Imani Barbarin in a Paris-based activist who often draws attention to the problems that people with disabilities face, encouraging everyone to face them with a positive attitude. Recently, Imani has started one of the most heartwarming initiatives on Twitter. Under the hashtag #YouCanLoveMeButYouCantHoldMyHand, the woman asked people with various physical and mental illnesses, “What are some of the physical ways your partner makes you feel loved that are different from the way abled people show love?”
"I actually am disabled. I was born with cerebral palsy," Barbarin told Bored Panda. "I asked the question initially out of a desire to see more romances involving disabled characters and realized that to represent disabled romances correctly, the 'regular' romantic signifiers wouldn't apply. For instance, because I walk with crutches and use my hands heavily to get around, I can't hold hands in public spaces, but I'm just one person with a disability so I decided to post the question online."
"I think the love and companionship that disabled people need and desire is the same, it just manifests itself in different ways," Imani added. "Too often, we portray loving someone disabled as burdensome, but the people who have responded are joyous in the way they show they care. That's uplifting to see."
She thinks that the reason why so many people have resonated with the post has a lot to do with loneliness. "These stories are those of hope. We can be loved the way we are and the right person will make us feel more at home in our own skin."
"I specifically want disabled people to be hopeful in reading these stories. I want them to know, myself included, that we aren't a burden or abnormal to love.