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HAWMC Day 24: Why I Call Myself a Crohnie

I'm going a little off script today. The official prompt is to name a mascot, and I think we all know that I would just spend another post talking about Myrtle. (Because she's pretty much my mascot already.) I've done that a lot recently, though, and what I have to say today is something new. So, strap in.

After writing my Gloria Steinem post yesterday, I've been thinking even more about the importance of names. I've also been thinking about one specific name that we in the Crohn's community often use to describe ourselves. 


Honestly, when I first heard it, I wasn't crazy about it. I was not comfortable labeling myself that way. This probably had a lot to do with the fact that I was simply not comfortable with my disease and my body in general.

Also, I thought it was a little cutesy.

Eventually, though, I grew more and more okay with it. Now I think it's kind of brilliant, if still a little cutesy for my taste. Here's why. I love that I can say, "I am a Crohnie" rather than, "I have Crohn's" or, "I'm living with Crohn's." The difference might seem frivolous, but it matters. Let me try to explain why.

I went to the Scholar & Feminist Conference at the Barnard College Center for Research on Women in 2011 (the one where Alice Sheppard spoke). That year, the conference happened to focus on disability and dance. Perfect, right? Anyway, during the opening panel, there was a lot of talk about the language used in reference to disabled bodies. One of the points that came up was whether to use "disabled people" rather than "people with disabilities." The panelists were largely in agreement that "disabled people" was preferable because it implies an identity. "I am disabled" says that the disability is part of who I am, whereas, "I am a person with a disability" separates the disability from my personhood. In reality, my disability shapes who I am, and "disabled person" acknowledges that. "Person with a disability" seems to blatantly deny it. 

I feel the same way with the word crohnie. The issue with this being, of course, that if you walked up to a random person on the street and told them you were a crohnie, they would more than likely have no idea what you were talking about. Not sure what the solution is for this, other than to just keep using the word.


  1. i also like it because it's kind of old timey. Like you might tip your hat at another chronie along the street.

    and all the agency stuff too.

  2. Hey, nice site you have here! Keep up the excellent work!

    Disability Conference


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