how to write a character with vitiligo?

okay, so i’m writing a story titled ‘Glory’ and one of the main characters is named Ezra. he’s an angel and the love interest of my first main character, Alina.

i truly want every character in this story to be unique, whether it’s attributes and/or appearance, etc. Ezra has all of a sudden become a character with vitiligo (idk how it happened). personally, i want to know if any of you have vitiligo or friends with it, or have created characters with it. i want to do this right and not offend anyone. people that have vitiligo are literally art, and should love the uniqueness of their skin, no matter what anyone says.

thank you. X

Hmm

I remember Crisis Core had something similar with one of the enemies

Genesis

Where their body continuously degrades over time.

Applying a similar concept

Then I guess an experiment gone wrong causes their cells to deteriorate over time.

Your take on how you want to implement this.

I would recommend you look into stem cells

As well as how the body functions, and what might cause the skin to deteriorate.

I have a friend with Vitiligo, she has been bullied a lot from a young age because of it and as a teen now she’s very insecure about her body. It enrages me tbh, just because someone is different than you doesn’t mean you can treat them in such a horrible way.

Anyways, I would recommend doing a lot of research and reading articles about people with Vitiligo, there are also many models with Vitiligo that are inspiring as well, Winnie Harlow, and as someone without Vitiligo I cannot speak for them, all I can say is that as writers venturing out into an unknown topic it’s vital that we do our utmost research, search up Vitiligo problems on youtube, read articles about it, listen to people’s experiences with Vitiligo, and don’t play into the stereotypes.

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I have vitiligo. I was kinda Mediterranean dark before, so the splotches are quite visible in the summer, not so much in the winter.

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I was born with it. Like another poster, I was bullied as a child because of it. I remember one guy - the worst one- used to call me ‘half breed’ all the time. I’m ashamed to say I felt some satisfaction when, a few years after leaving home and the town, I read that he was killed in an auto accident.

I’m now in my 50’s and have lost pretty much all the melanin in my skin. I look very, very pale and do not tan - I only burn. (when I was younger, the dark parts of my skin tanned, but not the white, making it even more pronounced) Nobody knows anymore, they just think I’m a naturally pale person.

Another effect is grey hair. My hair has been going grey for a long time and I’ve always had a grey streak at the back, but underneath so it wasn’t obvious. “Down below” has always been grey (sorry if that’s TMI, but I thought you would want realistic effects of it). Hair on other body areas is a mix but more white now. Which I like as due to my ethnic background, I’ve always had a lot of hair on my arms. Now it’s not noticeable. And less, prob. due to my Vit. D deficiency.

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this is real life here! don’t be worried about sharing too much information. it’s sad to think that people with vitiligo have had to suffer verbal abuse for a skin abnormality that they couldn’t even control. thank you so much for sharing, it really helps. i hope you feel comfortable in your skin, and remember you are a gem! X

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bump you beautiful mofos

It’s difficult to understand the question. “I want to do this right and not offend anyone.”, that’s nice, and especially nice when @cringeworthypoet tells us her friend is insecure about her body and that @MargaretInCanada was bullied.

I have a friend with vitiligo, but I never realised that because all I see is her smile, as she’s one of the friendliest people I know. When she leaves, the day is always brighter. I love her for what she does: always a kind word, never complaining, always cheering everybody up, just by being there. For me, this is one perfect woman. Perfect is not how we look (that’s just an image, created by people who sell products, thanks to our insecurity). Perfect is how we act.

When someone bullies you or makes you insecure, this says more about him than about you: intolerant, arrogant, feeling himself better than anyone who’s ‘different’. I prefer not to pay attention to such unpleasant behaviour.

So, to answer what I hope is the question: you can check Wikipedia etc for all the medical details, and you should work on that to get it right, but if you want to write a good story, add some ingredients that make your readers feel perfect because of what they do and not because of how they look. I wonder why we tolerate intolerant people (yeah, because we’re tolerant ourselves) and I wonder why we listen to anyone who says bad things about others while on the other hand we hardly say to other people how nice and friendly and beautiful they are.

I think I’m more aware of that now and I’ll do my best to change my own words from now on, be more intolerant to bullies and pay friendly people a compliment for their kindness.

That’s the task of a writer, making readers aware and giving them ideas that help us make our lives and the lives of others a little better. I think you did a good job here and don’t worry too much: you have what it takes to write a great story and your readers will love you, for what you do, not for how you look.

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omg this made me smile. you. are. a. gem. and i hope your friend knows it as well. she sounds lovely. and so do you! and you’re right; we should focus on treating people with the kindness they deserve, and kick the negativity to the curb. as i writer i do want to create diverse characters, so people of different races, sizes, genders, etc, will feel like they matter. everybody deserves to be accounted for!

bump bih

bump

When I read words like yours, concerned about how people feel and willing to make them feel better, I know that our future will be better than our past. Writers like you make that happen. Many people write about superheroes, but you decide to be one for others.

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Well it’s just like any other character, no?

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holy sh*t this made me smile. it’s a late af reply but THANK U SM

ofc! but i only ask this mainly bc of descriptions. i didn’t know how to describe a person with vitiligo without feeling afraid to offend them.

bumpyyyyy

You can always use a metaphor for the different patches of color. But only do it when it’s relevant to the scene imo.
It can be like:
I couldn’t help but stare at her face, she was a multicolor beauty queen, as though her white canvas was too unimaginative for God, he started throwing black paint from his magic brush and the stains were the result of the special treatement this universe had for her. She was different, and she liked it.

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I used to work at a dermatologist’s clinic as a medical secretary, I would work the phototherapy machine and a lot of people with vitiligo would use it. Other than the social repercussions of having a condition that people could easily see and judge you by, there’s also the matter of seeking “treatment” and trying to prevent the melanin from deteriorating. It’s a double-edged knife since on one hand, they wish to retain their appearance and not lose all pigment, but that means a constant struggle with never-ending skin treatments, and then on the other hand, if they let it be, there’s no knowing how the patches will develop and where and also, if they do eventually lose all pigment, they’ll look different from the rest of their family.

If you don’t want to offend anyone, read up on the condition as much as you can, don’t treat it like a quirk or the root of any powers the character might have. It should be a quality of your character, but not the centre of who they are. I’m not familiar with vitiligo tropes in literature and film, but I’d suggest to try and look them up and so you can avoid them.

As someone with a similar condition (albinism), it’s very uncomfortable to come across a story that took the condition and misrepresented it.

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thanks so much for the advice. it’s really interesting to hear it from a medical, factual standpoint like that. it really helps X

such positivityyyyy :black_heart::black_heart::black_heart: thank you