The struggles of people with diabetes have increased in visibility in recent years.
This has a lot do to with people with diabetes being vocal and making ourselves seen. But it has much more to do with people who don’t have diabetes speaking up for us as well. You see, we are a minority in the world as a whole. This makes our needs and struggles easy to overlook if we are the only ones speaking up. Even if we shout we are like Who’s on Horton’s clover, easy to deny, much less ignore.
As people with diabetes are we aware and using our voices to speak out for the minority populations within our diabetes community? There is a lot of change and awareness that needs to come about in diabetes as well. These populations include people of color, English second Language families, Those living with blindness, those living with hearing impairment, members of the LGBTQIA+ population, amputees and many more. Studies are already showing that these persons are less likely to have access to clinical care, medications and technologies. This is an unacceptable divide that harms us all. We are too few in number to have ANY of our community sidelined.
So what can YOU do to speak up for the rights of others in our diabetes community?
- Ask your clinicians what they are doing to further reach and support these populations in their practice. Are they using inclusive language in forms, signage and internet pages and resources? Raising this awareness tells our clinicians that we expect them to grow in their equity of care.
- Find a population to connect with. Expanding our personal diversity through connecting in learning, friendship, and activism can broaden our perceptions and help us see where we can be of support. Maybe you’ve always wondered about a culture, have had similar personal struggles as a group, or have a personal connection. Building bridges helps make our world stronger!
- Be aware of when things are one-sided. Being aware of representation and privilege are central to building equity. Being aware of when people groups are not represented in areas like marketing, speaker panels and events is the first step. Are resources accessible to persons who live with blindness or hearing impairment? This is called global design.
- Follow up when you see inequity. Speak up when you see people underrepresented. Let companies know that you notice their lack of representation. Do you notice how someone with different physical abilities might struggle in a space or with diabetes technology? If you see someone treated less fairly in the community speak up for them and let them know they are seen and supported.
How are you expanding your reach as a person with diabetes to ensure all our voices are heard?