Let’s Get Real is
A community of people with developmental disabilities who meet on a monthly basis to connect with potential partners, explore romantic relationships, and have fun!
Let’s Get Real aims to advocate for more opportunities and greater autonomy of people with developmental disabilities in expressing and pursuing their sexual aspirations.
- Facilitating opportunities for people with developmental disabilities to practice social and communication skills essential to friendship and dating.
- Providing a peer-to-peer platform in which people with developmental disabilities can discuss and explore relationship, sex, and sexuality topics.
- Hosting social events in which people with developmental disabilities can meet their potential partner.
- Implementing collaborative practice to create leadership opportunities for participants to plan and facilitate Let’s Get Real events.
- Sustaining the group within the community by building partnerships with sexual health initiatives and community groups.
Jason came to his first community connecting meeting with his dad and nodded along when his dad said that he needed to find “more people to play basketball with”. The next day, at a 1-on-1 meeting with his Community Connector, when asked if he felt close to his friends, Jason smiled shyly: “My friends? We hang out, but I can’t relate to them. They all have girlfriends and talk about them all the time. I don’t know what to say. I want to have a girlfriend too.” Jason was invited to join Let’s Get Real, and although he had been invited to a variety of other groups and activities, he was most motivated to attend Let’s Get Real event. Jason talked to many new friends that night. Particularly, he made a connection with one of the members, and they left the event together. The following day, he excitedly called his connector “I just want you to know I have a girlfriend now, we decided yesterday!”
Brad who, after politely listening to his connector’s excited pitch about community connecting, responded, “Great, but can you help me find a girlfriend?” Brad just learned from a support worker that romantic experimentation was within his realm of potential experience. He explained, “I didn’t know that disability people could date, but she told me we can,” After hearing his connector’s even more excited pitch about Let’s Get Real, Brad marked the next Let’s Get Real event in his calendar.
Jessica is a BCC alumnus who had gone through community connecting a year ago. Jessica was not looking for a relationship because she recently met someone through Meetup, a social networking platform. Attending Let’s Get Real, she was more curious about relationship maintenance, specially gender roles in dating norms. She asked a lot of questions about expectations in the dating world: “Men don’t have to pay all the time right? When is the appropriate time to offer to pay for my own meal?” or “How and when do I tell men I just want to be friends with them?”
Since then, Jason has broken up with his girlfriend many times but they always make up just in time to come to Let’s Get Real events together. Brad hasn’t found his partner yet but he hasn’t given up looking. Jessica just had a one year anniversary with her partner and is now interested in supporting Let’s Get Real with planning and facilitating.
At Let’s Get Real, not everyone is looking for the same thing. The strings that hold our community together are the essence of our stories and the belief that for all, love can be real.
Our events are usually on Wednesday every month from 4-7pm.
They are a mix of
- Experiential dating exercises
- Facilitated discussions
- And food!
All of our events are free, casual and fun. We strive to create a safe space free of judgement in which all voices are honored with respect and confidentiality. We value inclusion, accessibility and diversity in our work together.
For more information, please email LGR@buildingcaringcommunities.cato join our email list and get updated about our upcoming events.