Diabetes representation?

The title says it all. I’ve been T1 for nearly a year (which is almost hard to say honestly, December will be my first full year) despite this, while things have been looking up, I’ve noticed some things. To me, diabetes is just a part of growing up, I don’t exactly believe the future is already decided, but it IS in my DNA to have a high chance of T1, so to me it was only a matter of time, haha. Despite that, I never knew until I lived it how unrepresented diabetes is. Ever since I was 4 I’ve played video games, and I started watching anime when I was 12. In both, there’s little to no representation of diabetes, despite animes tackling very topics in respectful ways. And in video games, there’s basically nothing. The closest thing to it was a mistranslation I’m Yu-Gi-Oh where Yugi’s friends asks him what’s going on and if he “needs his insulin, or something?!”. I really enjoyed seeing it because it’s pretty realistic in my opinion, whenever it comes to T1 insulin is usually what friends will ask about, and they’re not usually wrong. Has anyone seen any representation of diabetes in media? T1 especially has seen cases rising for a while, so it’s odd to not see any representation.

Not that I’ve noticed… actually I’ve seen some diabetics references in movies but they usually get it very wrong.

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The only thing that comes to mind is an episode of The Big Bang Theory " where Penny had an interview and refers to someone at the company as “a lekker who must use an insulin pump.” The interviewer responds use"Hey, I use an insulin pump!" (Yes, Penny was making an assumption about diabetes in general and applying it to Type1 - no need to go down that road here.)
I think I may have seen some minor characters or extra wearing a pump out CGM.
American Girl has a doll wearing what looks like a Minimed insulin pump

The only T1 in the media that i’m aware of are Nick Jonas, Bret Michaels, Halle Berry, Vanessa Williams, Sonia Sotoayor, and the late Mary Tyler Moore. It’s really amazing how few there are in the entertainment world, that are open about it.

There are T1 doctors who are famous such as the leaders of TCOYD Dr. Pettus and Dr. Edelman. They are my inspiration.

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Here’s a link listing celebrities living with Type1 diabetes. One name I notice is missing is Jean Smart from Designing Women.

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I sort of grew up on South Park. They are rude about basically everything, so it was really no surprise that the diabetic character Scott Malkinson was portrayed negatively. He was shown as somebody who really let his diabetes define and limit him, to the great annoyance of the main characters, and he had some kind of speech impediment, I’m not sure why. I think ultimately it was one of the (few) things the creators came to feel bad about, because they came back to it in season 23 and introduced another diabetic character who was really well-adjusted and essentially a model character (Sophie) standing in contrast to him.

I’ve noticed it too. But then when I think about it- how often are people in wheel chairs, blind, deaf, learning disabilities, Down syndrome, prosthetics, or cancer portrayed in movies/media? Not often. If they are, usually the whole movie/series revolves around them (like Wonder, Out of My Mind, Eldeafo, Life by Ella). Unless it’s something big and dramatic (like a super high/low BG) diabetes is a pretty invisible disease. People with T1D live normal lives. It’s not really a plot point since in all honesty it’s a pretty mundane thing if you’re looking in from the outside- math, pokes, beeps, snacks, doctors appointments, bad sleep, over and over again. To us it’s a major part of our lives because we live with it- but other people don’t and it’s not a big thing to them.
But it would be nice to see more medical devices like cgms or pumps or wheel chairs or prosthetic limbs in the backgrounds of films or books.


There isn’t much - Red Panda had a t1d character, and there are a lot of athletes gaining attn, which is cool. I’ve had it since 1986, so Bret Michaels and Mary Tyler Moore were my only role models…lol…now, with a 13 yo son, I think Nick Jonas does a nice job just being himself, and talking about t1d when her can.
It would be nice to see a little more in the media…and esp proper representation of T1D and not blending it with T2D.

The Baby Sitters Club book series does a pretty decent job portraying it with one of the main characters - Stacy - and these books are from the 90’s! The recently released an updated series on Netflix and it’s brought up in a few episodes there too!

Turning Red - 2 kids in the main character’s school were wearing CGM’s and/or pumps.

Purple Hearts - main character has type 1 and struggles to afford her medical supplies while starting up her career as a musician. Haven’t seen it yet but read good things about it.

I don’t have any good thoughts or things to say about Halle Berry. She has stated that she has “cured herself” from her T1D through diet and exercise. She was either a T2 or never a T1 in my opinion.


True about Halle Berry. I am not a fan. I’m not sure why she made the claim about reversing her T1. I suspect she didn’t realize what she was saying. I don’t find her credible.

In the movie Greenland (2020), with Gerard Butler and Morena Baccarin, the main kid has T1D. It’s touched on a few times throughout the movie.

I remembered another one. In the walking dead series, [spoilers ahead] the teen sister in law of Dwight (bad guy lieutenant turned good guy) had type 1 diabetes and getting her insulin was a major issue for the family that ultimately led to them stealing the insulin stockpile and fleeing instead of accepting the offer for the niece to be one of Negan’s (bad guy leader, eventually turned good guy) wives for unrestricted access to the insulin.[/spoilers]

It did make me think of extra challenges I’d have to survive in any global catastrophe that disrupted the supply. How long existing supplies would last before they went bad. Stuff like that.