The March issue of BENT included a BENT/Disgaytalk Forum titled Admirers: Devotees, Pretenders, Wannabees, and . . . Race. We present the unedited response below without comment.


Hello, First let me state that I am neither gay neither disabled. I am what one calls an "amputee devotee", and also the editor of the OverGround website, which you might have heard of. I have read the recent article about admirers in Bent which I found very interesting and enlightening in many aspects.

There is one element that I wanted to say though, because this is often the source of an understandable confusion: amputee devotees are not amputation fetishists. Fetishists, as it is correctly stated in the article, is someone who is sexualy, and sexualy only, attracted to an inanimate object (prosthesis, braces, wheelchair,...) or part of the body objectified (stump, polio legs,...), while devotees are sexualy, but not only, attracted to a person with a disability, because the fact that the person is disabled makes him or her extra-special.

Devotees are not interested in having sex with an object but want to share their life with someone who is disabled. There are, of course, amputation (and other disability) fetishists, and I wont deny that, but they are not devotees. Also, I will not say that the stump is of zero interest to an amputee devotee, but that would be no less and no more than any other part of the body that is deemed erotic when sex is at the menu. While for the amputation fetishist, the stump is the only focus in a sexual relationship, and the person to whom it belongs is of little interest.

Therefor, I understand that amputees are quite reluctant to engage in a relationship with a devotee, thinking that he might be a fetishist. This confusion is to my opinion the source of most misunderstandings between people with disabilities and devotees. On last thing: devotees are rarely pretenders; wannabes are often pretenders; some devotees are wannabes but not often and many wannabes are not devotees.

This being said, I will agree with one who says that devotees, wannabes and pretenders are all variants of the same syndrome: "Body Integrity Identity Disorder", which in turn, could be a form of "Gender Identity Disorder", although this has never been corroborated by professionals (so far). See for more information.

Paul, Editor



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BENT: A Journal of CripGay Voices/May 2004