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30 May 2022

Diversity Lens - Issue 127

Welcome to Diversity Lens.

Diversity Lens strives to bring you a curated selection of diverse news stories each week related to equality and social change. We aim to be your alternative news source, providing you with the news you might have missed or the perspective you might not have noticed.

News cycles and the media have a culture of fear-mongering and headline generating that obscures the wider context - you won't find that here. The only motivation we have is to inform, educate and work towards a society of greater compassion. Diversity Lens is pausing next week for the bank holiday weekend, but we'll back as usual for the following Friday - we hope you all have a restful break.
"Monkeypox isn’t like HIV, but gay and

bisexual men are at risk of

unfair stigma"
The Conversation
"Strange new infectious diseases that the public is unfamiliar with, such as monkeypox, can generate a disproportionate degree of fear in the population." This has proved even more so in the post-covid age.

Monkeypox may be unfamiliar to the Western world, but the disease is endemic to 11 African nations. The infection is often mild and clears up within weeks. This outbreak is the first time it has spread in the community outside Africa, with the highest number currently being seen in the UK.

Many cases reported at this time are in "gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men" which has been widely reported in the media, often carelessly. There is potential for an incredibly concerning homophonic narrative here which we must mitigate against.
Monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease, but passes through close physical contact. This means that who you have sex with is not a determining factor - the reason behind the higher cases in men who have sex with men is likely just a result of their social network. Not to mention, gay and bisexual men as a group tend to engage well with health services, allowing us to spot trends of symptoms, while others do not.

We need to stop this mis-portrayal of monkeypox in its tracks. Inaccurate stigma of certain groups feeds into racism, homophobia, and undermines efforts to contain and treat infection. The fear-mongering of news and social media has a huge part to play in this rhetoric, so make sure you're mindful of where you source your news.
Text: IN OTHER NEWS. Background image shows picture of protestors.
MPs’ debate on non-binary recognition was a mess of transphobia and fear-mongering
On Monday (23 May), MPs were scheduled to discuss a petition with over 140,000 signatures to make non-binary a legally recognised gender identity in the UK. However, the discussion appeared to have strayed from the topic towards a more harmful narrative. Tory MP Nick Fletcher, urged parents to "push back" if their child identifies as non-binary or trans, citing “it would be hugely detrimental". Several trans organisations and LGBTQIA+ campaigners have criticised the MPs. Kai O'Doherty, Head of Strategy and Research for Mermaids, stated, “It’s hurtful to hear people hijack a positive petition and use it to misrepresent and attack our community."

"Years of progress on LGBTQ+ policy that was achieved under successive administrations has been rapidly eroded by a UK government that has taken its foot off the pedal".

Executive director of Stonewall, Nancy Kelley

Billie Eilish: Living with Tourette's is 'very exhausting'
Billie Eilish, a 20-year-old pop star, opens up about her experience with Tourette's (TS). TS is a disorder characterised by uncontrollable sounds and movements known as tics. According to Tourette's Action, more than 300,000 children and adults in the UK live with TS. Billie explains that when she experiences tics, people do not always react positively. While she doesn't experience them while performing, she has been seen displaying them during interviews. However Billie hasn't been discouraged from talking about Tourette's and her speaking out helps to normalise the condition.
Prejudices that led to witch-hunts still affect women today, says historian
While witch-hunts may feel like a relic of an age long, long ago, historian Lucy Worsley argues that women still experience the same feelings of prejudice from men. Reminiscent of 16th and 17th century sentiments, women who are "outspoken" or "odd-seeming" are more likely targets for men's rage. Someone who may have been deemed a witch several centuries ago, might in the present day vernacular be deemed a 'difficult woman'. Worsely's four-part TV series on witch-hunts is currently airing on BBC 2. 

"Anyone who has ever been put down as a ‘difficult’ woman hears a distant echo of the past.”

‘This is a generational moment’: civil rights group for black Britons launches
Black Equity Organisation aims to "advance justice and equity for black people in Britain". The first national civil rights group of its kind boasts David Lammy, Dame Vivian Hunt and David Olusoga among its Trustees. Their motivations for setting up the group cite George Floyd, but also Windrush, Grenfell, and most recently Child Q. Their approach to tackling systemic racism in the UK will lean on collecting empirical data on the system-wide prejudice Black Britons face today - such as within schools and housing.

“We don’t want to be apologetic about using the language of institutional systemic barriers facing black Britons, because the data tells its own story”

Text: ENTER THE WORK SPHERE. Background image shows picture of protestors.

This week, we’re excited to feature The Football Association in our inclusive employer spotlight! They are dedicated to promoting and developing every level of the game and committed to using their influence across English football to create a game free from discrimination.

With an EDI strategy running through 2024, there has never been a better time to join the FA and decide the future of football - inclusively. Find out more on Diversifying!

Claims that girls have a 'natural' aversion to physics are harmful
Women have made countless significant contributions to the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) field, yet a warped belief persists that "science is a subject for boys and girls lack the aptitude to study or work in STEM fields." Katharine Birbalsingh, the Head of Michaela Community School in London, stated that girls in her school had a "natural" dislike to physics since it requires "difficult mathematics" that they "would rather not undertake." Empirical evidence demonstrates that girls are just as capable as boys within STEM, in fact in 2014, GCSE test results demonstrated that girls surpassed boys in maths and science. Perhaps the real issue is adults perpetuating harmful gender stereotypes that stifles girls and bolsters boys in their abilities.
One in four women of colour have experienced racial slurs at work, report finds
It's easy to believe that overt racism such as slurs would never feature in a work environment in 2022. However, research by The Fawcett Society and The Runnymede Trust says otherwise. Three in four women of colour endure racism at work today, with one in four experiencing slurs. This evidence does not point to one or two anomalies, but the structural racism that is still ingrained in our society. In practicality, this means a kind of "mental gymnastics" is done by many non-white employees in order to fit in; for instance, a staggering 61% of respondents reported "changing one or more key aspect of their identity to feel more accepted at work". One in five have even changed their name.

"What a waste of those women’s time and energy – we need workplaces that respect and celebrate everyone’s individuality”

Jemima Olchawksi, CEO, Fawcett Society

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