Language and Diabetes

Of all the “hot-button” words around diabetes, the one that rubs me the wrong way is “diabetic,” but only in certain contexts.

I don’t mind when it describes a thing – diabetic neuropathy, diabetic glucometer, diabetic low – no problem. But diabetic patient. There’s an eclipsing of the person there that makes me a little twitchy.

But when it becomes a full-on noun, as with the diabetic who lives on my street? That’s when I clear my throat and shift uncomfortably in my seat. To me it’s reductive – the disease is defining the person. And there’s a connotation of permanence that I find dispiriting. At least “a person who has diabetes” might some day get rid of it…

This post was written for Diabetes Blog Week.
The Prompt:
Many advocate for the importance of using non-stigmatizing, inclusive and non-judgmental language when speaking about or to people with diabetes. Some don’t care, others care passionately. Where do you stand?

For more perspectives on this topic, click here.

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