Earlier this year in the midst of Pride month and with everything I have learnt and continue to learn about the Black Lives Matter movement, diversity has been on my mind a lot. 🏳️🌈✊🏿 As part of the LGBTQ+ community, diversity has always been important to me, but over the years I’ve seen the word be used and abused and not given the power it deserves.
For me, diversity is an open door to an inspiring myriad of possibilities. Diversity is empowerment, because it means feeling less afraid of others who look, act or think differently to us and less afraid of ourselves when we think, feel or act differently to what is expected of us. It makes us more resilient as individuals and as a society.
Nature is the living proof of the value of diversity in practice. Nature’s beauty and strength lies in its rich variety. However, over the centuries we have bent nature to fit our standards of productivity and aesthetics to the detriment of the diversity that our environment needs to thrive. We have done the same with our own diversity. As a society, we cling to the images that we’ve decided are “best” and that we feel most comfortable with - we are living in a monoculture pop culture.
In our efforts to combat this, we have often settled for what we call token diversity. Token diversity is a dam that lets through only a carefully measured trickle, often as a well-meaning gesture to make companies and the media think they are doing what’s right. But this is not enough. Their numbers and statistics, their token black friend or gay couple are denying us the true richness of colour, beauty and love that diversity embodies. Only by tearing down the dam and allowing the river to run through can we create meaningful change.
There are more possibilities than we can possibly imagine, and our bodies, hearts and minds are crying for the freedom granted by true, wild diversity. 🌈 If we can truly embrace it - in nature and in ourselves - the future can only be brighter.