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#MEAction recognizes and celebrates Pride Month! As a community that welcomes and encompasses all, this Pride Month, we asked members of our LGBTQIA+ community to share what Pride means to them and what they have learned from this movement that they bring with them to the ME movement. Here are a few responses:
Kristina Osobka-Stier and Angela E. Stier
"Living with chronic illness is hard. We both suffer from chronic and debilitating illnesses but we make it work. Some days the "in sickness and in health" vows are really tested. I have been fortunate to share my life with the person who makes me calm and brings me peace. She has my back and I have hers. Pride month for us not only reminds us of resilience, strength and being proud of who you are but also reminds us of how those who went before us paved the way to be able to share this life. We never know what tomorrow will bring but, we are blessed to be able to travel this road together."
“Pride has enabled me to gain some of my personhood back from my diagnosis. I found my identity after I was diagnosed and before I did, I felt like my main personal trait was my illness, since it ruled (still does) my life. But after some soul searching during the pandemic, I was able to lean into my queerness. I watched movies and tv shows, read short stories and books, and listened to ALOT of Queen. It gave me hope that there could be more to me than just ME/CFS. This illness can sometimes feel all consuming so to have the feeling of pride is so uplifting. What I’ve learned from it and how I apply it to my ME/CFS is visibility. I’ve become more comfortable being visibility queer and differently abled. I’ve been trying to speak out more about queer and ME/CFS issues on my social media and that has fed my confidence in who I am. “
Jennifer England, #MEAction Board Member
“I have identified internally as queer for most of my life but growing up in the seventies it was easy to believe that I should be quiet and just fit in. My wife began her transition after being severely disabled with ME. Having always had some reason not to transition, facing the disabling illness removed all road blocks. Jayne tells me at that point she had no more excuses, and no reason to fully be herself. It's a weird gift that ME gave us though we’d give back the ME part in a heartbeat!. While watching my partner deteriorate and her body fail her I’ve also gotten to see her blossom as the person she was born to be. Our activism has centered around the environment and issues of justice and equality, but that experience easily translates into advocating for both ME/CFS as well as the transgender community. We know that change is best driven by those who are living the need and are proud to be working with #MEAction to ensure people with ME/CFS have access to care.”
If you are interested in connecting with others with ME in the LGBTQIA+ community, make sure to join #MEAction’s LGBTQ+ Facebook Group!