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| 2 minutes read

The Race Line of Life

The fact that International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Lesbophobia and Transphobia on the 17th May coincides with Mental Health Awareness Week must be for a reason. Because, for many, they are inextricably linked.

Of the studies and reports I’ve looked at recently, the overwhelming and devastating majority reference the fact that over 50% of the LGBTQ+ community have or will suffer with some type of mental ill-health, more likely depression or anxiety, during their lifetime. Alongside this, many within the community do not feel able or safe to reach out for support from mental health providers for fear of judgement or lack of empathy.

As an ally, mother, friend, mentor, leader and Executive sponsor for our LGBTQ+ community at AMS, I wrestle constantly with the question: what more can we do?

Some of you may have seen or participated in a DEIB exercise in the past – the one where you take a step forward or back depending on whether a particular statement applies to you:

Take a step forward if you’re white, take a step back if you’re not.

Take a step forward if you’re male, take a step back if you’re not.

Take a step forward if you don’t identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community, take a step back if you do.

Take a step forward if you attended private education, take a step back if not.

The questions were plentiful; ranging from disability, education, opportunities, religion, race and more. The concept being to demonstrate the varying degrees of privilege in the hope of raising awareness.

Having taken part in such an activity in the past and being shocked at not only my own place of privilege but also how far back I was compared to many of my counterparts, I did wonder whether the exercise itself had been fully utilized. Should the ask at the end not be to simply turnaround (for those nearer the front) and appreciate your position but also to walk back and think about how we can all use our place of privilege to move the needle for others. 

People aren’t asking for pity or ‘an easy ride’, everyone simply deserves the ‘race line of life’ to start equally and equitably. Whilst we know this is not the case in today’s society, I believe it is on all of us to do what we can to enable this.

So, one thing I impress on everyone, as a bare minimum this week but hopefully far beyond, is to continue the conversation – do not shy away from listening and learning, because only then can we change the narrative and ensure that ‘no one is left behind’; a very apt theme for this year’s International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Lesbophobia and Transphobia.

 

Tags

ams, diversity equity inclusion