We can either watch life from the sidelines, or actively participate … Either we let self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy prevent us from realizing our potential, or embrace the fact that when we turn our attention away from ourselves, our potential is limitless.

Christopher Reeve, Actor

We can either continue to collectively stand on the sidelines and debate what is causing autism and if it is an epidemic or we can get on the field and start addressing the real problem – a generation of children with autism. We are not focusing enough on prevention, treatments and support services.

            Jenny McCarthy, Author and actress

You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.

            Shirley Chisholm, First African-American Woman elected to Congress

In many weddings today, the officiant speaks the following words, “Should anyone present know of any reason that this couple should not be joined in holy matrimony, speak now or forever hold your peace.”

The origin of that statement is believed to go back to Medieval times. Communication between areas of a country was often slow and erratic, and record-keeping was anything but organized. This led the Christian church to establish the phrase as a way to give time for any legal issues in the marriage to come to light. Wedding experts have opined that legal issues included a bride or groom who were already married, or the couple was … related. At times, news of the impending wedding was posted publicly for a few weeks to give word time to travel to outlying areas. Saying ‘speak now or forever hold your peace’ during the wedding day was like giving one last chance before this new marriage was legally binding.

In the parlance of modern society, we hear a similar phrase, “Get off the sidelines and get in the game … or quit complaining!”

In the eating disorder community today, people who are defined as “marginalized” have been presented an incredible opportunity. An opportunity to not just get in the game, but to control the rules of the game. But first, we should review who the “marginalized people” are in the realm of eating disorder treatment.

In general, people who define themselves as “marginalized” are anyone other than thin, Anglo girls or women with anorexia nervosa. Foundations, organizations, militant activities and advocates have questioned why girls and women with anorexia are allegedly “centered” by research doctors and treatment centers. One leader of an organization said, “Eating disorder advocates, clinicians, researchers, does it irritate or infuriate you that so much of the attention in the media and research and the public is all about “anorexia? Yeah, me, too.”

That same organization posted the following on social media: “Anorexia nervosa is the rarest of the eating disorders but gets most of the attention: Why? What is the history? How can we change it?”

Another advocate on a social media site posted the following: “We must also be centering and supporting BiPOC, LGBTQ+, fat therapists and professionals. This is not [sic.] space for white, straight and thin folks to jump in.”

With regard to research being conducted on eating disorders, a number of fringe groups and advocates are making a number of demands regarding research. A former ambassador to an organization recently resigned and among other statements, said, “I implore [this organization] to do better – reinstate [a former employee], recommit clearly and publicly to centering the voices, stories, and needs of People of Color, Trans and Non-Binary people, Higher Weight people, and other marginalized populations, and then prove those commitments in your actions, and the allocation of your resources.”

On July 22nd 2020 Trans Folx Fighting Eating Disorders published an open letter to eating disorder treatment centers and other organizations. Amongst the list of demands made in this letter was the following:

“Fund research for and by people with under represented identities in eating disorder research (BIPOC, NBPOC, LGBTQIA+, fat, disabled, neurodiverse, low socioeconomic status, etc).”

Two other advocates issued a joint statement demanding, “Fund research by and about Black and Brown people. Advocate for funding for Black and Brown researchers. End the application of research with a majority white sample population. Require poster presentations to be about marginalized clients.”

That same group continued, “The stereotypes and biases of what an eating disorder looks like (young, thin, white, wealthy, etc) are preventing us from doing the research we need to care for the people who actually comprise the majority of people with eating disorders.”

Still another organization included this statement in its list of demands, “Fund research examining disparities in who receives ED treatment and the efficacy of various treatment methods in under-represented populations. Specifically, we ask that you conduct research examining how EDs manifest in intersex populations, transgender populations, QTBIPOC, and amongst sex workers with investigators being of those identities.”

Today these “marginalized groups” are presented with an incredible opportunity to not just participate in an international research study on eating disorders, but to have their voices amplified in that study by submitting by the thousands, their participation. And it can be done at no cost and from the sanctity of their own homes. The marginalized groups have the chance to “get off the sidelines and get into the game,” safely and conveniently from their own homes.

On October 13, 2020, a research team led by Professor Cynthia Bulik at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders launched the United States participation in the Eating Disorder Genetics Initiative (EDGI).

EDGI is an international research study designed to understand how genes can influence the risk for developing an eating disorder. It is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.

The purpose of EDGI is to learn more about how genes influence risk for bulimia nervosa, binge-eating disorder, and anorexia nervosa. If you have ever had one of these three eating disorders, they invite you to participate by taking their survey. To make this step even easier, this survey can be found here: our survey.

That is all it takes. Click the link. Take the survey. Participate

For those organizations and advocates who market themselves as being the champion for marginalized people, this is your opportunity to lead marginalized people through your actions.

Click. Participate. our survey.

Click. Participate. our survey.

In the meantime, if you would like to read about eating disorders from Black writers, here are some articles and books:

If you would like to support therapy resources for Black girls and women, you may wish to learn about this organization: Therapy Fund for Black Women and Girls

In the meantime,

Click. Participate. our survey.

Click. Participate. our survey.

Participate now … or forever hold your peace.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s