#LanguageMatters – #LanguageEvolves

I’ve been following a conversation on Twitter for the last few days. Mostly, I’ve been following it because I was tagged in the original post, along with a few others from the Diabetes Online Community. The original post covered a familiar theme, and it went something like this:
Do you prefer to be called a “Person With Diabetes” or “Diabetic”?
There were a ton of responses, and there still are, even today. But not from me.

Yes, I prefer the term Person with Diabetes. If you prefer something else, okay with me. If you want to talk with me about that one-on-one for a while, that’s fine too.

But I am so over discussing the PWD versus diabetic thing. I also can’t believe I just said I am so over something.

Some version of this same question comes up on my Twitter and Facebook feeds at least once per month, sometimes more. It’s been asked and answered and gone through so many times that further discussion on the topic just seems like white noise to me.

Can we all agree that the preference on this subject lies with the actual person with diabetes? And that the health care professional, co-worker, or family member should respect that person’s preference? Good… now, let’s move on.

Can we all agree that #LanguageMatters, but also that #LanguageEvolves? Or at least that it should, anyway?

What’s the next big thing to discuss? What’s really important to you right now? What kind of language should we be using to help each other? Who remains to be educated about patient-focused language in health care?

If you’re newly diagnosed, and a chronic condition isn’t something you’ve had to get a grip on yet, I get it. In that case, it’s okay to ask about preferences, and about why the words we all use can make such a difference.

For me, however, the discussion of language has moved far beyond that. I can see that language in diabetes, and in health care in general, will continue to have a big impact on our lives. It must. Let’s move the discussion forward, because there is so much more to define. There are so many more to educate.

Now that we all agree that #LanguageMatters— let’s start to discuss how to evolve our conversations to cover more than just the descriptions of ourselves.

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  • Rick Phillips  On January 8, 2019 at 9:53 pm

    Yeah, I could care less. I have been diabetic for 44 years, and I have been a Person With Diabetes for ten years. Never mind that these overlap. When addressing a Person With Diabetics I sometimes forget that they are not diabetic.

    Here is the thing, I am less worried about any of this than many and maybe most. But we are all worried about somethings, insulin prices, CGM’s for seniors and a cure.

    If being a PWD gets us closer to those outcomes, I am in. If being a diabetic keeps us from getting there, then tell me and I will stop saying it. If calling me a dumb ass with 15 toes, gets us to a cure, then please call me that. I am much less concerned about what we are called and much more concerned about those three things.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Ivan  On January 9, 2019 at 8:10 pm

    Does not matter to me.


  • Blood Sugar Trampoline  On January 13, 2019 at 6:08 am

    Well said Stephen! I would add that I’m also done with the Let’s change the name of type 1 diabetes discussion too. Let’s move on!

    Liked by 1 person

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