Sign Me Up

Sign Me Up

There are approximately 7.5 billion people in the world (July 2017), of those it is estimated that 2.5 million people have multiple sclerosis which is only 0.03% of the world population. I already feel quite rare but there is an additional level of rare when I think about how many people with MS also belong to the LGBT+ community. There cannot be many of us! Therefore, I was really pleased to see the research Periklis was conducting and I did not hesitate to sign myself up.

The project used photographs to explore two identities – one as a person with MS and one as an LGBT+ person – individually and the inevitable cross over. I used my phone camera to capture a range of experiences and then I was interviewed by Periklis to discuss the photos.

I took about ten photos which I sent to Periklis and then chose my favourites from them. I really enjoyed taking part in this project and it made me realise how inseparable those two identities are and how I sometimes try to separate them out.

This is the photo I took to symbolise the fail that was my clinic appointment. I had waited a year for the appointment and had a range of things to discuss but the tone of the consultation changed once I introduced my partner – who was then ignored throughout. The appointment had potential, like this plant, but it did not flourish, like this plant! I now avoid taking my partner into the appointment with me. I am okay that people assume she is my friend but I am not okay with negative reactions when I say she is actually my partner. The appointments feel so precious that I do not want anything to jeopardize them – sexuality should not be an issue and I think more needs to be done to highlight this amongst healthcare professionals.

Liz Sheils