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Mencap demands apology from OkCupid for ‘inappropriate, offensive and discriminatory’ question

Dating website asks users whether those with low IQs should be allowed to have children

Kayleigh Lewis
Thursday 05 May 2016 13:05 BST
Mencap campaigner Ciara Lawrence has started a petition demanding an apology from OkCupid
Mencap campaigner Ciara Lawrence has started a petition demanding an apology from OkCupid (Mencap)

A charity has called for dating website OkCupid to apologise to those with learning disabilities and remove a “shocking and offensive” question from its site.

When signing up, new users to the website are asked the screening question: “Would the world be a better place if people with low IQs were not allowed to reproduce?”

Mencap, a UK charity which represents those with learning disabilities, says the question is “deeply offensive” and argued that those with learning disabilities can lead a life like everyone else, but often face barriers such as negative public attitudes.

The question posed to users of OkCupid (OkCupid)

Amy Clarke, a spokesperson for the charity, said: “I am very upset that OkCupid could ask a question about whether people with a learning disability should be allowed to have children. This is not ok. It is shocking and offensive.

“By asking the question, they are making it seem like it is ok to say yes which it is not. If they had asked the same question about people of different races or sexuality there would be outrage and it should be the same for people with a learning disability.

Mrs Clarke, who has a learning disability, added: “I am not sure if I want to have children, but I do want to find someone to settle down with.

“I am single and I know dating can be difficult, so it does not help when dating websites ask offensive questions. It makes me worried to use them.”

Meanwhile, Ciara Lawrence, a campaigner for the charity, has started an online petition calling for the dating site to immediately remove the question and apologise.

She said: “As someone with a learning disability who is married and thinking about maybe having children in the future I find this question inappropriate, offensive and discriminatory.”

“It should not matter who you are when you have children just that you will love them and do everything you can to raise them in the right way.

“Since I was diagnosed with a learning disability when I was ten I’ve been told: 'you will never', 'you can’t', 'you won’t'. All negative attitudes. It was hard for me to imagine then that I would ever achieve anything I dreamed of in my life.

“I know how important it is for people with a learning disability to have positive role models in their life, and be encouraged to fulfil our dreams.”

A spokesperson for OkCupid responded to the allegations, saying: Our question system is designed to help potential matches understand the interests and values of other users.

“Questions range from mundane to provocative and they specifically allow you to determine your potential compatibility with someone else and to avoid people whose viewpoints you strongly disagree with.”

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