In honor of Black History Month, TJWW invites you to read the compelling story of our new alliance partner, Dalia Kinsey, (name/no pronouns) a queer, non-binary Registered Dietician, author, and speaker. Dalia’s lived experiences are a reminder that much of Black history is also Black current events. Dalia’s story is a call to action to continue the work of dismantling systemic injustice.
I entered the nutrition program at Georgia State University because I wanted to help underserved people improve their health outcomes and reduce their risk through dietary change and weight management.
When I started my program, I was young and thin.
While I bristled at the racial micro-aggressions I had to deal with daily, I never thought to question the fat-phobia that was evident throughout my studies.
In my mid-twenties, while still in the program, I became severely ill. My hair fell out in clumps. I experienced excessive sweating, hand tremors so severe that I couldn’t hold a pen, and fatigue that made me fall asleep behind the wheel—even after ten or more hours of sleep.
Fighting through the process of finding out the cause of these symptoms taught me unforgettable lessons. I learned, first hand, how dangerously inadequate healthcare systems can be when it comes to supporting folks of color who are experiencing a medical crisis.
Visit after visit, physicians blamed my steadily increasing weight for my symptoms. They got stuck on my skin color and body size and repeatedly failed to offer me individualized treatment. After years of effort, I was eventually diagnosed with Grave’s Disease, a chronic autoimmune condition. While my weight had nothing to do with my symptoms, weight bias and racist assumptions about my ability to care for myself almost cost me my life.
Fatphobia, racism, homophobia, transphobia, and misogyny have real life consequences for our health.
Once I entered remission, the parting advice I received from the diagnosing physician was to “avoid stress” so that I could stay in remission.
When George Floyd was murdered, and I found myself simultaneously living through the second wave of the Civil Rights Movement and a global pandemic, I was overwhelmed by anxiety and heartbreak.
I looked everywhere for information to help me navigate dealing with chronic stress caused by systemic injustice. Every resource I found addressed only temporary stressful events, like a move, a job change, or the end of a relationship – events that anyone can experience.
I couldn’t find a single resource that addressed how to manage the relentless stress that Black, AFAB (assigned female at birth), queer folks like myself experience because of racism, homophobia, transphobia, and misogyny.
The process of developing my own framework for protective self-care led me to create the insights and techniques I now share through my one-on-one practice, my keynotes and workshops, and my book, Decolonizing Wellness: A QTBIPOC-Centered Guide to Escape the Diet Trap, Heal Your Self-Image, and Achieve Body Liberation.
Regarding my work with individuals, I welcome everyone into my practice and I offer people with marginalized identities care that is tailored to our unique lived experiences; care that is powerful enough to support our healing—because this is the care we need and deserve.
You can learn more about Dalia’s work and contact Dalia at https://www.daliakinsey.com/.