Do you Understand?
Oh hello darling and welcome back to benpechey.com. August is all about desires and exploring what we can do to answer some of these things in our lives. To continue this month, I would love to explore one of my deepest desires with you. That is a world with a little more understanding!
Another Pride season has come and gone, and throughout all the engagements, panels, speaking events and conversations, I kept coming up against a wall. That wall was a lack of understanding. Both within and outside of the LGBTQIA+ community, we all need a little bit more understanding.
The reason I say that we need more understanding is for a few reasons;
Fear is one of the largest causes of abuse that community members face. Fear is caused through an irrational response of the unknown - or for lack of a better word - not enough understanding.
The struggles within the community can be traced to stagnant progress. This is due to a community that is lacking unity. This is due to a lack of intersectional understanding.
LGBTQIA+ education was non-existent during my time at school thanks to section 28 - which means a whole generation has a very little wider understanding of the community.
Finally, we all evolve, and the LGBTQIA+ community has come a long way, which means things have changed - and that means we all need to understand what that looks for us to fully embrace this change.
It is, however, very hard to be able to help more people understand such large chunks of information like this. Even in the modern world of social media and online panels, it would be impossible to reach all people. This kind of mass campaign would cost millions, that doesn't exist and even if it did, it would never be greenlit.
I can hear you thinking - how do we create a better sense of understanding Ben?
Well the first, and perhaps the easiest thing that we can do within the community, is to learn and listen to those with different experiences than we possess. There will always be someone who has a different set of intersections, privilege and upbringing - which will make for a very different view of the world. Listening and learning from other people is the number one way we can grow our understanding of the community.
For the wider society - which includes allies and non-allies - do what I’ve suggested above, but do it over and over!! You should always be open to learning from a diverse and wide-reaching set of queer individuals. There is no shortage of people on social media that provide so much education and personal experience that is easily consumed. Take the time to do the work so that we can all understand each other a bit more.
Another way to increase our unilateral understanding is the removal of the dominance of monolithic language. There is no one way to experience the world around us, so why would we limit the way we explain situations and life events to each other? We need to move away from universal narratives, and instead focus on the individual experience. This way understanding can increase tenfold!
Finally, we all need to get over ourselves a little bit - and remember that we’re all of equal value. I always think of an iconic Gaga quote;
“I’m not better than anyone else, and I’m not less than anyone else.
We’re all here together, we’re all human,
and we’re all walking on the same earth.”
I feel that if Lady Gaga is humble enough to realise that we’re all of equal value then we can do that too! Through this process, we would all be able to make time to understand each other a little bit more!
I hope that you can see ways to increase the way you understand the world around you - it isn’t as tricky as you maybe first thought - so why not give it a go?
Thank you so much for joining me, as always, I love you lots like jelly tots, until next time, uh buh bye.
Shot by Ruth Pechey