“I am not my disease… I am like you… I am affected by leprosy...Don’t call me a “leper!”
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“I can’t disclose my pain to anyone... call us by our names, not our disease!…” (A, 40, Telangana)
Imagine how you would feel if a curable disease could leave you suffering from life-changing disabilities, facing extreme isolation and rejection by those closest to you.
Imagine that you are one of 7 million people living with this disease, scared to seek help because of extreme prejudice and discrimination.
Imagine that the very name of your condition is used by society, the media and even world leaders as a way to express a terrible outcome or situation.
Imagine that you are defined by a hurtful word that labels you as a disease, not as a person.
This disease is not imaginary… It is Leprosy.
The situation above is all too real for many people affected by leprosy.
"When we hear (the word) or are called a leper the word is brutalising... Nobody should be defined by their disease….” (R, 42, Bihar)
Using the word” leper” is dehumanising, disrespectful and wrong. Nobody should ever be defined by their disease or by their appearance due to disability.
Using expressions and metaphors such as “I would rather have leprosy than...” or “... is worse than or similar to leprosy”, have no place in 2019, as they reinforce prejudice and encourage discrimination.
This must stop…Now!
People affected by leprosy can not only contribute but excel given the opportunity. They can be creators, mentors, businesspeople or community leaders.
We call on those who would use leprosy as a negative to instead show the positives of the disease and share the facts. That leprosy IS curable, that it is not a worst case scenario and that people affected are valuable members of our society.
By signing and sharing this petition you are pledging not to use the word leper or leprosy as a metaphor for a terrible outcome or situation.
Thank You For Your Support. We will beat leprosy…Together!
Want to know more about leprosy or our work?
Visit us at www.lepra.org.uk
Today: Elmar is counting on you
Elmar Sostinto needs your help with “António Guterres: “I am not my disease… I am like you… I am affected by leprosy...Don’t call me a “leper!””. Join Elmar and 748 supporters today.