Image via WikipediaI recently read an excellent blog post over at The Queen of Optimism entitled Want to empower? Learn what “People First” means.
When I got done reading this post I said to myself, 'Wow, I didn't know what "People First" meant!" But upon further reflection, I recognized the I have been using this language for at least 18 years ... I just didn't know it was called "People First" language.
Want me to prove it to you?
In my post A Story in 140s: Persons Living with Fibromyalgia (PWFs) I used "People First" language.
Since this realization, I have been thinking about all the ways that I refer to myself in relation to all my chronic illnesses and all the "nicknames" people use to refer to themselves and others living with specific chronic illnesses. I wrote some of these labels and nicknames down:
|You might call me a...||But if I am a person first, you'd say...|
|Cancer survivor||I am a person who had cancer.|
|Diabetic||I am a person who lives with diabetes.|
|HepCat||I am a person who lives with Hepatitis C.|
|Fibromite||I am a person who lives with fibromyalgia.|
|POTSy||I am a person who lives with dysautonomia.|
|Spoonie, ChronicBabe||I am a person who lives with chronic illness.|
So do you see the difference?
The Queen said it best:
"Defining a person primarily by a disorder they have and using dated terminology that is condescending limits a persons’ other characteristics and does the opposite of empower. It puts people in a corner figuratively and some times literally. It implies we are not equal. It’s limiting language. Every person, with or without a disability, is a person first and foremost so call them a person with…”That's right! I am not cancer, diabetes, Hepatitis C, fibromyalgia, dysautonomia or chronic illness. My illnesses are not me.
My illness experiences are just that, experiences. They are not what I think, what I feel and what I do. They are not who I am. I am Selena first, living a life with chronic illness second.
Love them? Hate them? Just don't care? What do you think about illness nicknames? Click the Add Your Comment button and speak you mind...