Love your disability: Glimmer shines bright in a sea of failed dating apps

By Kitty Knowles 8 February 2017

How one family brought about a world first.

When you have a disability, you don’t just face the mental or physical challenges it brings. You also often have to deal with a world that fails to accept you.

For some, this means a life without love.

But Chicago-based entrepreneur Geoffrey Anderson has refused to accept this fate for his brother, who has a moderate cognitive impairment.

Instead he’s spent the last year working to create Glimmer – a new dating and friendship app where people can be open about their conditions.

Standing up to exclusion

“We’re currently at a place where people are feeling very divided, ignored or alienated,” says Anderson. “Glimmer’s message is a positive one of inclusion and understanding, which is something the world needs right now.”

It’s a service that’s particularly needed in the dating industry, where apps fail to support people with disabilities to be honest about their lives.

“The swipe culture, where user’s snap judgements are inherent, makes dating with a disability all the more difficult, because they are afraid that they will not get any matches,” Anderson told The Memo.

“Apps like Tinder or Bumble exclude users with a disability or at least put them at a disadvantage.”

A Glimmer of hope

By contrast, Glimmer is designed to be disability inclusive.

“The goal of the app is to remove the stigma that accompanies having a disability by allowing users to declare their disability up front,” says Anderson.

You don’t however, have to have a disability to use Glimmer, says Anderson: “The app is for everyone, and the hope is that users from all different backgrounds [will] bridge the gap that can make it so difficult to date with a disability.”

“Nothing would bring us more joy than to discover that relationships and friendships had been started through Glimmer, for my brother and anyone else out there that has all but given up.”

How to use Glimmer

To use Glimmer, download it for free, select your disability (if you have one),  and choose whether you are looking for friendship or dating. You can then start making meaningful connections.

The biggest benefit of Glimmer is that “you are free to be yourself”, says Anderson, but some will also benefit from the ability to search the network for certain types of disability.

“You have the option to meet people that will be able to identify with the struggles you deal with yourself,” he explains.

“We want our users to feel not only accepted, but appreciated; we want them to know that they are unique and beautiful just the way they are; and we want them to see that they are not alone.”

“There’s a whole world of people out there just waiting to meet them.”

The big dream

Glimmer officially launched last month. Over 5,000 people have already downloaded the app, and the Glimmer team is currently fielding several proposals from investors.

Anderson hopes to soon hit 10,000 users, and is also already working on making to app more inclusive of blind users.

“I hope that the future of dating for people with disabilities will improve and this is just one step towards that,” adds Anderson.

“Everyone deserves to find happiness in their life and the greatest source for happiness is love.”

Glimmer was developed in partnership with