Below the Belt Premiere: Advocacy for Endo

Earlier this month, my partner and I went to the London premiere of Below the Belt, the second film from the director of Endo What? Shannon Cohn, and produced by Hillary Clinton.

Highlighting the stories of those with endo

This film approaches endometriosis as a social justice issue, lifting the veil on all of the injustices patients face when dealing with endo, including menstrual stigma, gender, racial bias, misinformed doctors, and the pervasive nature of profit-driven healthcare.

The film was a triumph for all those involved and a real tearjerker, with powerful stories of people with endo, each on their journey to surgery and beyond.

A couple of things, in particular, hit me while watching the film, which I thought would be relevant to bring to this article. Also, I’m not going to mention anything in particular in the film.

If you want to see it, you can buy tickets to the virtual premiere, and it will most likely get a broader release to a streaming service or something in the future.

A caregiver's important role

First, I was surprised when the film explained what endometriosis was. I have been with my partner for nine years, and she’s had endometriosis the whole time.

I’ve also edited her podcast about endometriosis for six years and written for different websites for a similar amount of time. So, it surprised me when the film's opening goes back to explaining what endo is – but why wouldn’t it?! It was a great reminder that not everyone is as clued in as us on the inside and that awareness is still far from adequate.

Secondly, it was the inclusion of loved ones in everyone’s story. I’m the loved one of someone with endometriosis.

It was great seeing how everyone in this story overcame the endo challenges and went through the journey with a partner or loved one. It highlighted the critical role we as supporters play and made me feel part of a sub-community within the community of endo warriors.

Realizing that endo is still far from being a widely known disease and seeing how important supporters are, this film cemented something I have written about regularly: the importance of acting as advocates for our partners and loved ones.

Endometriosis care isn’t improving until it is more visible and better funded. That isn’t going to happen without advocacy and support from those who know about it.

People with endo can and do advocate for themselves, but their loved ones also play an important role in spreading information, dispelling myths about endo, and forcing the topic to the forefront of the medical conversation.

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