Monday was International Day Against Transphobia Homophobia & Biphobia so I wanted to share my thoughts about equality and discrimination and why it is such an important topic.
Equality. Why does it matter so much?
I am white, straight, and born into a family of a comfortable income. I am privileged, to say the least. Being female however, I am not a stranger to discrimination. The statistics on this are shocking – I share with you just one of my experiences.
When I was younger in an office environment, you were expected to be professional and respectful at all times. However, whilst holding a pen in my mouth to collect notepads and a cup of tea for a meeting, I was met with the comment. “I have something better than a pen to put in your mouth”. Shocked and embarrassed, I didn’t know how to react. So I smiled and hurried away. I was young, and the only thought that came to me was an awful feeling I had done something to cause that. Over the years comments like this – which were once considered ‘banter’ or ‘jokes’ have been common however society is beginning to understand the impact it has. It hurts. I withdrew and tried not to get noticed and therefore I was ignored for the opportunity to progress.
How must it feel to be constantly exposed to a barrage of abuse because of your skin, who you love or your gender? Why should these things even matter to anyone else?
How do we fix it?
I have lived in several polarized areas of the UK for example Medway for one which has a strong lean to the right and Brighton which leans strongly to the left. I also have family members who do not share the same views as me. What I learnt from this is the battle against inequality is so important but it’s not a fight for the discriminated to fight alone. The people in the office that heard what was said to me should have said ‘steady on’ – ‘that’s not ok’. Sometimes we must act as a community so that we can teach society to act.
One thing I hear an awful lot is ‘political correctness gone mad’ but this tends to come from those in a position of privilege, they may not have faced discrimination and therefore do not believe the struggle is there or realise that there is pain caused by comments or actions. It is not okay to say anything that you think would cause someone else harm or embarrassment. If you don’t understand where the line is, think ‘would I be happy if someone said this to my mother’?
We will always stand with you.
We are proud to be your allies. The Citizens Advice across the nation pride themselves on being non-judgemental. We are working towards a time when we don’t need these days because everyone is accepted. But in the meantime, we are sending love to anyone who is feeling oppressed and stand with you always, not just on International Transphobia Homophobia & Biphobia.
We stand against Transphobia Homophobia & Biphobia.
If you need to speak to us, get in touch.
For support in your area, Intercom Trust have a directory of services, click here.
For more statistics on this issue from Stonewall.org, click here.