Anaphylaxis and Asthma are serious conditions, but I have had a smoother experience than most when it comes to inclusion. Although I take them with me everywhere, I go. Most of the time, they don’t become an issue. Avoiding risk is second nature, and I barely have to think about it.
I have felt excluded many times in my life, however. I am allergic to nuts and eggs, and there have been times when someone has started eating nuts a few rows in front of me in a lecture hall. They were made aware of the severity of my allergies more than once. Similar things happened in school, which made me feel that people valued their food more than my presence in that space. To simply stay safe, I had to exclude myself from those situations.
Food is often about the social interactions you have while eating it, as much as the meal itself. For me, inclusion is when my friends and those around me ask me what restaurant I can eat in, or what food I can’t be around without making a big thing out of it. It’s about my needs being considered as much as anyone else’s, and it is a positive thing rather than a sacrifice.
– Rachel Murphy, Ability co_op PRO