Paul Joannides Psy.D.

As You Like It

#ShowMeYourPump—Feeling Sexy When You Are Wearing a Pump

A cool movement for diabetics was born at the Miss America Bikini Competition.

Posted Oct 08, 2018

It used to be that people who have diabetes went out of their way to hide their insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors (CGMs). But then, in 2014, Miss Idaho wore her pump during the bikini competition in the Miss America contest, and the #showmeyourpump movement was born.

Miss Idaho (Sierra Sandison) wasn’t the first Miss America contestant to wear an insulin pump during the beauty pageant. Nicole Johnson, Miss America 1999, wore her pump under a gown and informed the judges that she was a Type 1 diabetic and would be wearing a pump at all appearances if she were crowned Miss America. But this was before Instagram and the ascendance of social media. It was Sierra Sandison wearing her pump in the bikini competition in 2014 that helped launch #showmeyourpump. (Both Ms. Johnson and Ms. Sandison have been highly effective spokespersons for people with diabetes and staunch advocates for the acceptance of pumps and CGMs.)

A hundred years ago, people who had Type 1 diabetes did not survive. But today, we can read comments from two women with Type 1 diabetes who wear insulin pumps and who, like many of their fellow diabetics, are able to worry about feeling sexy while wearing an insulin pump rather than having to worry about simply staying alive:

“One of the trickiest parts of switching to a pump for me has been my readjustment to this new definition of naked. Sometimes the pump feels like a ball and chain. Sometimes it feels like a good friend. I’m still trying to figure out how to feel sexy again.” —Zee at


“Before I was on a pump I worried about how annoying it would be to be connected to tubing 24/7 and how it would work with most of my outfits and whatnot. But I almost always confidently wear my t:slim on my hip or, if I’m wearing a sleeveless or short-sleeved dress, I’ll feed the tubing out through the armhole and clip the pump right to my belt. Then in the less often instances where I wear a dress without a belt at my waist, I purchased this nifty garter with a little pocket called the iThigh which turns out to be absolutely perfect to wear and slip the t:slim into. And you know what, I actually like having the t:slim be a part of my outfits every day because it’s now a part of me. And when people ask if it’s my cell phone or an mp3 player, I am always so happy to explain what an insulin pump is to them and spread awareness of t1d, since it’s still so misunderstood by most of the population…”

“...I want to show others that you can still be confident, comfortable, and beautiful with these things attached to you. I didn’t choose to get type one diabetes but I am strong enough to deal with it and am proud of my body, proud of the work I put in to manage this autoimmune disease, and I believe that these things that make us so unique both physically (in having them attached to our stomachs) and emotionally (in that most people without t1d can’t really grasp so much of what we go through every day) are ultimately beautiful.” Kiana McCourt at www.finchandfawn. com.

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