A 20-year-old woman with type 1 diabetes has received £2,000 in compensation after her hypo treatment was confiscated at a rock gig.
Kayla Hanna, from Belfast, was carrying Lucozade at a Red Hot Chili Peppers gig in Belfast in 2016. It was confiscated by staff by security firm Eventsec Ltd, in spite of Miss Hanna’s protests. Miss Hanna has a diabetes tattoo and also carries an insulin pack with her.
“I told her [the security guard] of my condition and showed her the tattoos on my wrist which indicate I have diabetes,” Miss Hanna told the BBC.
“She said that ‘anyone could have that’ so I also showed her my insulin pack and the meter used to check my levels.
“She consulted with another guard and they insisted that they had a strict policy and they would not allow me to bring the drink inside.”
Miss Hanna was understandably upset, and contacted the Equality Commission which supported her in bringing her case to court, where she alleged a breach of the Disability Discrimination Act.
The judge at Belfast County Court ruled the treatment of Miss Hanna was discrimination and she was awarded £2,000.
Judge Gilpin said that Eventsec had failed to provide a reasonable alternative to Miss Hanna, choosing to enforce their policy of not allowing liquids to be bought into concerts.
Miss Hanna had told the court she felt “very anxious and upset” during the gig. She now hopes this outcome will help others with type 1 diabetes in the future.
“I really hope that, now this issue has been brought to light, it won’t happen again to me or other people who live with diabetes,” she said.
Mary Kitso, senior legal officer at the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, said: “In this case, the company should have made arrangements to ensure that Kayla could have accessed Lucozade during the concert if needed, for example by directing her to its own medical centre at the venue and providing her with a bottle of Lucozade.”
Editor’s note: It is unfortunate that Miss Hanna’s situation could not have been resolved at the gig, but her courage in fighting her corner is to be admired. People with diabetes have long faced problems bringing hypo treatments into events, and if this outcome encourages event security to concentrate efforts on helping people with diabetes, rather than following strict rules, it will be a decidedly good thing.

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