A disability pretender is subculture term meaning a person who behaves as if he or she were disabled. It may be classified as a type of factitious disorder or as a medical fetishism.
One theory is that pretenders may be the "missing link" between devotees and wannabes, demonstrating an assumed continuum between those merely attracted to people with disabilities and those who actively wish to become disabled. Many wannabes use pretending as a way to appease the intense emotional pain related to having body integrity identity disorder.
Pretending takes a variety of forms. Some chatroom users on internet sites catering to devotees have complained that chat counterparts they assumed were female were revealed as male devotees. This form of pretending (where a devotee derives pleasure by pretending to be a disabled woman) may indicate a very broad predisposition to pretending among devotees.
Pretending includes dressing and acting in ways typical of disabled people, including making use of aids (Walking sticks, crutches, wheelchairs, mobility scooters, white canes, etc. Pretending may also take the form of a devotee persuading his or her sexual partner to play the role of a disabled person. Pretending may be practiced in private, in intimacy, or in public, and may occupy surprisingly long periods. In the latter case, some pretenders hope that the disability may become permanent, such as through tissue necrosis caused by constricted blood supply.