Embrace It with Lainie & Estela - Smashing Disability Stigmas

Embrace It: Episode 56 - Alexa & Jaqueline Child, Make Love Accessible

February 14, 2024 Season 2 Episode 56
Embrace It with Lainie & Estela - Smashing Disability Stigmas
Embrace It: Episode 56 - Alexa & Jaqueline Child, Make Love Accessible
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Join us for an enlightening conversation with Alexa and Jacqueline Child, the dynamic duo behind Dateability, a revolutionary dating app designed to empower the disabled and chronically ill communities. Founded by sisters, Jacqueline's personal experience with discrimination and hurtful comments on mainstream dating apps due to her disability ignited a spark within them to create a platform that champions inclusivity and understanding.

In this podcast episode, we delve into Jacqueline and Alexa's journey, exploring the challenges they faced in the dating world and the inspiration behind Dateability. Jacqueline shares her firsthand encounters with discrimination and offensive behavior on traditional dating platforms, highlighting the urgent need for a space where individuals with disabilities can connect authentically without fear of judgment.

Through their shared vision, Jacqueline and Alexa are on a mission to revolutionize the social experiences of a population that has long been overlooked and marginalized. With Dateability, they're not just building a dating app; they're fostering a supportive community where everyone's unique journey is celebrated.

Tune in as we discuss the values driving Dateability, the obstacles they've overcome, and their dedication to making it the premier platform for the disabled and chronically ill communities. 

Please leave us a review and help others find us! 

Hosted by Lainie Ishbia and Estela Lugo.

Embrace It is produced by Launchpad 516 Studios.

For sponsorships and media inquiries, drop an email to: embraceit@lp516.com

Subscribe to Embrace It with Lainie and Estela on Apple Podcasts and get notified of new episodes! https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/embrace-it-with-lainie-estela-smashing-disability-stigmas/id1468364898


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Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Embrace it series, where women with all types of disabilities can be real, resourceful and stylish. With each episode, you'll walk or roll away with everyday tips, life hacks and success stories from community leaders and influencers. So take off your leg braces and stay a while with Lainey and Estella.

Speaker 2:

Hi, I'm Lainey and I have CMT. I'm a neuro-muscular disorder affecting approximately 2.6 million people worldwide.

Speaker 3:

That's as many as MS. We believe disabilities should never get in the way of looking or feeling good. Both of us wear leg braces and have learned through our own personal journeys to embrace it Brought to you by Launchpad 516 Studios.

Speaker 2:

each episode is designed to challenge your own stigmas and beliefs around disability. We want our listeners to get the most value for their time spent with us, so we interview some of the most empowering disability badasses in the world. Through storytelling, personal experiences and tips, we're all reminded of our own strengths and endless potential.

Speaker 3:

For more information and exclusive resources, check out our websites at trend-ablecom and hnf-curorg, and don't forget to hit the subscribe button for future episodes and special promos.

Speaker 2:

Welcome everyone to another episode of the Embracing Podcast with Lainey and Estella. Hey, Lainey, Hi.

Speaker 3:

Estella. Hi everyone, you know what I was thinking, Estella, before you do our introductions. One of our number one podcasts that people listen to is the one we did on dating. I get more questions and comments about dating, whether it's meeting your first partner or divorced and getting remarried or wanting to be remarried or find someone. So I'm super excited about today.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think I agree. We always have a special interest in dating and relationships. I think that's something that definitely brings people together and something we're always learning more about. So today we have two very special guest sisters actually, we have Alexa and Jacqueline Child. Jacqueline lives with disability due to a chronic illness which we're going to learn a little bit about, and these wonderful, amazing sisters teamed up to create a new dating app for the disability community called Datability. So welcome ladies, hi everyone, hi, hi, hi, hi. Anna, thank you so much for joining us. We are super curious to learn about this. I know there hasn't been much out there as far as options for the disability community for dating apps, and I think it's definitely a untapped market and something that really is important for us to address. So give us a little bit. Maybe we can start with your background and your experience with disability and chronic illness and how that kind of leads you to creating data ability.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, so if you both of you have disabilities, it's just one of you, right? So just me, just.

Speaker 4:

Jacqueline. So I am Jacqueline and I am 29. And I have been chronically ill since I was a young teenager and I went from living a very healthy average life and not knowing that I had a lot of genetic predispositions to chronic illness and also genetic conditions. But after a viral infection in 2009, it triggered my immune system and my health sort of unraveled from there and it started out with a severe case of dysautonomia and gastroparesis and then led me down to having trigeminal neuralgia.

Speaker 3:

Okay, I'm going to stop you right there. Can you kind of just describe what those are briefly?

Speaker 4:

A lot of them.

Speaker 4:

You know they affect me from head to toe and the big ones affect my autonomic nervous system, so really anything that your body involuntarily controls, such as blood pressure, digestion, eyesight, temperature, temperature regulation, really everything.

Speaker 4:

And I also live with severe chronic pain and chronic fatigue, and so throughout the years I have my diagnosis list increases, as do many people living with chronic illness, and really affects me from my head to my toes, and it's been a long journey of figuring out what is the root cause of pain or symptoms. But overall I have a lot of autoimmune conditions and then genetic abnormalities that have led me to develop certain chronic illnesses, and over the years I've had over 40 surgeries on all parts of my body and really just trying to manage my symptoms, my pain. So it has been a very interesting life that no one expected. My family wasn't prepared for it, we weren't prepared for it, but now we always joke that we're very educated without going to med school. I'm always diagnosing people on the medical TV shows without, and then they reveal the diagnosis and I'm like told you.

Speaker 3:

That's funny. Actually, I watched so many of the criminal minds and all of those shows SVUs. I say the same thing, but about crime, which is not as good.

Speaker 3:

It's not like a table talk and I'm like. You seem like a very organized killer. I don't know if people like to say it too, but I'm super interested. I mean that obviously is a lot. You're a young woman, so prior to the beginning of what sounds like hell, were you totally fine doing your own thing I say normal in quotations, but just going to school doing regular, expected stuff.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, as a child as a really young child I had been diagnosed with asthma but I wasn't able to treat it. I spent my recess in the principal's office doing my nebulizer treatments and nothing ever got better. I used to get, when I used to get sick, I used to get very, I would have a lot of trouble breathing, and so what they thought was asthma, but it turned out that it was actually a congenital heart defect and my aorta was compressed, had been compressing my trachea. It kind of goes the opposite way that it should, and we didn't find that out until a couple of years ago and I had to have a thoracotomy to fix that. But that was really the only thing that health wise that I experienced as a child. And then, once I was 14 and had a bad case of mono, is when my immune system kind of turned on me.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and I think that's you know. You're such an example of so many people living with not apparent disabilities that we're looking at you right now on the Zoom screen. If you can't see the two beautiful young sisters and anyone looking at you from the outside who doesn't know, you would have no idea of what you're going through and the medical diagnostic journey and just treatment journey that you've been on. So can you speak a little bit to that and maybe lead us through a fast forward a few years from your teenage years and how the conversation got started around dating and your experience and what was that catalyst to create the day ability?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, I had never put that much thought into an invisible disability Like most people don't put that much thought into it if they don't aren't aware of it and but I quickly learned that it was a thing and that there was a lot of stigma around it. And in high school some of the teachers really didn't understand and I had some great teachers who could tell I was different and I was sick. But a lot of teachers would say, oh, she looks fine, she can do this, and that was the start of it. And then of course, I think almost everyone who has an invisible disability but also has a disabled placard will experience someone calling them out for wrongly using a disabled parking space and that was something I experienced in high school, with people questioning why I was parked in that spot. I mean, it still happens to the state. It happened a couple of weeks ago and luckily I had my very strong advocate of a sister with me who really called the guy out.

Speaker 4:

But it's hard and I think that people who have visible disabilities I'll often times say they can't imagine having an invisible disability and, just like you know, I say I can't imagine having a visible disability. It's really, it's different and I think just with invisible disabilities you sort of have to prove yourself and prove that you're disabled, and I think I might have in my past years fallen into that trap of feeling like I need to prove to myself and not living my full life because I was afraid that, oh well, if someone sees me do this, then they're gonna think, they're not gonna think I'm disabled, and while now I'm just like I'm disabled, whether I ride a bike today or not.

Speaker 3:

Anyway, it's so interesting that you say that we wanted. The podcast that we recorded this week actually was one that Estelle and I did alone, without a guest, and it was on 10 things. We would tell our younger selves about disability if we could and you guys are like both of our. Even you are a younger self, estelle. They're much younger than you too for once. But like one of them was that Estelle said, was you know that you would have like turned off the self ableism, the what is?

Speaker 3:

the word Internal, internal ableism, and that's exactly what you're talking about. There's so many people with chronic illness feel it's like the world is doubting them, and so then how can you not doubt yourself? You're like, well gosh, that person has it so much worse and yeah, I live with chronic pain and it sucks. But imagine I had to use this device, you know and and going down that trap. So how clearly you and I want to hear about your sister too, because that's like super interesting but clearly you move past that because you have created this awesome app for people. So talk about how that happened. Like you know you, you went from being you know a person like a lot of people who experiences ableism, who's you know kind of figuring out their diagnosis, which keeps increasing and changing all the time, and then where in that was dating and like how did it come up?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, dating was rough. I was using all the mainstream dating apps and I was very hesitant to ever disclose my chronic illnesses, but they just naturally had to come up and a lot of times they came up super early, which made me uncomfortable. But you know, a lot of people ask what do you do for work? And like would I have to explain to them that I'm just like trying to take care of my health for now and not and not hold a job? Or they would say, do you want to go hiking? And I wasn't able to do that and so living in Colorado, it was. It's like all about active life and being adventurous.

Speaker 4:

And I would just fall in the same routine of someone trying to get me to go do something active and me having to tell them that I was chronically ill and disabled, and then I'd be ghosted or rejected. Or someone would say something really offensive, like I hope you're not planning on having any kids because it would be selfish to pass on your genetics, and like it as bad as that is, like I'm not alone in that. People say that to so many people and I just couldn't believe it. And then, if you want to discuss, like how data ability actually came about, because I kind of give you the credit for putting planting the idea.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, what is the age difference between you guys? Like.

Speaker 6:

I'm four years older.

Speaker 3:

Okay, yeah, and so you obviously naturally became interested in your sister. Have you always been this close? You guys can't see this, but they're literally sitting Like my sister and I would be on opposite sides of the room. My sister and I wouldn't be recording a podcast, because we're a lot of long hours. I love you, stay safe. You're listening, but it's not. We aren't. We don't drive that way. You two are obviously like very, very close friends as well. Yes, yes.

Speaker 6:

We were really close when we were little and then when I became a teenager. That's when the age gap gets really apparent, Like a 16 year old and a 12 year old. There's just not a whole lot in common there, and I was a little bit of a wild teenager as well.

Speaker 4:

And I was the epitome of an annoying little sister.

Speaker 6:

Yeah, and so we weren't. We were not not close, just normal. And then I went out East first, so we live in Colorado. I went out East for college and law school I'm an attorney and so I was gone for about eight years and didn't uh, Japan was still in high school, so my parents couldn't come out and visit and I'm very independent and that's like I was from day one, just miss independent. So I was doing my own thing out there and then I moved back to Denver. I moved back to Colorado I missed the mountains after law school and Jacqueline moved to Denver after she graduated college. I've been living here for about a year and we moved in together. Um, I hated the apartment I was in. I was living alone and I was like, okay, let's, let's move in together, like, come join me. And we've been living together ever since, and now we've been living either for six years. So we live together, we work together. Um, the pandemic made us a lot closer because when we weren't able to see our friends, we were each other's support system and so and now I work from home Um, I'm still an attorney, and so we're together all the time. Um, yes, so we're very close and I'm very, very protective, and I always have been. And, um, I Jacqueline had to get Jacqueline's.

Speaker 6:

She had a gastroparesis, which is paralysis of the stomach, essentially, and so she's gone through phases where she was unable to keep things, even liquid, down without you know, and she'd throw up. And then it would get better, or it would only happen if she had a really big meal, like if we went out to dinner. We would say like, oh, this is going to make you sick. And then it got bad again. Um, in the beginning of the pandemic where, like, no matter what she would eat or intake, she would get sick. And so there came a point where the doctors were telling her you're at risk for esophageal cancer, you're going to be malnourished, like you need to get a feeding tube. And so we both panicked.

Speaker 6:

Um and I had an internal panic, more so because I want I'm not disabled, so I didn't want my ableism to show or to make her feel bad or to say something stupid or offensive, but I was worried about how this would affect our lives. I, uh, before, now that I'm working two jobs, I never cook, but before I used to like to cook and bake and I cook for us and I was worried. Or if I wanted to go out to brunch with her, like, what would that look like? And so I was worried about how it would affect our relationship. Um, what I feel guilty eating in front of her, all of that. And so then I really worried if I feel this way.

Speaker 6:

I've known her my whole life. She's my sister. I'm so familiar with her chronic illnesses and disabilities. How is some guy going to you know feel when they meet her? She's already had all these terrible experiences before. This Like this is just kind of like the cherry on top. You know now you can't go on dinner dates, you have to explain or why that can't be a regular occurrence. And so she had, she had expressed that she wanted, she wished there was an app for people like her and I decided that we should make it ourselves.

Speaker 6:

Um, as an attorney, I'm a problem solver. I worked in the nonprofit public service space my whole career, so almost 10 years and work with vulnerable populations, and so that's kind of like my background and so I'm used to solving problems. And I was actually laid off because of COVID budget cuts, and so I wasn't working at the time and just kind of stuck in this weird space, obviously COVID's super dangerous for Jacqueline, and so it had been a very weird time and I saw a chance for us to put our energy into this venture and like kind of kill a million birds with one stone, have something new, you know, et cetera, et cetera.

Speaker 2:

That's wild, I mean, and it's so. It's so eye opening as well, because just hearing you talk about all of the you know all the social interactions that revolve around food and eating, it's of course that would be. Of course. It makes sense that that would be a huge concern, how it would affect not only your relationship but any, you know, potential dating situations. How did you start to rethink dating, a dating app that would work for someone with a disability, and what were some of the first things that you wanted to address that weren't available yet?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, it was a revolution to like even a revelation, to even come to this point, because for a really long time I said I would never date someone with a chronic illness or with a disability. And you know if I'm packing that through therapy, I realized that it was. It all stemmed through internalized ableism and that if, if I didn't see myself as a worthy partner and that someone who deserved love and so I was I Put that onto all disabled and chronically ill people and all I could think about was, oh, how miserable this would be and how could we ever get anything done? And logistically it's not gonna work out. And Once my therapist had turned the question on me, like, what, what qualities do you have that makes you a good partner? And I Named a few and she said, well, why can't someone else with a chronic illness have that? And then immediately my viewpoints switch and I was like, well, maybe actually finding someone with a chronic illness would be better, because they already understand what I'm going through, they might have the same values and and so that was an exciting Prospect, that, oh, maybe I could actually meet someone with a chronic illness and it doesn't have to be the same chronic illness.

Speaker 4:

Um, you know, there's so many disabilities and chronic illnesses in this world that they're it manifests so differently and even people with the same diagnoses have a different experience. And but it was important for us to be all inclusive, which meant including all disabilities psychiatric, intellectual, physical, and then also non-disabled people, because there are people like Alexa, who, who are allies and they are not scared by disability. And we we have seen Quite a few people like that and it's really wonderful to see, because I think that Both the disabled and the non-disabled world don't picture Interabled relationships and they like it's like it's either, oh, they're being there, fetish, such as saying them, or they're giving, or, yeah, being a caregiver, and so it's like two extremes. When there are just people who are like, yeah, I would say, disabled person, it's no big deal, do we?

Speaker 3:

are saying that there's people who are on your app or come to your app who just like, like, signed up for you as well as they signed up for hinge or whatever at the same time, and it didn't purposely seek you out like I want to date a person with a disability and save them. I want, I'm just open to anybody and this is like making some you know. I have to say that I'm assuming that your app was attracting younger people like you're, like your age and younger maybe, or even younger because no you would be supposed both.

Speaker 6:

Yes, younger, but the shocking thing is that ableism doesn't ever stop. So, like I just figured when this is gonna be a, just when people are 70, everyone is like has a chronic illness and or is disabled, and they got just the way it goes. And I didn't. I would never understand why a 70 year old would be discriminating against another 70 year old because, like they're old and so.

Speaker 3:

I'm so happy you said 70 and not 53.

Speaker 6:

You know I heard the right it. Oh, my god like.

Speaker 3:

I hear you that Right, but yeah, no, it doesn't stop.

Speaker 2:

We'll be right back.

Speaker 7:

This is George, fred and Jason, the co-leaders of speak, interrupting to say that we hope you're enjoying this episode, but please make sure to check out our new show, the speak podcast, another great show produced by launchpad 516 Studios. New episodes available every week on all of your favorite podcast platforms.

Speaker 5:

Each speak talk is about six to ten minutes in length, and the talks are given in storytelling format. There are three key moments in each speak talk the moment of truth, the moment of transformation and the moment of impact. We host pop-up events all over the world, and now we're bringing our talks to your device.

Speaker 7:

Join us on the speak podcast as our speakers step onto the stage and into the spotlight with impactful ideas and stories. We'll let you get back to the show you were listening to another great podcast from launchpad 516 Studios.

Speaker 2:

You're tuning in to embrace it with Laini Anastella, brought to you by launchpad 516 Studios.

Speaker 6:

Older people still discriminate against each other.

Speaker 4:

It's wild we just got an email from a really kind 70-something year old woman who said that she was so thankful to find Adability because all the men that she talks to on other apps where she meets out are looking for someone active, and she's like I didn't know.

Speaker 6:

I said, when you're like all like all, there's all these 70 year olds out there hiking.

Speaker 7:

I mean, I know that they're out there. We're from a.

Speaker 6:

There's definitely people, but there's.

Speaker 4:

There's so many people whose life yeah, we grew up with, like our grandparents play for the very stereotypical old people and they play golf and they Like play cards and stuff like that, but like our grandma has not been active in like two decades.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, so it is sad that it still is happening. But so we do have a large senior community on Datability, but the majority of our users are millennials or Gen Z and so but yeah, it's really an app for everyone and we really wanted to make it inclusive, and the biggest thing that we wanted to tackle was disclosing, and so we created a Datability deep section where people can choose from an extensive list of broad terms like chronic illness, immuno, compromised, wheelchair user, and they can check those off and it just shows up on their profile. It's really neutral. It's just there, basic information, and so people don't necessarily Feel like they have to Talk, explain right explain, or like give so much detail.

Speaker 3:

I like love this because, like one of the things in in that, like the podcast that we did and and blogs We've written about dating is like what do I do about my profile? Do I put my mobility device in the foot shot? Do I say it? Do I whatever? And nowadays, like apps like yours and, from what I understand, these other apps have changed. Like in my Divorce and remarry days match with the thing there were no props. You just like made your profile right, like you had to be clever. You didn't get to like 20 clever things or you weren't clever, I guess, but so I love that, like you just put it in there and like it's there and it's not like an issue, it's not a whole thing, it's just this is about me. These are one of these are like this is one thing of many things like.

Speaker 2:

I'm just like you're high.

Speaker 3:

I love it. I love it.

Speaker 6:

Yeah, that makes it easier because I think the disclosure and the anxiety comes when you are talking about what you want to do on your date and so many things are not accessible. And so, for example, there's this thing in Colorado called the manatee in pine and it's like a million steps and it's in the mountains. So let's say I've matched with somebody on hinge and the guy was a wheelchair user and he didn't feel comfortable putting his wheelchair he's including his wheelchair any pictures. And then I say, hey, like it's gonna be a beautiful day, do you want to do the manatee and climb with me? That would actually never be my idea for a first date.

Speaker 6:

So, and then they have to tell you the one. They have to say no, which can come up as like a rejection for some people or being negative, and then they have to tell you why, and so it can get really Kind of messy and it's so an anxious, anxiety inducing, and so if I see his Availability that says he's a wheelchair user, I'm not gonna ask him to go do that. I'm gonna ask them to do something accessible and I'm gonna think of an accessible place, some place where there's, you know, not stairs or there's an elevator or something like that, and so it really does make the whole date planning process and getting to know you process but easier.

Speaker 4:

I, in my opinion, yeah, when I was on the mainstream dating apps and Someone would suggest something that I couldn't do, there was a time where I would Rather lie and say that I don't like doing like, I don't like the outdoors than it, then tell them I was disabled and that I that's not accessible for me and and it would really, just because I was ashamed of it and I was embarrassed and and yeah, my viewpoint has really shifted really from like the over the last three years of just not being ashamed anymore of not being able to do something, and it's just it takes so much more energy to hide that to be true and you're hiding yourself because the truth is that you, like me, like the outdoors no, you can't hike, but you ski and you like to camp and Do day trips and go fishing or something, and so you're missing out on all these activities you can do by just lying and saying like I don't like the outdoors, which would is also like for people in Colorado.

Speaker 6:

That's like a very weird.

Speaker 2:

Treat. You'll be like that to you. I don't sold.

Speaker 6:

Oh yeah, I would be like, okay, why do you live here? Yeah, it's like very, it's all pudding and but if that was your truth, that's your truth, but it's not. And so Then they find out, like where they find out you're lying and you're in your lot. Then, like you're not being truthful about yourself and what you like to do, it's very mess.

Speaker 4:

It gets very messy, yeah, but I mean, unfortunately, being disabled is very off-putting for a lot of people, and that is something that we want to change and that that we just want to destigmatize disability and chronic illness and show that people are able, and you know, to live a very normal life and that and live one that is fulfilling.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, to meet somebody who is going to Support them and not make them feel shame around that and, and you know, just have that, have that love story, whether you're disabled or not. So what has been the reaction so far? Maybe any, any stories that stick out to you or any users that have really, you know, maybe matched up on your, on your app, and what have? What has that been like?

Speaker 6:

We have a handful of success stories. Recently, just around Thanksgiving, we heard from a female user who matched with her current partner Shortly after we launched, right around the holidays of last year, and they live 900 miles apart from each other but did long distance and they are in the process of moving in with each other now. So like a real success story. I've never lived with a partner before, so that's a big deal. And then we've got Another couple. They happen to live 30 minutes away from each other, so when they matched and they met each other's families over Christmas. And then we have a, we met somebody doing another podcast almost a year ago who reached out to us recently and said that he wasn't. He had matched with someone, but they don't live in the same city, but they always kept in touch and then he happened to be where she lived and so they went on a date and he said he had all the typical predate jitters that everybody gets, but the one thing that was missing was the Disability related anxiety.

Speaker 6:

He was not freaked out about that, didn't have any qualms about going into this date, and so that was awesome to hear, and they still keep in touch. And then another we just heard from another person that's texting somebody else and they're doing the FaceTime thing and are planning on meeting up in person for the first time sometime this month.

Speaker 3:

I think I mean how amazing. Also like, not only does it take away, I would imagine, the nervousness about my disability being the Section, but also like a lot of people think that they are rejected because of their disability. So like that, you know, if you're someone who you know is been dating and has maybe an invisible disability, and then tells someone the person you're dating, that you do, and then they don't call you, naturally a lot of people would then assume it's because of that. But sometimes it's not. It's like people meet and guess what they don't like you like you know, click they don't. You know you have a different I mean values, different size of humor, and so that a thing.

Speaker 3:

I think that's really helpful for people like you can't use your disability as an excuse. Like I'm, you know, maybe I need to work on my communication skills. You know, maybe I, maybe, you know I talk the conversation and only talk about me. Like that kind of feedback is not that people are giving that, but you know they can look at it from a different angle. So how many people like are on your site and like, if someone went on and they're from and you know Colorado and you know, are they gonna find a lot of people from Colorado to meet, or are they gonna be talking to people in Chicago?

Speaker 4:

so we as the recording of this podcast. We have over 13,000 users, and that's so great, ah, and it's all over North America, and so when we first launched, we launched Nationwide, and so we were really worried about someone signing on and not seeing anyone in their area, and so we Turned off the location function and we just allowed anyone whose preferences match to see each other. And now that we have more users, we have an optional location function so you can search in your area or you can search across the app, and that has been really great, especially for people in rural areas or just areas that did. Ability hasn't expanded into as much yet, so but it has been, yeah, a wonderful year of Making this, because, I mean, for a while we would be asked like, oh, do you have any success stories? And we were like, not that we know of, but we're sure they're out there. And then they started flooding in and it's, I mean, like, if nothing comes out of this except people's success and love, that is enough for me. We're, we're really, really happy.

Speaker 3:

What about the two of you? Have you dated anybody from your own app, or is that like?

Speaker 4:

Okay, yeah, eventually I will, once I get the hang of having a full-time job, and I'm like, yeah, I created this for me, not realizing how much work it was gonna be. And now I'm like, yeah, I don't know if I can give someone that full attention, but I'm confident that when this does like Become easier for me to handle and I can use dateability in a more recreational way, that I will find my person on there, because I see all the people signing up and it's a really interesting and diverse user base and I really think that people will find that they have Things in common with people on our app.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and I think the cost right. I'm sorry to interrupt you. Oh, it's free. Yeah, wow, would you guys hear that people no rest free. So how do you guys keep it going?

Speaker 6:

So In terms of dating? No, I'm not. I work like too much and Then just need to sleep. I'm also kind of by nature alone wolf, which is ironic because I'm the founder of a dating app who, like that's really prioritized dating. But I'm starting to think that in the future I Will be open to it, and the pandemic has made dating really hard. I still mask indoors everywhere, and so that's really hard to explain to people why I still take all these precautions.

Speaker 6:

And we're seeing an influx of people who are just like me, who are either they do have a chronic illness and they're still being safe, or they're not disabled and they're just so. They just care about COVID and not getting it joining Dataability, and so I said maybe one day I will meet somebody like that. Of course, I'd rather just like the pandemic be totally over, but you know, you know so. But it is free, and so right now, neither of us are taking a salary for what we do. We will be Monetizing with some ads. Soon we will be adding in the subscription model, but we always want a free version that we really do want to make love accessible, and that's with the app itself, that's with our user base and that's with cost, and so we will have a free version, and then, you know, have added features in the subscription version. Yeah, what?

Speaker 6:

if standard charging.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 6:

I just rolled out some $500 Something and I was like I, my husband, that for that much money better be delivered on my doorstep and I don't ever have to leave, or get a prime prime shipping today, shipping Right. I'm gonna open my front door and like the perfect person which is like I don't even know what you get for that. But yeah, so it won't be like that. The cost, even when the subscription model, the cost will be very reasonable.

Speaker 2:

I meant to say is, if anyone's interested in you know any investors or anyone would like to advertise with data ability, please reach out to us or them directly, and we love anyone that's. You know. It's just supportive. This is we have so many philanthropists in the world and this is just another, you know, opportunity to scale something and support something that hasn't been done before and is so so needed when you think about the sheer demographic of the disability community.

Speaker 2:

And I love that you took off the location as well. That's what I meant to say is that you know, my boyfriend and I were long distance for six years the first six years of a relationship and so you know, if he didn't show up in my neighborhood then I would have been like, oh well, that's never going to work. So I think it's important for people to keep their minds open about long distance relationships, because of course it's not. It can be difficult, but on the other hand, it can be such an opportunity to build, like an authentic friendship with someone before you meet in person. So I love it.

Speaker 4:

You say that because we, you know we get mixed feedback from people saying, oh there's, you know, we need more people in my area and it's well, we have a solution for you, while we can't deliver them in your radius. Like you can talk to people and engage with people who might, that might be your person. Like I mean, it is very antiquated to think that the person has to be within your 20 minute radius. Like we have technology, we can long distance relationships.

Speaker 6:

And that's like a pay, that is a paid feature on the other apps is the ability to search, like if I'm in Denver to search in New York City or Chicago. That's it you have to pay for. But I agree, I'm convinced I am a Colorado girl, but I know my person is not in Colorado. I spent so much time on the East Coast and definitely I'm looking for probably, uh, somebody who's living in one of the major cities in the Northeast right now, but I really like want to live in Colorado for the rest of my life and be near the mountains, and so I know that my person I have to like import them into Colorado. Um, you know I'm they're probably like in DC because I'm very into politics and stuff. So I know that.

Speaker 6:

And so I would love to have the ability to see everybody in for free. Um, but it is like a one complaint. But, yeah, I agree, like technology exists for a reason, um, and it's not like 1850 anymore. Yeah, and also I write letters.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and also dating. You know, I've been listening to. I'm kind of obsessed with with just dating and relationships in general. I'm always listening to podcasts. But I think dating is like a muscle. You have to practice at it right. You have to get more comfortable having conversations with people and trying different things out and sharing different things and seeing how you relate to other human beings. So I think, even if that doesn't produce a long-term relationship, you're still getting the benefit of connecting with someone. Maybe it's a friend, maybe it's a long lasting friendship, or just having a conversation with somebody who can relate to you and has experience with chronic illness and disability, so you don't feel so isolated as well. I think is a great benefit.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, I think, yeah, even bad dates teach you some Something. It teaches you what you don't want or you're not interested in, and, yeah, that that is something that, personally, we can get better at is is dating is it in the muscle? Yeah, exactly.

Speaker 6:

And because my dating muscle is atrophied.

Speaker 2:

Yes, but you're dating. Muscle is disabled.

Speaker 3:

Do you guys do any sort of screening? I mean, I know like some apps have gotten crap for people being like serial killers and stuff like that. Like is there any kind of screening or anything? Or it's just any man, every man for himself being a true prime.

Speaker 6:

I was like did ability never better be mentioned in Mexico? But no, so we don't run background tracks, we don't screen. What we do have is a profile verification feature where you can verify your profile and then you know that you know, while you might not be a good person, you're not being catfished. And then and you know, I mean even a background check I have dated some pretty nasty people from who have. They're not criminals. They you know they wouldn't. A background track would never reveal that they are narcissistic.

Speaker 6:

And so there's only so much you can do. We do have a report and block button on every profile. We go through those multiple times a day and remove people. We have a pretty like, a zero tolerance Like if you're rude, you're out and anybody. The major issue we have is bots Like you know, you see them on Instagram with this, like the stupid comments they make those kinds of people. We delete those two. They're a little bit like whack-a-mole, but we delete them and pop up, and so that's our biggest issue. We haven't had any really bad actors. Yeah, we haven't reported yet. Knock on wood.

Speaker 4:

But yeah, it's hard. That's you know. Safety is our top priority and it's a scary thing for anyone who has a social networking app. That's like the one thing you're just like. Please don't let anything bad happen to our users, and so we're doing everything that we can with going through new users who sign up and check, making sure that their profile doesn't seem like it's a bot. It sounds like you're doing exactly what.

Speaker 3:

like I was saying, yeah, obviously, when you have a vulnerable population of any kind, you worry about people taking advantage of people and just going out in there. But having a vetted profile, knowing that the person is who they say they are, I think is what I meant. Not that you needed to like invest anybody, fully right but you know, doing the basics is important to know that people can't just join with a fake profile. You know If you're meeting in the wild.

Speaker 6:

I've also been introduced to some people through mutual friends and no one realized how terrible he was until we started dating. So you literally can't.

Speaker 6:

You're right Like it's a reality Like, unless you have known this person for 20 years, like you probably don't really know someone until you know them. Yeah, so we have a safety tutorial at onboarding. We want people to be educated. You know we can, you know we'll do what we can and we want our users to do everything they can. So, any red flags, we tell them what red flags look out for and, you know, don't immediately take the conversation to Google chat or signal Is that other app? And don't there's any kind of financial discussion Like let us know, Like they're out, because that's the total red flag.

Speaker 2:

So where can people? How do people download the app? How can they learn more about what you're doing? Stay in touch, Follow you guys.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, we're available on Apple and Android, and then we're also available on web app so people can use the uh data ability from their computer or their laptop, and so that's cool At databilityappcom. And we're on all social media platforms on Instagram data ability app and on Tik Tok at datability. And, yeah, we would love to hear from from anyone who has any suggestions or just who wants to talk about dating, because I mean, even though Alexa is not disabled, she has been on terrible dates and I'm single for a reason Exactly.

Speaker 3:

Well, I think you also have a lot of like. I mean even, you know, when you're dating someone who has a different disability than you. I mean having that skill set that you have, which is clearly like caring for your sister, putting on a mask and you're like. All of those things are. You know, people need to learn with each person that they date. As you said, every, even if you have the same diagnosis, you might have different needs and different things that, um, you know, send you into. You know, like escalate I'm using all these words and they all relate to criminal minds. By the way, I started the episode talking about us. Literally, I can't get out of my head. Like words, like escalating.

Speaker 2:

The theme music on the pot.

Speaker 3:

Obviously you know what I think about dating, but everyone else. I did find someone for dating. So, you guys, what you're? Doing is so cool and obviously date ability is how it sounds, date ability and we're going to put links in our show notes and we definitely are, you know, hoping people sign up and I know there's been a lot of great press on you guys already. So you guys are doing great stuff and I hope there's lots of love matches everywhere and including for yourself, yeah, and putting for yourselves when you want to.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, and we wanted to. We usually close out with um, what does embrace it mean to all of you?

Speaker 4:

Oh, now, I would say, embracing it means living as cliche, as soundly, living authentically and not trying to hide or disguise anything, and that's something that I've had to work on. Whether it's like good things, like disclosing good things or bad things, I am one who likes to be really just like neutral and not super excited about something, but also not like really down, like I just like to sugarcoat things and keep it all Everything's fine, um, good, and so I think that it's embracing. It just means, yeah, being me and not being afraid to show my true emotion.

Speaker 6:

For me, I think embracing it means, you know, constantly learning and adapting and going with the flow, which is something that I was not good at. And then the pandemic happened in my life was turned more or less upside down, and it's, you know, we're going into year five and it still doesn't look the way it looks before, um, but I've learned to do things, you know, go to film festivals and go to concerts, and they still do things while we're meeting safe and learning how to adapt, which I was not good at before. I'm a bit of a control freak. I like things my way and realizing like most of life is out of my control, like pretty much everything, and so the only thing I can control is how I react and respond to it, and I have to kind of embrace the circumstances that I'm given and make the best of it.

Speaker 3:

Amen, why is it on your ears? And it's been a pleasure meeting you and I think this is such a cool, wonderful gift that you've given the world. So thank you for that and thank you for being on the show and thank everyone else who's out there listening. And yeah, thank you, estella, just because I'm thanking you. Aw, thank you, lainey. Thank you for not being a serial killer.

Speaker 4:

Thank you so much for all the kind words and for having us on Absolutely.

Speaker 2:

We'll take care of you one, and we'll see you next time. Hey, embracers, thank you so much for listening and supporting the Embrace it podcast Brought to you by Launchpad 516 Studios executive, produced by George Andriopoulos and hosted by Lainey Ispia and Estella Hugo. Our music and sound effects are licensed through Epidemic Sound. Embrace it is hosted with Buzzsprout.

Speaker 3:

Do you have a disability-related topic you'd love for us to feature, or could someone you know be a fabulous guest on our show? We would love to hear your comments and feature them on our next podcast. So leave us a voicemail or you can even send us a text to 631-517-0066.

Speaker 2:

Make sure to subscribe to this feed wherever podcasts are available and leave us a five-star review on Apple Podcasts while you're at it. Follow us at Embrace it underscore podcast on Instagram and make sure to follow all the great podcasts produced by Launchpad 516 Studios.

Speaker 3:

We hope you join us next time and continue to Embrace it.

Creating the Datability Dating App
Living With Invisible Disabilities
Dating With Disabilities
Free Dating App's Success Stories
Digital Era Dating and Relationships