diversityrolemodels

We are a charity working to lower the impact of homophobic bullying by taking positive gay and straight role models into schools. We want young LGBT people to feel hope for the future and ALL young people to realise they have no reason to bully others simply because they are different!

Homepage: https://diversityrolemodels.wordpress.com

School is a drag

Loyal readers: this is the last blog to be posted on wordpress. Our new website is now up and running at www.diversityrolemodels.org. All our blogs are now posted on that site.

We know it’s a pain but if you’d still like to subscribe to our blog and other news, please re-subscribe here: http://diversityrolemodels.org/about-us/contact-us.aspx.

But for now, read on and enjoy!

 

16 year old Jamie wanted to attend his school prom in a dress. Openly gay and quite flamboyant, not a day had passed that he’d not been called a freak or faced other verbal bullying in his small Northern mining town. The BBC filmed him in the three month lead up to his first public appearance as a drag queen and produced a surprisingly touching documentary in the form of Jamie: Drag Queen at 16. While the title is somewhat reminiscent of an episode of Jeremy Kyle, the actual show presented an interesting response to Jamie’s gender expression from parents, the school and his peers.

Jamie’s mother came across as the epitome of the accepting parent; she exhibits photos of him as a toddler playing in high heels and explains how the penny dropped when she caught him secretly playing with her dresses. Not unusual behaviour for a young boy, but she obviously had a sense that Jamie’s exploration of gender would be ongoing and not ‘just a phase’. Her parenting skills are clearly and somewhat comically displayed as Jamie rather dramatically complains about his inability to apply make-up successfully, to her stoic, silent, and non-judgmental response. She says about one word to his hundred, although each word is worth a thousand to a kid who is ‘different’: ‘he’s always been like this’ and ‘just be yourself pet’. She acknowledges that she is probably the only person who truly knows Jamie and there aren’t likely to be too many mums who feel the same about their teenage sons.

Unfortunately, Jamie’s dad struggles with accepting his son’s choice to wear a dress to the prom; not exactly surprising and although the ending was a little bleak, one would hope that his dad adjusts in the same manner that many of the community do and puts Jamie’s happiness first. That, along with the school’s refusal to admit Jamie-in-a-dress to the prom, are the most disappointing and sadly, realistic aspects of the show. The downsides are far outweighed by the highlights however, as Jamie’s mum and her friend steal the show with their unwavering acceptance and explosive response to one of the few examples of bigotry. Jamie’s male classmates are also a source of delight as they attend his debut drag show, tell him he makes a ‘good looking woman’ as they gather around him for photos, then argue with the school to allow him entry to the prom. My cynical side wonders whether the cheering, welcoming, completely accepting student body have had a change of heart after learning of the film crew, who would be hard to camouflage in a small town for three months. After all, Jamie had commented that part of his motivation for donning a dress at the prom was to ‘not let them win’, so one would assume there were students sauntering around who echoed the sentiments of a parent who spelt out his disgust to the school. Regardless of how or why these young people arrived at Acceptance Alley, they were there fighting for Jamie’s right to express gender in his own way and that is an achievement in itself.

The most interesting part for us, as a charity who tackle homophobic bullying, was the clear lack of equal opportunities policy at Jamie’s school. They bowed to a parent’s complaint of disgust and banned Jamie, then counter-wise, succumbed to students’ demands to allow him entry. Good senior management teams will respond not to the cries of those who yell the loudest, but to their own pre-defined policies which are in place to protect all students. The school’s reaction to Jamie’s desire to wear a dress was a tad bizarre: ‘we want equal attention for all students on prom night’. If I were a head teacher, how much attention each student received on prom night would be pretty low on my list of priorities. Making sure nobody vomits in front of the governors, loses their virginity on school property or spray paints a giant penis on the tennis courts would be of greater concern. Additionally, it would be my job to provide protection for any young people within the year group who might struggle with a very able bodied, very westernised and very heterosexual event, after all, aren’t we supposed to live in a multi-cultural and inclusive country these days? Instead of waiting for the issue to arise, schools need to be pro-active and ensure that difference is welcomed, by providing education for their students.

Find me one school in the country, where every student conforms to stereotypical expressions of male and female – there are many, many shades of grey when it comes to masculinity and femininity; wherever a student fits along the continuum and however they choose to express themselves shouldn’t allow opportunity for bullying, nor inhibit their learning opportunities. This doesn’t mean students can forgo school uniforms or break jewellery/hair/tattoo rules, this guidance should simply be adjusted to allow for greater levels of comfort for students who don’t conform to gender stereotypes. And to those who suggest it’s political correctness gone mad, please take the time to speak to a transgender person who was forced to wear clothing they dreaded with every ounce of their being for days, months, years on end whilst at school. I hated the flowery handmade dresses my mum forced me into when I was 7, however that was simply a matter of good taste (bless her), it never made my skin crawl nor contributed to a swamp of non-acceptance which made me want to sink slowly under and give up on life.

I questioned a primary head teacher as to what he would say to parents who balked at educating their children about LGBT issues: ‘all families are welcome here and all children must be able to learn. We prevent bullying by educating kids about difference. If the parents don’t like it, they can change schools’. Now that’s what I call leadership.

 

See some of the work we did with that primary school:

 

 

 

 

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A Question of Sport

A couple of weeks ago I attended the Prime Minister’s reception for the LGBT sports community at Downing Street. The event was held to promote the Government’s charter against homophobia and transphobia in sport and was attended by ‘famous and gay’ athletes such as Billie Jean King and Gareth Thomas, along with a few ‘famous and gay’ non-athletes such as David Furnish and a sprinkling of Hollyoaks actors. In between the champagne and frantic networking, there was a enough time for a quiet moment of reflection; regardless of one’s personal politics, here was an official event crammed full of athletes, charity representatives, artists and politicians who were taking seriously (or at least pretending to) the Prime Minister’s speech emphasising his belief in eradicating homophobia. Had these words been uttered at Downing St twenty years ago they would’ve been greeted with nothing but sneering disdain. We operate in a different political world in 2011 and as a charity, our focus is not on which party holds the reins but on promoting positive dialogue with any group who will engage with us on eliminating discrimination and bullying.

There have been questions raised regarding the current administrations’s focus on sport. Is homophobia on the playing field really as bad as it’s made out to be? Surely people can just get on and play sport together without the need for gay-only teams or international events such as the Gay Games – doesn’t this labelling simply marginalise the LGBT community further? Certainly if there were NO homophobia, and sexual orientation was considered as relevant as hair colour when welcoming somebody onto a team, I would concur. However, for heterosexual men at least, sport involves more bodily contact and post-match nakedness than any other arena provides. Therefore there is an opportunity to enjoy what is quite natural sporting comradery, but without a good deal of self-awareness many men still dutifully prove their heterosexuality by making homophobic jokes, aka ‘boys banter’. This is hardly an environment in which an openly gay man is going to willingly place himself in his spare time; for some, avoidance of personal discussions at work is difficult enough and ‘hey lads, dont drop the soap!’ wears thin a nano-second after its first utterance.

And there are totally different rules at play for women. While there is still homophobia in women’s sport (I recall a male coach jeering at two young players who greeted each other with a hug: ‘that’s illegal in 48 states’), sexism is a far greater problem. Women don’t have the same recognition as men which means they don’t have access to the same financial support, training opportunities, coaching or facilities. A closeted women’s coach once told me that her battle was simply being a woman in a man’s world, fighting for her players’ recognition and enabling them to play their international matches on a quality pitch. She didn’t feel she could possibly be out as she would instantly lose the respect she’d fought so hard to earn. And I understand that. Women’s sport is perceived to be full of lesbians and for cultural and historical reasons, it is indeed a place that many lesbians are drawn to. But it just doesn’t matter. Having a social game of squash, doing your best to remain at the top of the premier division in your chosen sport or doing a fun run with a group of friends – none of these activities should be even remotely relevant to the sex of a team mate’s partner. And if that boring stigma remains about showering with gay people; firstly, I was always too exhausted and frankly disinterested to study the bruised anatomy of others after a match. Secondly, even if you do find a team mate attractive, you make damned sure your eyes are glued to your feet at shower time to avoid looking like a big gay perv!

Our business at DRM lies with eliminating gender and sexuality based bullying from schools. Having a physical education background leads me to believe that sport is an ideal vehicle to transmit a message of acceptance and to discourage bullying. The ‘kick it out‘ campaign is a perfect example of how sport changes attitudes. Students with the most challenging behaviour and highest incidents of bullying were often the boisterous, energetic boys who loved escaping the classroom and having a football dropped at their feet. The same young men respond to the actions and words of their sporting role models, whether they be a Physical Education teacher or a high profile footballer. All it takes is an influx of PE teachers who have been taught how to challenge homophobia and gender based slurs, along with some high profile straight allies such as Ben Cohen, and the road to acceptance will be far shorter. We welcome the opportunity to deliver our workshops though the medium of Physical Education, although our message would be more impactive if national governing bodies of sport followed the lead of rugby league in terms of diversity awareness. Islington Football Development have recently approached us to conduct training with their young coaches around the new government charter and how to respond to casual homophobia when they work in schools. This is exactly how we can use a multi-agency approach to eliminating homophobia from the playgrounds and sports fields our young people frequent. The reception at Number 10 ended with some inspiring words which were a great endorsement for DRM: ‘Role models in sport are also needed to tackle bullying in schools, young people look to the stars they admire and if we don’t have enough positive role models then behaviour won’t change’.

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Follow us on Twitter: @diversityrm

Follow us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/DiversityRoleModels

Email us on info@diversityrolemodels.org

Website coming next week!!!

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Where lies your Pride?

This Saturday is Pride in London and there are similar events coinciding across the world. What is Pride all about? It started out as Gay Liberation or Gay Freedom and was focussed on the struggle for human rights. Historically it was celebratory AND serious; participants remembered the Stonewall Riots, friends they’d lost to AIDS and the victims of homophobic assaults, all whilst kitted out in the cocktail of colours that have come to symbolise Pride. These marches and the vocal opposition to inequality were a huge catalyst towards legislative change and increased visibility for LGBT people.

To many young people in 2011, it’s an opportunity to be cushioned in a bubble of acceptance for a day, to drink a few too many over-priced lagers and head home with tired feet and a touch of sunburn. For some, it will be the first time they have been in the majority instead of feeling like the odd one out, and especially for visitors from smaller towns, this is a much needed confidence boost. However, some older LGBT people feel that without the protests and campaigning focus, Pride has become a rather empty display of apparent ‘LGBT culture’ – a culture which resonates little with many people’s day-to-day lives. In this country at least, we’re in a somewhat transitional period between having to force legislative and cultural change into a homophobic world, and having 100%, unblinking acceptance in society. Life for LGBT people is so much better, but we’re not there yet. So how do we now make Pride more than just a day of checking each other out from behind our Ray Bans?

The dictionary definition of ‘pride’ is a feeling of satisfaction derived from one’s own or another’s achievements. A young person asked me recently if I was proud of being gay. I said no. I’m not ashamed of it, but I’m not proud if it, any more than I’m proud of having a double-jointed thumb. I’m proud of the way I have dealt with other people’s reactions to my sexuality, or that I have been through some challenging situations with students, colleagues, family and friends who have struggled with it, but I’m not proud of my sexual orientation as a characteristic. It would just seem weird. I didn’t achieve anything just by being gay. However, I am proud that I am trying to make a difference for LGBT young people by founding Diversity Role Models. I’m proud of some of my sporting achievements. I’m proud of the longevity of many of my friendships and unrelated to me, the achievements and wonderful characters of my friends and family.

My mother was my role model. She certainly wasn’t a ‘diversity role model’ but she was an incredible example as a mother. She died when I was still a teenager and I had only just announced my sapphic ways to her. She struggled as any mother would – she had no gay friends, never had any education around different relationships and ultimately wanted the happiest and most successful life possible for her only daughter – a concept incompatible with ‘the gay lifestyle’. In the few months we had between me telling her, and her death, we went through the usual stages of defensiveness and lack of comprehension. Both of us. Me being ‘one of those’ made little sense to me either. However, regardless of how confused my mother felt, as she lay dying, she held my hand, looked into my eyes and told me how proud she was of me for being who I am. Her sense of pride gave me the freedom to imagine that had she lived, we would’ve made our peace, gossiped on the phone about our irritating partners and perhaps she would even have joined me in a DRM t shirt at Pride this weekend.

Being a lesbian is not who I am, but having a sense of dignity about my place in the world, irrespective of my sexual orientation, is a big part of who I am. Making sure that everybody is allowed the same opportunity to feel dignity is also part of who I am. Some people are driven to save the environment, some to be incredible parents, some to express their artistic or sporting talents and some are good souls who make our lives a little lighter simply by smiling at us on the street on a dark winter’s day. It’s impossible to be a role model for everything, for everybody and at all times. And we can’t feel pride in ourselves for every decision we’ve ever made. However, this Saturday, as a sign of respect towards the people that have fought for our civil and human rights, give a thought to what you are doing to make the world a slightly better place. And be proud!

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Follow us on Twitter: @diversityrm

Follow us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/DiversityRoleModels

Email us on info@diversityrolemodels.org

Website only days away!

Charity number: 1142548

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Survival of the Fittest

Sometimes when we push for equality, we get criticised for drawing attention to ourselves, banging on about the same old thing (aren’t-things-better-for-you-lot-now-anyway), flying flags, being trouble makers or worst of all, pushing the gay agenda.

Recently I was accused by a teacher of having an ‘ulterior motive’ for talking to primary school children about different families. Seeing as I had clearly stated my obvious motive; ensuring that children who had LGBT family members felt safe to talk about them at school, I had to consider what this hidden agenda might be. There is only one answer to this question: I was evidently going to use some secret coded language or subliminal messaging in my choice of clothing to convert wide-eyed six year olds to ‘gayness’. While I was initially offended by this, I realised that such an irrational statement could only be driven by fear and miseducation. What good would it do me to recruit extra children to our (non-existent) club? They aren’t old enough to go ‘gay clubbing’ (clubbing being a noun in that context…), nor do they have enough pocket money to drink soy frappuccinos in Soho Square. Even if it were possible to convert children just by providing education about an aspect of society (I don’t recall a sudden upsurge of religious fervour when I taught Buddhism or Christianity in R.E), what purpose would it serve? Maybe we could take over the world! Convert absolutely everybody until we…well, die out, as the case would inevitably be.

I don’t want more LGBT people, I quite frankly don’t care how many there are. I just want those who are LGBT, to feel as safe as any other adult on the street, regardless of whose hand they’re holding. I want the same rights for black people, disabled people, Muslim people and one-eyed, purple-mohawked people. At some point we’ll reach that utopia where Western society looks back at our homophobic history, shake their heads in shame and wonder what all the fuss was about. At which point DRM will either set up in Uganda or retire to an island. Tough choice.

And as we continue to be a bit more open about sexuality and gender, other slightly disturbing trends emerge. There are muttered questions as to why a lesbian can’t just ‘present herself a little better and at least put on some make up’ and why gay men have to lisp or walk effeminately. Sometimes these questions come from lesbians and gay men who wish to distance themselves from those who might, god forbid, actually LOOK gay or lesbian. Of course these questions occasionally come from well-wishers who are concerned about the health or safety of the people their query is aimed at. Occasionally, as in 1% of the time. There is often a certain amount of fear of being associated with ‘proper lesbians’ or camp gay men, by those who can pass as straight. This is understandable and somewhat natural; one only needs to look at the behaviour of animals to know that the pack will usually leave a weak and injured member behind to die, rather than risk their lives staying to protect. It’s survival of the fittest and for some LGB (the ‘T’ is left out as I suspect they don’t have comfortable perches from which to deride others) people who lived through hellish Section 28 school days in the UK, survival means not only ‘fitting in’, but distancing themselves even further by ridiculing people who express themselves in a different way.

Sometimes on nature shows, we see animals who break the mould, the ones who make our eyes well up with tears as they stand guard over a dying playmate or deliver food to the runt of the litter. We all have it in us to play that role, often dependent on how much love we received in our own upbringing; our job at DRM is to coax that nurturing side of less sympathetic young people to life. The side that will stop them from making cruel comments about gay classmates to hide their own fear of being gay, dissuade them from laughing at disabled people on the streets and most importantly, prevent them from being bystanders to bullying. And all this might help the next generation of LGBT people to be less defensive and more accepting of difference within their own community. Of course, it’s not as simplistic as that, but as one of my teachers once proclaimed ‘you can’t change the world, but you can give it a damn good shot!’.

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Follow us on Twitter: @diversityrm

Follow us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/DiversityRoleModels

Email us on diversityrolemodels@gmail.com

Website coming next month!

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Sideways Hair and Handbags

After speaking at a staff meeting on the importance of including LGBT topics in primary schools, I was invited to spend a day in one discussing different families. It was a timely reminder, in amongst all the charity red tape & future fundraising, as to how worthwhile all this is.

I visited four classes ranging in age from 6 to 11. The youngest students read ‘Spacegirl Pukes’ and looked at photos of different families, including same sex couples with children – they concluded that your family are ‘the ones that clean up your sick and buy your clothes’. They didn’t think the gender of the parents mattered. With the older classes I talked about being adopted and having two mums and two dads and six siblings; they were fascinated by this and asked both challenging and cute questions (which parents do I like more? Was I ever naughty because they weren’t my real parents?). One class of ten year olds tried to guess whether I was lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or straight. After questioning me about my hobbies and what sports I like, the vote was inconclusive (we used First Past the Post to keep it simple…). I told them I am a lesbian and that it is neither an insult, nor something to feel proud of, no more so than having blue eyes or blonde hair. None of the kids were shocked, they didn’t even giggle when anybody said the words ‘gay, lesbian or transgender’; they just accepted it and wanted to know more about my life.

It’s such an easy way to help children understand that being LGBT is just different and not worth getting worked up about; if primary school kids have honest discussions with real people at that age, our work in secondary schools would be so much easier. Even the tough boys agreed that two men who love each other should be allowed to walk down the street holding hands, just the same as anyone else. Such a heart warming experience and it moved me to tears.

Before I came into class as the ‘adopted lesbian’, the children not only learned what LGB and T stand for and how to pronounce them, but they wrote down and spoke of some of their perceptions of LGBT people. I want to share some of these gems with you:

– “gays put their hair sideways and hold hands”

– “a gay person acts like a lady and their voice changes like, ooooh”

– ‘a trans boy likes to wear girls dresses and have make up’

– ‘bisexual is a woman who likes men and women’

– ‘a gay person dresses like a man and has long hair, short hair or no hair’

– ‘gay men do pole dancing’

– “they look like ordinary people”

– ‘wear skinny jeans and act like girls’

– “lesbians have small hair”

– “if you saw a lesbian couple, one would look more male and one would look more female”

– ‘gay men might wear high hills, scurts and make up (sic)’

– “lesbians have two rings in their nose and pierce their tongues. Gay men just have earrings”

– ‘gay man has a handbag’

– “transgender is a man changing from male to female then being pregnant”

– ‘they would look like you or me. Normal’

And my personal favourite:

– ‘lesbians could have any job they wanted (if they worked hard in school and embraced all possibilities). Maybe a hairdresser’

If you are imagining a middle class, houmous-and-carrots-for-lunch, Montessori school, think again. This is a typical inner city, low socio-economic, multi ethnic school. One 7 year old spoke openly about his uncle beating up a man just for being gay. And a teacher was resistant to my presence as none of her students have LGBT families and she thought we were just ‘encouraging it’. So it’s not all plain sailing. However, with perseverance, we at least present a different point of view and allow children to make an educated decision as to whether to be accepting. My challenge to those moving onto high school was to stand up against homophobic, or in fact any, bullying, when they see it. Being adopted, being LGBT, having a particular talent or a disability are just differences and for that, the world is a richer place.

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Follow us on Twitter: @diversityrm

Follow us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/DiversityRoleModels

Email us on diversityrolemodels@gmail.com

Website coming (really) soon!

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Padded Bras? Just Say No.

Last month Nadine Dorries had an abstinence bill passed which asks for all 13 -16 year old girls to be given additional sex education on how to ‘say no’. We’ve all been lying awake at night trying to figure out how we can teach only girls to say no to underage sex, when clearly sex involves girls AND boys. Surely Mrs Dorries isn’t suggesting that boys are just pistol-pocketed demons who seek only to de-flower our innocent, rosy-cheeked maidens – mute maidens, who have little or no ability to articulate the word ‘no’?  Can it be possible that in 2011, people are still encouraging the view that sexual desire is owned by men and that poor, sexless women are on a backwards treadmill, trying to avoid their lecherous and uncontrollable advances. That if only teenage girls would say ‘no’ to pressure to put out, learn to dress appropriately and make sure they’re home in their floral nightgowns by 9pm, those nasty boys wouldn’t be able to impregnate them.

Are we not feeding the monster by continuing to tell young women, worse still, telling young men, that this is the case? Shouldn’t we be trying to break these stereotypes down and show a little more respect for teenagers’ sexuality? Boys feel pressure to have sex too. They are continuously fed a media stream (and at times, blokey comments from Dads) which perpetuate the idea that they are the hunters and women are there to be gathered. Teenage boys have admitted that they lie about their conquests to prove their manhood. And under pressure to actually score that notch on their belt, many of them probably do pester girls to have sex before either of them are ready. But failing to address the issues that boys face and leaving the decisions in the girls’ court, simply applies double the pressure to young women and renders young men as nothing more than grunting neanderthals, incapable of responsibility.

Even worse, on Channel 5’s Vanessa show, Nadine Dorries uttered these clangers:

“If a stronger ‘just say no’ message was given to children in school then there might be an impact on sex abuse … if we imbued this message in school we’d probably have less sex abuse.”

This is one of the most dangerous sentiments I have heard espoused by a person with a political platform. The idea that a child should take some responsibility for the sexual invasion of an adult is just plain vulgar. I feel for the victims of abuse out there who may still be battling with their inner child on this issue; people spend many years in therapy trying to come to terms with this fallacy. And what message does it give the abuser who happened to be listening in that day? A total denial of responsibility.

While ‘sexualisation’ and ‘padded bras’ are the words of the week after the Bailey Review was published, we are still not discussing the real issues. While I agree that padded bras (to enhance cleavage) for 11 year olds are an obscenity  and I wouldn’t want my child watching inappropriately sexual music videos, simply removing them from the shelves/television does not stop young people from, for example, finding misogynistic pornography on the internet. A group of 13 year old boys told me that while they had received no sex education at school, they knew everything they needed to about sex because they watched porn. This scares me. And to further prove that we need to alter our approach to dealing with young people’s sexuality, a study just published in the States shows that LGBT youth are far more likely to indulge in risky behaviour or consider suicide. No surprises there. By all means, let’s make adult images and products less accessible to children but let’s also do the other half of the job. We need to talk to them; discuss sexuality, respect for one’s self and others, the benefits of delaying sexual relationships, gender stereotypes and the fact that shops sell padded bras for girls, but not padded jocks for boys. Young people have critical, developing minds. Nadine Dorries wants to empower young women by teaching them to say no. Let’s empower our girls and boys with facts, relationship skills and the ability to say no, or yes, when they are ready.

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Follow us on Twitter: @diversityrm

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Email us on diversityrolemodels@gmail.com

Website coming (really) soon!

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The Pros & Cons of Being Gay

Cons:

  • Not being invited to family events. Or being invited while your ‘friend’, with whom you have a house, a business and six children, is not, due to it being for ‘close family only’ (although your brother turns up with a girl he pulled at the village barn dance the night before).
  •  Clothing assimilation. Straight couples get away with having shared interests in surfwear, hiking clothes or G Star Raw. Nobody comments on their matching sandals whereas we are made the targets of total mockery if we have clearly visited the Diesel outlet store together. Same colour clothing is to be avoided at all costs and if you are also hair-assimilated, it pays to adopt a 100% yin yang style when going out together.
  • Telling people who interact with intimate parts of your body that you are a friend of Dorothy’s i.e. your über-feminine beautician as she tears your bikini line to bits, or for boys, your proctologist as he or she dives in for a prostate check. Any sort of physical flinch, no matter how slight, is not to be encouraged when your vulnerability threshold is being tested to such a degree.
  •  Body envy.  We tend not to be threatened by difference in personal relationships (obviously this only relates to physical form – any distinction of hobbies, income etc are exceptionally threatening and should be avoided at all costs). Heterosexual couples have very different physiques. Gay people have bodily features in common, therefore we have greater opportunity to be jealous of the shape of our partner’s feet, their ability to look good in our aerobics leotard, or the fact that his/her hair always sits perfectly. Even in the cab home after a long night doing the Macarena with old school friends. In fact it looks annoyingly better than when you left the house.
  • Holiday limitations. Jamaica, Uganda, Saudi Arabia, Iran. Need I say more. Of course you can go on holiday to Morocco but as women you are likely to need a year off work with post-traumatic stress after fending off the advances of happy-handed locals. And boys expend double calories trying to butch up their gait as they saunter along dusty streets pretending to scout for girls.

Pros:

  •  Not being invited to family events. You and your partner are free to spend the day at the Diesel outlet store instead of listening to Great Uncle Ernie’s long-winded tale of a sewage overflow in the kitchen sink due to rats blocking the pipes.
  • Having an entire row in a packed cinema to yourselves, simply by sharing a quick peck as people are choosing their seats. The same applies to the backseat of buses, entire rows on long haul flights etc.
  • Nobody asks you to babysit. Your family assumes that your ‘lifestyle’ involves levels of irresponsibility incompatible with caring for their precious little bundles of joy. This, of course, backfires when you acquire your own sprogs and your siblings decide to make up for lost time and dump Delilah and Sebastian on your doorstep with annoying frequency.
  • You are trusted to go on long weekends of fishing/shopping/insert gender stereotype of choice here, with your best friend’s husband or wife (whichever one you’re not supposed to be attracted to). These weekends live on in friendship group legend; anecdotes are retold at BBQs for years to come while your best friend smiles smugly at other friends who can’t believe such a set up is allowed. (Don’t ever date someone of the opposite sex again though – these weekends will suddenly be analysed with a fine-tooth comb).
  • Your wedding day is your day. Your mother is just relieved you managed to find another one ‘like you’ and is content with investing in a new hat for your ‘commitment thingamajingy’ rather than simultaneously performance managing the florist, photographer and guests. And your dad is forced to neglect his life-long collection of sexist wedding jokes in favour of an awkward same-sex dance with an embarrassingly drunk gay friend.
Disclaimer: tongue firmly in cheek whilst writing. We know it’s rarely like this anymore…
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Follow us on Twitter: @diversityrm

Follow us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/DiversityRoleModels

Email us on diversityrolemodels@gmail.com

Website coming (really) soon!

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