‘Outsiders has connected me with other people who are as ill as I am, which is a great comfort, as they understand and show concern for me.’ Emma
‘Thanks to Outsiders I have started seeing someone for the first time in my life! It’s a huge learning curve but it’s great to have the peer support from other wonderful, intelligent and sensitive women.’
‘Having allowed me connect with people I wouldn’t have otherwise, I have new friends, new relationships and a much richer life because of Outsiders.’
‘Within just a few short months in Outsiders I was able to meet and begin a relationship with a really lovely person.’
‘Having grown up with a disability, I have always felt that society generally does not view people with disabilities as viable romantic partners.’
‘Outsiders provides an invaluable platform on which those of us who are excluded by society’s attitudes are able to get together with each other. This means that we don’t have to suffer the indignity of continuously being rejected by society in our search to find love.’ Sam
‘Outsiders has helped me come out of my inner shell and be more sociable.’ Jade
‘Outsiders has introduced me to members with different disabilities who I have enjoyed speaking to and getting to know.’ (man with Diabetes)
‘Outsiders has showed me that lots of others are in the same boat.’ Desi
‘Outsiders… the diverse yet most inclusive club were we are liked and learn to like’. Arun
“If this world were an ideal place, we would not have any use for Outsiders; but it isn’t. So, thank GOD we have something which is called Outsiders. I find it twisted that we are living in a world which is far from perfect. Still this imperfect world expects us to be perfect. I think Outsiders should be in every country.” — Lainaus, Finland”
“The London lunch is a real eye opener because of the amazing people who attend — so diverse, complex and honest.” — Steve
“Outsiders has helped me so much. Through my new-found confidence, I now get on with my life in a positive way. Volunteering has helped because I feel that I am achieving something very important. I enjoy organising some social activities and answering the helpline. I am no ‘do gooder’. I work from the heart. I feel I have grown up and am learning all the time and making the most of what Outsiders has to offer. Providing you are willing to get out there, you too can make the most of YOUR life. I’ve been on many dates with men which has taught me a lot — especially how to be happy in my own skin. Now I am in a relationship with a gorgeous guy who I met though Outsiders. Eleni
“For me personally, Outsiders has been totally fulfilling. I can’t think of a moment I have been disappointed. Outsiders has opened so many doors to me, that I often find it hard to understand why it isn’t like that for everybody.” — Eric
“I feel I’ve come on so much since joining Outsiders. Up until I joined about a year ago I only really mixed with people from work, because I didn’t have the confidence to go out on my own. Now I have met and made friends with a huge variety of people.”
“The best club in the world — and it is our pleasure and privilege to have been OUTSIDERS.” — David and Elsie (who met through Outsiders)
“I have made three good friends through Outsiders who have helped me gain confidence as I am very shy. I am moving into my own flat, leaving home for the first time at 31.” — Jenny
“I came to Outsiders with a view to helping out at the luncheons in London and running workshops there (because of my previous experience working in this field). Immediately I was greeted with such warmth and enthusiasm, I knew it was a safe space and a group that I would love to be involved with.
Then life dealt me a few twists and turns. I had previously been in full health but something was changing, eventually I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME).
Two years later, my symptoms mean that I am still unable to work and I most definitely would identify myself as someone with a disability.
It is only now that I think I can fully appreciate Outsiders in all its forms and meanings.
Feeling part of a larger group has made a lot of difference. Reading INSIDE magazine, checking out the website and, above all, realising that being ‘different’ is in some ways more normal than being ‘normal’ has been where I have really gathered strength from Outsiders. It is all too easy to feel isolated when you are suffering from a particular condition. Outsiders helps me feel connected to a wider group.
The campaigning work of Outsiders is — to me — of crucial importance. So many people assume that disability equals no fun, no flirting and no sex. It is very important that these assumptions are challenged and the wider life experience of disabled people is represented.
Outsiders isn’t about sex per se, but it is about being in a pro-sex atmosphere where people are treated as adults and their rights and choices are respected. After all, sexuality is a right not a privilege.
Outsiders not only spreads the word on disability rights, but through the helpline, lending library and workshops it can help members to attain the knowledge and confidence to assert these rights and live the kind of life they, as adults, want to.”
Long live Outsiders! — Victoria
“When I first joined Outsiders, I was depressed, agoraphobic and isolated by a stutter that I thought would always prevent me from making friends, let alone finding a relationship. The club gave me the chance to be more adventurous in a friendly and supportive environment. I now have a job, a partner and a son. My advice to a new member would be twofold: stick at it, and get involved.” — Paul
“We live in a world of commodified physical perfection, so anyone who does not fit into some narrow and superficial view of ‘beauty’ or even ‘attractiveness’ is seen as a non-starter. I feel this is the real down side of global capitalism: the emphasis on the visual, the external, and ultimately the purchasable. As long as the idea can be sold that desirability can be acquired by buying beauty products, slimming aids and plastic surgery, big business can continue to make huge profits and disabled people will continue to feel marginalised. If the idea took hold that these things don’t matter and it’s what you’re like on the inside that counts, we could start a revolution and get us back to a world where the value system was based on something with more integrity than the profit motive” — Jane Gibbin
“I have a social disability: depression, anxiety and often feel trapped. This made it impossible to travel. But, having made it all the way to visit another member, the delightful Ruth, I was inspired to travel to Northampton for the medical for my pension infirmity benefit application. Ruth sadly passed away but I still enjoy my pension. Outsiders has helped me in many other ways. Recently, it has helped me come to terms that I am ‘happily single’ and don’t need a relationship to feel fulfilled and be content. It’s nice to know there’s still one organisation that has not been hi-jacked by the quangos or big business.” — John
“It was surely great to meet you and everyone else there on Saturday. It felt really good just to be accepted.” — Vics
“Outsiders is a widely-spread family of very different, very special people who sometimes join us without hope, but gain hope and hopefully, much, much more.” — Tuppy Owens, founder
“The club’s value lies, for me anyway, in providing an environment where I might resolve some of my doubts over my sexuality and its implications. Where there are people I can trust sufficiently, with with whom, since they acknowledge my sexuality as a matter of course, I can speak frankly and expect from them a response which will be of use. Help. Moreover, it provides an environment that does not humiliate and de-humanise, by flinging around in County Halls and social workers’ files (at least as far as I know) my personal problems. Other organisations dealing with the problems of disabled people and books which serve to highlight the sexual problems may bring awareness, but they often shy away from doing more than raising expectations in what is little more than a clinical vacuum. Thus the clubserves as an over-all enhancement. It is concerned with sex in its significant place beside emotions and sociability – the important thing is it knows it can’t, shouldn’t discourage diminish or try to leave out sex altogether.” — Alan
“I think that Outsiders is an organisation that is doing much to make people aware of the problems faced by people with disabilities.” — Nick Wallis, the young man with Muscular Dystrophy who was featured on TV on Helen House, hiring a sex worker so that he could be sure he would have sex before he died.
“Tuppy, you have done a really good thing by going out of your way to organise a good idea in forming Outsiders. Not a lot of people would do that, since disabled people are discriminated against. It’s such a good thing to see disabled people meeting up together.” — Errol
“God Bless ya Girl, for setting up this organisation that allows folk to be un-alone, to have friends other than the milkman, postman, meals on wheels driver lady, and a daughter in another country that never rings or writes.” — Tony
“The best thing for me about Outsiders was meeting Philip, my partner, a long time ago at one of the lunches. We have always got on very well and love each other very much. It always surprises me that once we were strangers, sitting opposite one another in that restaurant in Shepherd’s Bush, only trying to guess what each other was as a person, and now we’ve been together a long time, and know each other’s ways inside out.
I am quite socially phobic, so I regret I haven’t made that circle of friends I’d hoped to find. But I still carry on the search because I don’t give up. Whatever anyone disabled or disadvantaged can do to improve the quality of their lives, they should try to do. I appreciate that the Outsiders is trying to help us all do that.” — Sally Davey