Yesterday morning I went to the funeral of a friend’s dad, a man I knew a little, liked a lot, a funny and clever man, I always enjoyed his company. And I think Stella and I were his first lesbian couple. He and his wife have always been generous and warm to us. I shall remember his smile, his never failing sense of humour, his happiness, his acceptance.
Yesterday evening I went to the Savoy Hotel for the European Diversity Awards. I’d never been before, as a guest I was excited to see old friends and shake the hands of a few who may turn out to be new ones! It was a superb evening, with tears and laughter and so much hope. It was only the second time I have been to such an event, where I have honestly felt that it didn’t matter what you were – what your ethnic background was, religious belief, sexuality, gender, whether you had a disability, whether you were a banker or a broadcaster. The first time was at No 10, for an anti bullying event. I left the Savoy last night feeling an enormous sense of belonging, because I fitted in, I felt at home, because we were all there for the same reason. I applaud all those who make a difference, all the people who were there last night and many who were not – the people who put themselves on the line every single day just because of who they are, never afraid to say it as it is, or to stand up and fight. Some people don’t have a choice, they can’t hide their diversity. I could if I chose to, I don’t. There are astonishing people out there doing astonishing things to make our society a safer and better place. Diversity is something to be proud of, to embrace and encourage, not to run away from or attack.
These are important awards, because they acknowledge everyone in society and I mean everyone. For me, last night was a microcosm of what my ideal world would be; everyone, no labels now, living side by side, enjoying and respecting each other for what they are.
I found this on-line, I have no idea who wrote it, but it says it all. Thanks to the writer.
The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs,political beliefs, or other ideologies. It is the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment. It is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual.