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Should Ostomates be Banned from Swimming in Public Pools? Some Say They Should.

Unsanitary and Offensive

Today a lot of talk has been going on about an article being shared in the IBD community in regards to discrimination against ostomates who swim in public swimming pools. There are people out there that want to ban people who have ostomies from swimming in semi public and public swimming pools based on the argument that an ostomy in the pool would be unsanitary and offensive.

Ohhh! You mean like how it’s unsanitary and offensive for black people to drink out of the white people fountains? Good idea, the world could use some more discrimination that stems from fear and a lack of awareness. 

GIF from Mean Girls with girl on the phone giving a shocked facial expression

Who Else Should We Ban from Swimming?

Unsanitary? Because you’re worried stool is going to leak into the pool? Well then, let’s not stop with ostomates. We should probably ban everyone with IBD because lord knows when they have active intestinal inflammation they’ll probably shit all over everything, those disgusting mother f’ers! We must also ban babies since babies do not yet know how to control their bowels and a diaper, even with the proper cover, is not sanitary. Just to be safe let’s ban people over the age of 65 from swimming because pretty soon they’re gonna start crapping their pants. It could happen any day now and one can never be too careful. 

Comic with a fat man wearing a speedo stands on the outside of the pool looking in at his wife. Text bubble says "When I said shock the pool, I meant with chlorine!"

While we’re at it let’s ban all gay men from pools because they have AIDS. EVERY.SINGLE.ONE.OF.THEM. I mean, obviously! 

Also anyone who has an open cut or any recent injury so we don’t catch any blood born pathogens. 

Anyone who has a cough or a sniffle GTFO of the pool right now for fucks sake! 

I could go on but do you see my point here? This is ridiculous. Of course public swimming pools aren’t the most sanitary places in the world but you swim at your own risk. Trust me that no person with a stoma out there hasn’t checked and double checked their ostomy before getting into a public swimming pool. It usually takes a lot of courage and positive self talk for that person to go swimming in the first place because they are afraid of the judgement they might face from others. 

Ostomies are not unsanitary. Pouches are made to withstand a lot because leaks are something people work hard to avoid and they can lead to a lot of problems. It’s not like people are just wearing a plastic bag around their stoma; these bags are made of quality medical grade material and are tightly sealed in place because it’s important to the people who wear them that they don’t leak. 

What is Offensive?

Now let’s talk about this offensive thing. 

If we are going to ban ostomies from pools because they might offend people then we should ban 99% of the men who wear speedos, 85% of women who wear bikinis, all fat people, all underweight people, people who like Nickleback, the lady who doesn’t shave her legs… because something is going to offend someone. I’m currently not an ostomate but I did have an ostomy for a short time and one day I may have one again. I would hate that the joy of swimming could be taken away from me simply because I had a surgery necessary to improve or save my life. 

Let’s be open to learning, let’s fight fear with education, and let’s treat others with respect and compassion. 

Sara

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