Saturday, 5 April 2014
Most of society are not bigots, but being overly zelous in the name of equality can make you an abuser
This week we saw the resignation of Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich after an intense campaign from Mozilla employees and some equality campaigners calling for his resignation. You might therefore expect that Brendan Eich had come out and banned the employment of disabled people at Mozilla or labelled all gay people as paedophiles or other abuse towards a minority group? In fact Brendan was being condemned for making a small donation to a campaign which supported the idea of traditional marriage in the USA, a donation made before he even became CEO at Mozilla.
As a bisexual and trans woman working as a diversity consultant I passionately campaigned for many years alongside other equality campaigners for the introduction of equal marriage in the UK and work hard to promote the culture of respect, engagement and freedom where ever I go. It is for these very values that I speak out now to say the abuse Brendan Eich has received and his ultimate forced resignation is not a victory for equality but instead a defeat for freedom and simply the vicious backlash of some who believe if you don’t agree with their perspective that gives them the right to label huge chunks of society as bigots and homophobes.
What is the world coming to where holding a view not even passionately expressed but merely the small donation to a cause results in you losing your right to stay in a job or to not be vilified or spat at in the street? I do not spend long nights planning campaigns and diversity training to just deliver a world where others freedoms are oppressed simply for my equality goals to be delivered, equality through oppression is no equality at all.
I find the culling of badgers intensely cruel however I know that others disagree and believe it is an important measure in the protection of UK farms and livestock. Does my strongly held views on badger culls and my view that the practice is cruel and inhumane mean I would never employee someone for example as an equality trainer who held the opposing view? No it does not, as to create a world where only my views are accepted is one to exclude the talents and skills of others and to believe that I never make mistakes, which as humans we all make. Diversity of views and constructive debate within the workplace is a positive not a negative and ensures your outcome is one which has been tested and contributed to by the broadest possible skill sets and perspectives.
Are some people who oppose equal marriage homophobic? Yes they are. Have some of the campaigners against equal marriage been abusive and upsetting towards those that have campaigned for it? Yes they have with the describing of gay and bisexual people as paedophiles and victims of abuse some of the views expressed have been beyond the pale and I have condemned in the strongest possible terms. But are all those that oppose equal marriage homophobic? No they are definitely not. Many make their case in as respectful and as engaging a way as many of those people in the equal marriage campaign have done basing their argument around their religious view of how marriage is carried out as they believe it is not about the state definition but that marriage is an actual spiritual union and thus a decision for spiritual leaders and not the state. Does this mean they are right and I agree with them? No again I strongly believe in the right for all people in the UK to gain the benefits of marriage and will continue to support this right being extended to other nations around the world.
I have been in the past, I am right now and I will continue to be a campaigner for equality, fairness and freedom in society not just for those who I agree with but for everyone. I believe passionately that a society without debate, a society without freedom and a society without justice for all and not just for the few is a society based on oppression and not the equality I and others are campaigning for.
Stop the hate and start celebrating the love is my message to all!