I am Australian, but that doesn’t mean I think it’s okay to discriminate against people from other countries.
I am a woman, but that doesn’t mean that I think it is okay to be sexist to men.
I am of no particular faith, but that doesn’t mean that I go around discriminating against people who are.
I am a mother, but that doesn’t mean I think it’s okay to be nasty to women who are not.
I am a straight woman, but that doesn’t mean I discriminate against anyone who is of a different sexual orientation.
I have type 1 diabetes, but that doesn’t mean I stigmatise those with type 2 diabetes.
So when I saw this initiative from JDRF, I immediately ‘blue-ified’ a photo and stuck in on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram. Because it’s true. T1D DOES look like me.
And then I was kinda baffled at the storm that started brewing because this campaign was considered to be dividing the community.
I had to stop and think about that for a moment. As someone who is rather vocal about how destructive the ‘type wars’ can be, I wondered if this campaign was also contributing to the ‘us and them’ rhetoric.
But I really, really struggled to understand why there was the angst.
There are differences between the diverse types of diabetes. But that absolutely does not mean one is better or worse than the other. It doesn’t mean that one is more serious than the other. It doesn’t mean that one is more deserving of sympathy, or research funds, or attention.
Diabetes awareness is important for us all. And this campaign is brilliant in showing that type 1 diabetes doesn’t have a ‘look’ or a poster child. In fact, it shows that type 1 diabetes is not all about children, which is often how it seems. It presents the diversity of the community and it shows that assuming everyone is the same is a mistake.
T1D looks like me. And like 118,000 other people around Australia and a hell of a lot more around the world.