well to the topic of discussion. I will continue to be judged and I have learned not to care. Those people who judge me harshly have not experienced what I have and therefore really have no place in judging me. I someday hope to find a job and have a long healthy prosperous life. And I will be happy to pay taxes knowing that a percentage of them will help someone who, unfortunately, may have similar challenges like mine. I do know that if the shoe were on the other foot that I would date someone on disability. And for those that harshly judge, I simply have to remind myself that they are people I don't need approval from nor are they people I typically am compatible with in the long run.


    You are an encouragement to many and a man to be admired.