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  • Writer's pictureBen Pechey

System Error

When was the last time you thought about the systems that you are in? By this, I mean society, gender stereotypes, racial stereotypes, and the list could go on and on. We are all in systems of power that in many ways have controlled how our lives have panned out thus far. Some of us have far less control over this than others - this is what marginalisation looks and feels like.

I see myself as a change maker - perhaps a softer title than activist, but in reality, it doesn’t matter what you call it - I want to see a better world for marginalised people. One of the breakthroughs in my career is that my work isn’t about improving my own life, it is about helping the lives of those to come - future generations.

That I can do this through my writing, work with brands, educational work, and as an ambassador for a charity is brilliant. I have never been more grateful that I have a voice and the ability to beam that around the world from the comfort of my cosy home office.

However, as we come towards the end of the year, a moment of reflection has made me question all that I do. It is a strange thing to be grateful for a career that was birthed by a world that told me there was no place for me to be myself. How cruel is it that we ask marginalised people - folks who have already faced the effects of controlling systems - to work tirelessly for their respective communities?

I love what I do, my career has been there for me when I haven’t been able to find focus or drive in my personal life. I certainly wouldn’t want to trade what I do for an office job - but I shouldn’t have to do this job. Anyone who is marginalised, shouldn’t have to fight for their (and that of others) existence.

In essence, our systems are asking us to work for a freedom that they took away from us. Whilst I am aware if we all stopped, walked away, and turned our backs on the work we believe in so much, the community would drown under the tide of difficulties that arise when no one advocates for the marginalised.

This is a very similar feeling I felt during trans awareness week. Not all of the time, but some of the time, it would be nice to know that there are people outside of marginalised communities who are willing to put the work in. The system is always in favour of those who are closer to power. White, cisgender, and men - these groups all have more sway in the systems that exist around us.

It is odd, but in essence, I am highlighting yet again why allies are so important. We as marginalised people are realistically not walking away - but should we decide we need a breather, we should be able to because of allyship. I don’t currently feel this is the case - hence why we have a system error when it comes to the support of marginalised folks.

I hope 2023 brings a renewed effort from allies to help change the tides of power in our current systems.

Shot by Ruth Pechey


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