I remember years ago going to a pool in my hometown of Virginia. I was having a very bad flare, which was all the time. After being there for about 10 minutes, I was ask not to get in the pool anymore and if I wanted to stay I had to cover up. I felt embarrassed, humiliated and felt I was being discriminated against; not because of the color of my skin, but because of the way my skin looked. I asked to speak to a supervisor who said that people felt uncomfortable and they might catch what I have, he stated that they can decide what is best for there establishment. I felt like I was being singled out, but left in shame.

How I Was Marked by Psoriasis and Forced to Get out of the Pool

For the next 40 years, this one episode haunted me. I avoided pools and beaches as much as possible. I did continue to go, but I was always over-dressed. I even remember going to the beach one year and wearing panty hole to cover up my lesions. Can you imagine what a sight this was? And let’s not talk about the sand that got under the panty hose? It was very uncomfortable.

I have learned over the years to be my own best advocate. I knew I didn’t want to be discriminated against because of something I couldn’t control. I needed to learn about my legal rights and what to do if I experience any type of discrimination.

To this day, I still get stares and remarks at pools, over the years I have been an active advocate for psoriasis. If I hear someone say something nasty or make a rude remark, I do make it my business to educate them about the disease. I let them know in a very kind way that I am not contagious. I tell them, I know I don’t look very pleasing to the eyes, but please be sensitive when you speak to others; you don’t know how you are making me feel or making a young child feel. Saying nasty things to people can scar them for life. I explain that I will speak up and out about this disease. I also let them know there are organizations out there who will fight for us, such as Psoriasis Network Support, https://powerbeyondpsoriasis.com/  if they feel they are being discriminated against.