Having had a veritable outpouring of words at my first few blogging attempts, I have struggled to get this piece out. It seemed a very natural progression, from fairness to humility…to equality. But I have struggled.
I find myself at odds with equality. I am a woman, a white woman, a white homosexual woman. I am broadly middle class, much as it pains me to say it. I belong to one or two other minorities that I don’t need to go into here, but ones that have a certain stigma, and that are therefore fair game for ridicule in ‘polite’ society. I don’t include my homosexuality as one, as I am fortunate enough to live in the UK, although I have had my fair share of homophobia, and not just from ignorant peers. As a teenager, I wrote an angry letter to the Daily Mail about Section 28. As I write this, I realise I am less angry than I used to be, and I am quite ashamed, as I realise that I am less angry because it doesn’t affect me anymore, when just last week two men were flogged for it in Indonesia.
True equality is lacking. I was appalled as a child, for personal reasons, when ‘spastic’ and ‘handicapped’ resounded around the playground. Having forgiven children for being children, I have been even more appalled when those words have resounded around the departments and wards of hospitals, accepted as ‘banter’ from one nurse to another.
I think this is why I have struggled so much with this post. I have realised that equality is more about the experiences we have as individuals, and the extent of the suffering we ourselves have felt, and less about compassion for others and a true desire to be equal.
I am uncomfortable with the revelation that we are, to borrow a line from one of my favourite bands, complicit in our negligence.