I was delighted to reach the final 3 (out of 7000 nominations) in the category of Top Female Role Model at the National Diversity Awards ceremony in Manchester last Friday night. I did not win but have nothing but admiration for the woman who did, Bekezela Nsingo, CEO of The African Mothers Foundation doing great work educating the forgotten girls of Zimbabwe. I was inspired by many of the winners who are all striving to embed a more inclusive society but I left feeling a tad confused and overwhelmed by the number of labels and badges now used to describe individuals within our gay community. In fact it is no longer even called that, the correct terminology is LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender). I know this is not my world but I have many gay friends both male and female and I wonder if they even acknowledge the vast array of badges now in use and would question how this is helping us appreciate each other– throughout the night further segments of this community were recognised including transsexual people, genderqueer people, androgyne people, crossdressers and intersex people – wow! Now I am seriously confused.
How does this encourage integration? What happened to straight or gay? Have I missed something here? In my opinion, the more labels, the more confusion and the more alienation. I do not understand any of these terms and after spending a night celebrating the achievements of a diverse society I am no clearer. Anyone that knows me will confirm I am NOT homophobic. I am tolerant and pretty inclusive. At one point in the evening I was asked by a gay man (I think) whether I worked with LGBT and my reply was ‘I have no idea, I do not ask individual’s to define their sexual preference before I support, coach, mentor or inspire them, it does not matter to me.’ Incidentally, nor do I ask them if they are a virgin, into swinging or partial to a bit of S&M!
I felt like I was walking through a politically correct minefield and it saddened me. Moreover, I was uncomfortable asking questions or requesting clarification and the word ‘eggshells’ hit me in the face many times! How can we promote tolerance and respect when we create a secret language and agenda? I even debated whether I should write this blog for fear of unwittingly upsetting someone but I took a deep breath in the hope we could have an adult conversation, so when ya ready folks……..