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    About Our Cover: 3.21.24

    In this issue, columnist Pau Crego writes how “personal connection can lead to greater empathy, compassion, caring, and even solidarity.” He also believes that vulnerability “is a powerful strategy to challenge assumptions and biases, fight ignorance, and develop bonds.”

    Crego was writing about disclosing being transgender, and also recalled Harvey Milk encouraging cisgender LGBQ people to “come out.” While the cover of this issue of the San Francisco Bay Times features two out LGBTQ individuals—media personality and Bay Times columnist Liam Mayclem and world-renowned Chef Dominique Crenn—the focus is on another meaning of the “coming out” phrase. In this case, it refers to public disclosure of a cancer diagnosis, which can come with risks, but also benefits. Read the first paragraph of this article again, and think of it in this different light. 

    All three of the women profiled in this issue—Chef Crenn, Leslie Sbrocco, and Elle Simone Scott—are high-profile leaders in the culinary field. There can be unfounded stigma associated with cancer, and particularly cancers affecting women, and yet all three have been open about their cancer journeys in order to help others. Their selfless bravery in doing so is bringing much-needed awareness to cancer; roughly two million new cancer cases are diagnosed each year, according to the American Cancer Society. They are also helping combat isolation, and to bring hope to those impacted by cancer.

    They are the trailblazers and history-makers, who are heroes this Women’s History Month and beyond.

    We also recognize women’s health advocates such as Mayclem. While putting together this issue, we learned that he extended great compassion and support toward both Chef Crenn and Sbrocco. (Scott lives outside of the Bay Area.) He took time out of his busy schedule to provide them with encouragement and joy, buoying their spirits when they needed it the most.

    This is arguably one of the most challenging times to go public about a health challenge, and particularly for well-known individuals. Consider the controversies surrounding the royal family. A member of our team went through a major abdominal surgery, which can involve post-surgical devices like an NG tube. For a leader already under scrutiny in a social media powder-keg, such images could have a lasting undesired impact. While we do not know the details of Catherine, the Princess of Wales’ situation yet, we can say with certainty that the media and all of us need to develop greater empathy and understanding of health matters that we might one day face ourselves.

    Women such as Princess Kate can experience even more intense scrutiny. Few observers likely thought of environmental and behavioral factors when King Charles disclosed his battle against cancer, and yet such suspicion can be directed toward women undergoing health challenges, including cancer. Additionally, some women find themselves in a health limbo due to certain conditions such as “borderline tumors” being so poorly studied and defined.

    All three of the women that we highlight in this issue mentioned that they had to be their own health advocates. We encourage you to do the same, and to help advocate for others, just as Mayclem, Chef Crenn, Sbrocco, and Scott continue to do. As Scott writes, “I’m learning how to be a better advocate for myself and for those around me and that using my platform is not only an opportunity but also a responsibility.”

    About Our Cover
    Published on March 21, 2024