People can often come across as rude and crass when inquiring about something they don’t understand, even if their questions aren’t asked with any malice or ill-will. Maybe they just want to understand but aren’t the most delicate and skilled at asking things sensibly and without offending anyone.
Which is why it’s important to educate yourself. But you may ask, how do you educate yourself without asking questions. Well, with the Internet and social media, it’s never been easier. Especially with the help of people willing to do it.
Like Shane and Hannah, a couple from Minnesota who are sharing their life together on social media in an attempt to break the stigma around disability and relationships.
Shane and Hannah, who have been dating for nearly three years, are just like any normal couple who joke around, watch movies together, argue about house chores and frequently share cute pictures together to their social media accounts, or post vlogs to their joint YouTube channel Squirmy and Grubs.
The only thing that makes them different, and therefore needs destigmatizing, is the fact that Shane uses a wheelchair to move around due to his muscular atrophy (SMA).
The two got in touch when Hannah contacted him after seeing him on a documentary which The Office‘s Rainn Wilson released. She wrote to tell him that she likes the sense of humor he shows in his book and admitted that she thought he was cute. According to Metro, what struck Shane (and made him want to get to know her) was the fact she never mentioned his disability.
They got to know each other through texting and phone calls, and shortly after, Hannah, who was living and studying in Minnesota, paid him a visit to Pennsylvania. The two hit it off even more during the four days they spent together and decided they wanted to get to try making a long-distance relationship work.
In 2018, Shane moved to Minnesota and the two moved in together, which is when they decided to start uploading videos to YouTube to show the world their life together and how normal it can be.
However, they do have some rough patches, especially from other people. Speaking to Metro, Shane said that a lot of times, people just assume that Hannah is his caregiver.
In another instance, Hannah explained how when the two were in a restaurant together and she went to the bathroom, the waitress wouldn’t give Shane the check until she returned.
Shane has also appeared on the British TV show This Morning, where he explained:
I think there are pretty widespread misconceptions about disability in society. People with disabilities are often seen as less than, so the idea that someone with a disability like me will be given this intelligent, beautiful, able-bodied woman is mind-blowing to some people – and it shouldn’t be.
Instagram | @shaneburcaw
They said that most of the comments come from “a lack of knowledge and experience”, which is why they’ve launched their channel. Shane told the Daily Mail that by “showing people on our YouTube channel the ins and outs of our daily life, we’re giving them that experience and showing them that it’s just as normal and satisfying as any other life.”
Their channel currently has nearly 150,000 subscribers. They explain: “We are Shane and Hannah. We’ve been dating for over two years, and we’ve discovered that people find our relationship to be pretty peculiar. One of us has a severe muscle wasting disease, and uses a wheelchair. The other one of us…doesn’t. Shane’s disability plays a huge role in our relationship, but not in the way that most people expect. Watch us navigate our life together and laugh with us along the way.”