Emily Lanka, an autism training consultant from Liverpool, has only been in a wheelchair for a month following a functional stroke last year.
The 32-year-old also has Ehlers-Danlos syndromes and a functional neurological disorder which impacts her ‘like a cross between MS and epilepsy’.
Unfortunately, while adjusting to life in a wheelchair, her partner left her for being ‘too disabled’.
Unable to attend Pride over the weekend, Emily asked her Twitter followers to share images of what love while disabled looks like, with bonus points for LGBT folks. And the results poured in.
‘If you’re disabled and in a happy, loving relationship, would you mind sharing a photo of you and your partner with me?’ she wrote.
‘Brain is finding it so hard to imagine being loved in my chair.’
Emily’s thread blew up on Twitter and she explained to Metro.co.uk why she decided to make it.
‘I was inspired by two things – in part, it was seeing all the photos from Pride and not seeing any disabled people on my feed there.
‘I want to go to my local pride at the end of the month but started to feel so worried about it. Starting to use my wheelchair has been a lot to process and it’s made me feel so unsexy and unattractive.
‘I was just having a really low night and feeling unloveable because of it and decided to tweet thinking I’d maybe get a couple of responses. And the second part is why I feel so unloveable.’
Emily added that her low self-esteem came after a partner left her two weeks after she came out of hospital as it was too ‘stressful’ to take care of a disabled person.
The health consultant was also housebound for three months with multiple seizures. But she says her condition is worse now and if someone struggled to love her then, it would be even harder now.
‘But this thread has taught me the issue isn’t me, it’s the person who said I was too hard to love,’ she added.
One of the first couples to comment on the thread was YouTuber Jessica Kellgren-Fozard who wrote: ‘To the right person, you using a wheelchair is not something that they have to overlook, it’s something that they are thankful is around to help you.’
Emily has been inundated with so many images and positive messages in a way that doesn’t serve disability porn.
‘The thing I’ve loved the most about all of the responses is how diverse they are and how joyful and that no one has talked about it being inspirational or about the non-disabled partners being amazing,’ she added.
‘It’s just love, in all of its amazing diverse beauty. There are older couples, gay couples, trans couples, polyamorous set ups.
‘People who’ve been together forever and people who’ve never met face to face but it’s just so pure and full of love.’
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