The big D
You may be wondering what the big D is. Well the big D is discrimination.
We had a conversation at work around the big D focussing on Race. I didnt have the mental fortitude to write this blog yesterday but today it is something I feel I must share.
During this conversation with my colleagues I started hurting. My black colleagues were opening up about the pain they felt when they faced racism and it really just brought it back to me the discrimination I felt over my disabilities and starting to express my own gender identity. Their pain I had felt, for other reasons, but the pain is still there.
So this post is not going to be about one particular form of descrimination. I am going to talk about my experiences and what I feel about discrimination as a whole
I will start with the most recent. Through conversations with others I finally came to understand my gender identity. I am gender fluid. I was born with a womans body but I do not always feel feminine, sometimes I feel masculine. In fact the running joke with my ex was that "sometimes your more manly than I am". This always made me laugh because honestly sometimes he was more feminine than me. I used to have two wardrobes. One with mens clothes and one with womens clothes. When I was feeling more masculine I would wear the mens clothes and when I was feeling feminine I would wear the womens clothes. That did not always sit well with me because I still felt elements of femininity because of what society said I needed to be.
Since I have found out what my gender identity is, I finally started to exibit it. I shaved my hair again and honestly its something I feel more comfortable with. Whilst some people consider a shaved head to be a masculine hair style I consider it to be both, especially when organisations like McMillan run campaigns of "brave the shave" and women who loose their hair for one reason or another or have to cut it short dont consider it masculine. So when I left London a couple of weeks ago I got on a train. I was feeling rather feminine that day so when I repared my travelling outfit, I dressed more feminine. I also had makeup on. Whilst sitting on the train a man got on with his Mrs and looked at me. He turned to his companion and said "look at this freak, shaved head and boob tube on". My heart just sank. Finally I have started expressing my gender identity and this is how I am treated. I wanted to cry. I did not respond however, because I had booked first class and they had not in my head I was thinking "ok now off you go to the cheap seats". It still did not take away the pain I felt inside.
Disability is one I have also felt discrimination. One job that I had in my life, I was open about my dyslexia and the boss, who was angry about something said to me, "are you dumb, cant you not see or read the post-it note, do you even know what a post-it note is?" I could not believe it. I had gone through so much crap in school before I went to sixthform college and got my diagnosis and I thought the world of work would be different. Honestly this sent me on a shame spiral.
I have been told by employers that they wont give me a shot at harder work, not because I was not capable, but because I had mental health problems which they thought precluded me from trying. Their words were "you wont get development because we do not want to be liable for a mental health set back". There was no trust that I could perform just decided that it was never going to happen for me because I had been honest about my own health. This, again made me feel smaller than small. I wanted to rip my brain out of my head and just die. It hurt so much.
Other comments I have had is that, "oh you have disabilities, your damaged goods". This was a comment I had on a date would you believe. "you have spinal problems, well your on your own" again another comment by someone who was supposidly interested in me as a girlfriend.
Discrimination is something that hurts. It makes you not want to confide in people and it makes you feel so worthless. It is the one thing most protected charicteristic have in commen. All protected charicteristics fall under discrimination at some point. With disability, especially when it is hidden, you are actively encouraged to disclose to "protect yourself" but that protection is only available if you actually know your rights. I never new them prior to 2017 under the equalities act and so I was putting myself out there, getting discriminated against and recieving no protection.
We have a right to live life our way, free from discrimination but when you have people who just do not give a damn it makes you feel lower than low. How can people treat others the way they do? I just dont understand it. I am lucky in the sense that I struggle with social interactions because of autism. If I ever started to understand discrimination as a concept I think that would be the day I think the world has come to an end.
If you have experienced discrimination in any form, please reach out for help. Do not suffer in silence because you are strong and those who are disciminating will get theirs. As Dhar Mann regually eludes to in his videos "what you put out into the universe will come back to you". Stay safe out there everyone!