I Told a Man About My Disability. He Responded, 'But You're Beautiful!'
Last Friday, I attended a die-in at my Senator Roy Blunt’s Kansas City office. My headstone read “Beppy Huls, 1985-2017. Died of a treatable pre-existing condition.” I got to get up on the megaphone and tell my story, and that was exciting.
I stood with my friends, listening to other people’s stories about their health and what would happen to them if the AHCA were to pass. A confused-looking and obviously drunk man appeared in the crowd, seemingly out of nowhere. He looked around at the signs, and then at me. “Trumpcare kills? I thought that was Obamacare.” My friends and I explained to him what the ACA has done for people. He looked so surprised. “I’d never heard any of that before!” When I told him my own life could be at risk with the passing of this bill, he said something that perfectly underscores the dismissal of people with invisible disabilities:
“But you’re beautiful! What’s wrong with you?”
I blushed and said my disability was nearly invisible, but not quite, and showed him my VNS and the wire that goes up through my neck to my brain. “Without insurance,” I said, “it would have been $89,000.” His jaw dropped.
It’s people like this who we have to talk to – to, as they say, get them woke. I’m hoping I changed a mind today. Even if he’s not registered to vote, hopefully he’ll pass it on. Start dialogues whenever you can. Cite sources. You might be surprised at the things people just simply don’t know.
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Thinkstock photo via monkeybusinessimages.