I’m happy to share with you clips from my documentary entitled, “Priority Seating.” In this documentary, I interviewed four women with different autoimmune disorders. The original intention of the documentary was to help raise awareness of autoimmune disease in the female community. I chose the title Priority Seating (named after reserved subway seating for people with disabilities) for two reasons: First, I felt that although these illnesses were affecting women in striking numbers, it did not appear to be a public health priority. Second, people who suffer from autoimmune disorders don’t necessarily look ill. And it is typically difficult for people with invisible disabilities to obtain access to the kind of support system and resources they may need–including priority seating.
By investigating autoimmune disease as a whole rather than treating each condition separately, it was my hope that a collective voice would be formed. During the production of the documentary, that is indeed what happened. Regardless of age, background, or socioeconomic status, all of the women I interviewed seemed to complete one another’s thoughts and sentences, indicating that there are common obstacles and needs among people who suffer from autoimmune and inflammatory disease, and the broader category of invisible illness in general. It was then that I realized this film had to do more than simply report on the issues – I also had to suggest ways that we can better respond to the issues.
In the first clip, you will meet the women I interviewed and listen to them explain their understanding of what autoimmune disease is. In the second clip, the women describe how difficult it was to get a proper diagnosis.
The third clip discusses the financial implications of having a chronic illness, and points out the need for better workplace accommodations and improved access to healthcare insurance and disability assistance. The final clip reveals how the women featured in the film coped with their illness. I hope you find these interviews to be as motivating as I did.
Rent or purchase Priority Seating on Amazon.