Albinism: Long Standing Misconceptions and Prejudices finds a Platform in Australia

Albinism has been a soar subject in many cultures. People with Albinism face social stigma, discriminations and sometimes ostracization from society. Where such an uninformed and defunct thought may still be prevalent in some countries, having them control the judgment of thousands that live in the modern knowledge stung world is shocking. Most of the prejudices however arise out of insufficient understanding of what Albinism is, hence mass education in this area is a necessity.  Australia is transforming, with individuals and groups standing up for such sensitive causes that affect many.

An estimated one in 17,000 Australians have albinism and Elizabeth Beales, who was diagnosed with this condition at age 40, is fighting to get the facts and break conventional understanding out in the open, saying that people with the hereditary condition could not live a normal life.

Being different doesn’t always have to be bad, is the age-old norm we repeat but don’t practice. Albinism occurs across ethnicities of the world, and is a hereditary condition  where people are born with pale hair and skin due to a lack of melanin, and can suffer significant vision impairment.

“It’s so striking … people can see there’s an obvious difference, but they’re not educated what the actual condition is all about.” Said Ms. Beales in an interview. Ms Beales is now the president of the Albinism Fellowship of Australia, which will host a national conference in Adelaide this weekend.

There is something like being too white, for people who have albinism and this condition could put them in serious danger in some countries. Removed from society and looked down upon, some cultures have fatal implications for people with albinism. In some regions of Africa, people with albinism are killed and their body parts are used in creating potions.

People like Elizabeth Beales are at the frontline to bring the issue of its ignorance on the global map. The conference would be the perfect platform for people to come together and learn. She said it would also be helpful for parents of children living with albinism to learn more about it.

“One of the tricky things is we just burn, we don’t tan so the risk of skin cancer is quite high,” she said. Many discussions surrounding the condition will drive the conference. The biennial Australian National Albinism Conference will be held in Adelaide from August 23-25 with delegates and speakers from Australia, New Zealand and the US.