Solidarity and Synchronicity

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At my last LGBT coffee meet I received an invitation to attend a local hatecrime event, set up by Cardiff-based charity Race Equality First (who arrange the coffee meets, along with other support activities). I was not especially in the mood – pessimism and dysphoria have been looming large of late – but I felt it would be a poor way to show appreciation for their efforts not to show my face, so with some reluctance I made the effort and dragged myself down to Cardiff City Stadium, where the conference was being held. A damn good decision…

It was an inspiring occasion, with speakers from various backgrounds focusing on their respective issues – including islamophobia, antisemitism, anti-immigration, homophobia, and transphobia – but with a core message of unity. Highlights included Councillor Geraint Hopkins (Rhondda Cynon Taff, Labour) giving a scathing and well-earned assault upon Sun columnist Katie Hopkins‘ infamous and Nazi-esque “cockroaches” slur (of dead immigrant children, mark you). Then there was Catherine Burton, REF trustee, regular of the coffee meets, and British Airways captain (just to prove that a trans person can excel in modern British society). Her speech, like many that day, chose to encompass wider issues than transphobia, which she – like me – has been fortunate in avoiding direct contact with (I too being an employee of a large company with a reputation and diversity record to maintain… though my actual work is nowhere near so glamorous). That in itself is an encouraging reflection on modern society, though the speakers were frank that in an ideal society, there would be no need for such conferences.

Still, I felt hugely encouraged to have attended, and in the informal closing stages had many friendly chats with the attendees, including a UNISON representative who reaffirmed the theme of the day that solidarity between marginalised groups is more threatening to those who would oppress them than those same groups working in isolation. Also, in a bizarre quirk of coincidence (or meaningful synchronicity, if you prefer), I bumped into one of my managers from work, who – I learned – is a “Hate Crime Champion”, acting on behalf of REF to create awareness of the organisation and report hatecrime as and where they encounter it. Suddenly, I feel doubly secure within my workplace, not to mention have gained a new level of respect for this manager. All rational scepticism aside, part of me feels I was definitely in the place I was intended to be today…

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2 thoughts on “Solidarity and Synchronicity

    • It is, and thankfully my husband has the same in his place of work. Though South Wales has no shortage of prejudiced people, the LGBT+ support network seems to be excellent. I just hope it can survive another five years of David Cameron…

      Liked by 1 person

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