There has been recent news in the gluten free world surrounding a phrase I coin as "celiac bullying." This type of bullying has actually been around for a while now, but just recently has taken a disturbing turn of events.
Now we have the Today Show hosts poking fun and disrespecting those who have food allergies saying that gluten free men are a "turnoff" to them and those who ask what's in their food are picky eaters and not "manly." Also, the Disney Channel aired an episode of Jessie called "Quitting Cold Koala" that featured some not-so-funny gluten free diet jokes that grossly distorted the seriousness of celiac disease and strict gluten free diets. Luckily, with all the hard work of the celiac community and advocates of legitimate gluten free diets, the Disney Channel has pulled that episode off the air. (Come on, Disney, I expected a little bit more from you than this). Besides these two incidents, I'm hearing news of bullying occurring in middle schools and high schools across the country. Bullying includes anything from throwing gluten filled foods at those who eat gluten free diets, purposefully offering children with celiac disease foods with gluten, and even the unwillingness of adults in those schools to offer proper accommodations to these children.
Okay, seriously, what is going on with the world today? This is just plain ridiculous. Either us celiacs are getting way too sensitive or the rest of the population is just getting stupider. I'm going to bank on the latter.
Since my diagnosis, I have fortunately been lucky enough to not have experienced much of this "celiac bullying" that is running rampant nowadays. I believe this lack of bullying is because my current surroundings and community are of academia and those who are in higher education tend to have a greater respect for me and my specialized diet. It also helps that I live in Berkeley- a very friendly place for gfreers!
But in all seriousness, this type of bullying is making me lose faith in humanity. I mean, would you poke fun at diabetes or breast cancer? MS or asthma? No, you wouldn't, because these medical conditions are serious and potentially life threatening.
Well, celiac disease is the same. If left untreated, individuals can suffer for their entire lives and end up with life threatening cancers and other diseases. I don't see anyone laughing now.
Gluten free diets are quickly snowballing into another one of Hollywood's infamous fad diets. Well, let me tell you, it would be absolutely disgusting to see gluten free diets compared to the grapefruit diet. One is essential for those who are diagnosed with celiacs and the other is just one of many failed fad diets followed by the ignorant.
As someone who is diagnosed with celiac disease, and I believe I can speak for T as well, this type of bullying is completely unacceptable and should be stopped immediately. We are talking about influencing the future generation of kids who, if this continues, will think that making fun of kids who can't help their genetics is acceptable and that kids who have celiacs will be forever destined to be ridiculed and brought up in an environment that is not supportive of their needs. It is also scientifically proven that those who have celiac disease tend to have more suicidal thoughts as well and frequently enter into bouts of depression and feelings of low self worth. Think about it. If we let this continue, we may have an even larger issue at hand.
At the end of the day, I'm not trying to point fingers. I fully understand those who are ignorant of celiac disease- hey, I used to be one of them. But, if you don't really know anything about what you're going to talk about, let alone poke fun at, save yourself the embarrassment and just keep your mouth shut.
For those who are being bullied right now or know someone close to you who is, please don't keep silent about it. Tell someone you trust that this is happening- you have a support group out there waiting to help you (including T and myself!!). Keep your head up and stay positive!
Besides, those who bully celiacs now will realize later exactly how idiotic their words and actions were. And if not, don't worry. You can always live with the satisfaction that their stupidity will not go overlooked.
Kris and T are two college students that are both diagnosed with Celiac Disease. The goal of our blog is to provide tips, advice, and information on gluten free dining while on a budget. We will provide resturant reviews, recipes, product reviews, and tips on gluten free eats!
Kris & T Go Gfree offers gfree suggestions and tips for eating out safely based on our current knowledge of restaurant protocol, menu, and naturally gluten free foods. However, we shall not be held accountable for any and all viewers' own actions shall they become ill after trying our recommended selections. Viewers/followers of our blog are responsible for their own actions and thus consequences- in other words, eat at your own risk. Everyone's sensitivity levels are different and you should be well aware before deciding to consume any food items. Thank you.