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Diversity in Modern Society


Younger kids don’t see “the pride flag”, they see a rainbow. For older children (and adults) the rainbow flag sends a specific message - and this project is specifically to address issues that LGBT+ children and young people have in particular.


Our experience so far is the complete opposite. And when it comes to kids, this specific message is absolutely aimed at ALL kids. It gives those who identify as LGBT+ (or who are questioning whether they do) a sense of safety and security but, and just as importantly, it contributes to changing the overall attitude amongst all kids about tolerance and inclusion - and today’s kids are tomorrow’s adults.


Ah ok so it’s only for the LGBT kids. I though it was for everyone. My mistake.


I think that’s the point you’re missing Chris.

Sure, the target is LGBT but does that mean it’s also not for everyone else? Is there anything in that statement that anyone would really disagree with?

(Looks like Mike expanded his post while I was typing)


This isn’t really for me. My kids will be taught to respect everyone in the same way I was, regardless of their sex, colour, religion or sexuality - or disability, social standing, the clothes they wear or whether they are poor or a just a bit weird.

Where I’m from, the adults need educated as well as their kids. They will see this flag and dismiss it. Not everyone is on the Pride wagon. It pisses a lot of people off.

For me it’s these people who need the message most because it’s their kids who are going to school and bullying those who don’t fit.

I was the type at school who always stuck up for the loners and those who were pushed outside the group, and I always have. Probably in a different way that a lot of campaigners etc do now. And it’s brought me a lot of trouble at times, none of which I regret because it was the right thing to do.

But there’s a lot of kids out there who have parents who were the bullies when I was in school and their kids are often as bad if not worse.

It’s these people who need changed and that’s where I think the Pride flag may have the opposite effect than the one desired.


I doubt any marketing, any design, no matter how skillful, could change them going by your description alone.

Also, people have to want to change - that’s surely one of the points the last several hundred posts have gone over, isn’t it? Trying to force it doesn’t work.

Encourage? Perhaps, but there still has to be that willingness to self-examine and then change. In your experience, is that there? Is there anything to work with?

It shouldn’t be that one campaign tries to do everything, it has to be targeted to have effect. Others then address other areas / audiences.


Respect where it’s due, none is due here. Imagine someone saying they’re not on board for the “civil rights thing” - those people are wrong.

I’m not about to bash them on the head for it but it’s completely irresponsible for any decent person to just accept it as a difference of opinion. You might say I’m being intolerant, but the whole tolerance argument is about people’s sexuality and race, not their ideas.


I suspect there are few people posting here who understand the complexities of this, for all children, better than I do to be perfectly honest.

No, this isn’t a complete solution for all the problems kids and young people face; this project is one small, specific piece of work tackling a particular issue. It is absolutely part of wider work that promotes attitudes of inclusion and understanding regardless of what the specific issue is - but one of the beauties of work like this, especially with younger children, is that that is something that often makes natural sense to them. And yes, addressing issues amongst adults is a different thing, but again, it all inter-relates. A separate strand of this project is about addressing intolerant attitudes and beliefs which we know still persist amongst our staff. Another strand looks at how we specifically support those who are growing up in home environments which are particularly hostile.

A friend and colleague is the national lead for the piece of work looking at the impact of inequality on children’s health in the UK. That’s one of the single biggest unifying factors for why our health outcomes for young people in the UK are less than many of our European peers in general terms. Each of us does what we can - and the sum of our total is often more than the individual parts together. But it is incremental. Change starts somewhere.

(And no-one is forced to take part in this - participation is entirely voluntary)


I don’t agree that people can’t change. Society as a whole has changed massively over the last 10 -20 years which means attitudes have also.

I think where this will work is hopefully catching kids at a young age, but the problem you have is the message they are getting at home.

Where I think it doesn’t work is that everyone who is supportive of this campaign already doesn’t need it.

There has to be a way to reach out to those who do need their eyes opened and educated. And the pride flag is going to have people going into shut down pretty much off that bat.


People don’t know something until they learn andrew.

No-one is born intolerant of others. Pretty much all these behaviours are learned behaviours.

Sorry I’m struggling to type cohesive responses the kids are running wild at the moment.


That’s where people like me come in. I did say I’m not going to beat them up!


It’s not just a message of changing minds though.

One of Mike’s colleagues pointed out that a distressed youngster approached him to speak about issues of their sexuality because the badge indicated they’d be supportive and understand. A bit like a more serious version of if you saw a guy at work with a Babylon 5 t-shirt and Doctor Who badge they’ll be receptive to you talking about nerdy sci-fi stuff.


Oh, and sorry, I meant to specifically reply to this as well - no, it’s not intended primarily for you, you’re right.

This is intended to be something that tackles issues relating to diversity, inclusion and tolerance, with a specific focus on how those apply in the context of people who identify as LGBT+, in the British healthcare environment. And, as above, it’s entirely voluntary.

We’re not trying to change the world - just to start to change our bit of it.

There’s an excellent project called the TIE Campaign which is doing something similar in education in Scotland, and Stonewall do work that cuts across all sectors … and for other groups, there are plenty of initiatives and organisations doing parallel work with different focus. The beauty is that the core message ties together, whether the background is a rainbow flag or not.

And even though this initiative isn’t aimed at you, or those wider groups, I would hope that it helps to contribute to that wider conversation, about all the ways we can tackle all of the problems, and how we can draw together strands which helps to deliver improvement.


What pisses me off is kids growing up feeling scared and alone just because they’re different. What pisses me off is kids being bullied because someone thinks they’re gay. What pisses me off is having someone shout “faggot” at me in the street because I wear a particular t-shirt, or hold someone’s hand. What pisses me off is that we still need Pride because, as much as things have changed for the better over the course of my lifetime, there is still a very ugly and corrosive strand of homophobia that simmers under the surface - and for those who identify as trans, that situation is where issues relating to those who identify as gay was 20 years ago.

And clearly the often flamboyantly over the top elements of Pride, like the signature parades, aren’t for everyone - another point Hannah Gadsby makes in “Nanette” incidentally (and, as a classical introvert, one I sympathise hugely with) - but the underlying message reaches out to many who need to hear it, and to know that whatever their way of being different in this respect is, it is to a degree protected and included under that umbrella. Again, how we make sure that we reach out to everyone is a major part of this project (the really challenging area for our patch of London is working out how we do support those kids who may be in particularly hostile home environments with respect to them being able to identify as different in relation to their sexuality and gender)

I know how much good something as simple and powerful as the rainbow flag can do for those who need to see something like that in their lives. The story Gareth mentions is just one of many that have followed from the pilot work for this project which has been taking place over the last 8 months. We’ve had very little negative comeback … and what there has been has usually helped us identify where individuals and organisations need more specific support to understand why something as small and simple as a pin badge has triggered a negative response.

(We have had some more constructive criticism, all of which has then been folded in to make sure that the next stage, the extended pilot, is better than what came first, and we will do the same as part of the evaluation of this stage before we spread wider … because that’s how we get things right. Bit by bit)


Yup. Much harder but much more effective. Societies problems are like a virus. There are those who attack and cause harm, those who are victims. You can apply medicine to the victims, but the harder work is to sort out the attackers.

That’s why I’ve reluctantly been trying to speak for the angry white man. They don’t garner much sympathy in this thread but I’ve tried to suggest they have their own problems and challenges, their own suicide and depression issues, and in general their feeling of being attacked isn’t garnering many positive results. It’s a blame culture that’s dividing society rather than healing it. So rather than identifying the root cause of so much animosity in today’s world and trying to address it, so many of these things instead feel like they’re playing into a culture war. Even a guy like Peterson, who’s doing his bit to help these people, is relentlessly attacked.

I suspect I saw more hate and anger in my youth that most people, and you living in Glasgow I suspect isn’t far behind. The things that made a difference were the things that brought groups together rather than defined their differences. Hate is teach to learn and hard to unlearn, but it can be unlearned, and I think the method is usually the same - togetherness not division.


Which is exactly why a big part of the solution is to start as early as possible, with children, to help reduce the likelihood of them growing up to be the people who are more likely to be a part of the problem than the solution - as you say, emphasising similarities, not differences. When a social issue makes natural sense to a young child, it’s often a good sign about what we should be aiming for. As has been said, kids aren’t born with these intolerances and attitudes built in.

That’s clearly a single element, and one that can not be universally applied. But, again, it comes back to the metaphor about climate and weather. Changing the climate in a positive direction won’t prevent every extreme weather event; but overall it would help to make everyone’s weather a little bit better on average.

And that’s about as much - and as little - as I think we can ever ask, for most people to contribute to the small, individual changes that build into something bigger. There are clearly lots of parents - like Chris - and lots of schools, that naturally build this into how they raise and support children as they grow and develop. But we know that there are equally many environments where that isn’t the case; the Stonewall School Report, for the UK, makes sobering reading of the 21st century experience of kids and young people who identify as LGBT+ in British schools today … but there are signs of improvement since their previous Report, and I’ll take that as a good sign that progress continues in a positive direction.


I think one issue is comparing individuals to groups. If someone is talking about the challenges faced by blacks, Hispanics, the LGBTQ community, Muslims, or women responding that there are white men who have it just as bad or worse shifts the point of comparison. There are absolutely individuals who have it worse or have faced greater challenges. But white men, as a group, are doing fine, whether the metric is wealth, political power, legal access geographical mobility, education, etc. In order to get at the reasons for that and find ways to address them, it’s necessary to look at the larger (group) comparison and avoid making it about the individual. Unfortunately, people across the political and social spectrum have a hard time doing that.


On the other side statements like that dismisses the challenges a white guy might face. And as I’ve tried to point out, the target audience to change is the white guys more than the victims. You support one, but really the cure is with the other group. That’s why I don’t think targeted, minority based charitable interventions (or even conversations) are as effective as saying the same things but leaving what makes us different out of it. We’ve got to take a moment to see how divided society has become recently, and have the wherewithal to question where things might be going wrong.

I grew up in the most divided environment I’ve ever encountered (I do think parts of Chicago are clearly right at that same level though). The events that broke barriers, that healed what ailed each group, were sports days and discos and fairs and so on that were completely neutral. Where the defining difference between each of us wasn’t raised. Where we just got to be people. No flags, not colors, no chants, no tribalism.

I admire what Mike is doing, he’s doing his part to make the world better and it’s a great thing. I think it’s a great idea to help young people see that there’s adults just like them, adults who will support them, and who will listen if they need to talk. It’d be very powerful if kids could see doctors and nursers as healers beyond taking care of illnesses, but as healers of all things. Doctors and nurses are probably the only adults kids really get to know beyond family and teachers (and schools have struggled to handle the bullying issue effectively). I think it’s such a good idea I think it should be expanded to go beyond one targeted group of kids, it should be something all kids can feel they can take advantage of. An ‘I care’ campaign so kids can talk to the doctor or nurse in confidence. My mother was a nurse for over 30 years, she counseled and supported so many people that there wasn’t a day that went by when I was young that she wouldn’t be stopped and thanked. It’s individuals like her that change the community overall. She, a Catholic nurse, befriended so many Protestants that they in turn learned to see Catholics in a different light. For many she was the only Catholic they knew.



A good article with a bad headline. But it might grab more clicks that way.


I honestly can’t see how saying “But white men, as a group, are doing fine, whether the metric is wealth, political power, legal access, geographical mobility, education, etc.” can be read as dismissive of individual challenges (hence the qualifier, “as a group”). There’s been plenty of conversation in this thread that revolved around the assumption that offense is something someone takes, not something that is given - that if a trans person is misgendered and gets offended, that’s on them for being overly sensitive and choosing to get offended. Meanwhile we’re talking about changing an entire discourse surrounding finding the root causes of inequality on the basis of individual white men ignoring the context of the conversation and deciding that it’s dismissive of their challenges, even when explicitly stated otherwise. There’s a disconnect there.

And, very often, it’s used to derail conversations. To be clear, I don’t think that’s what you’re doing, or what’s happening here. But it’s the idea that 99% of the time you hear the phrase “all lives matter” it’s in response to and refutation of the phrase “black lives matter” when the overall conversation is about police violence against the black community. It’s the kind of thing that fosters the idea within marginalized communities that conversations always have to center around the concerns of white men, or that white men often attempt to dictate the terms of the conversation.

I do agree that creating and cultivating spaces that are as neutral as possible is important. It’s one of the things I try to do in my classroom, and one of the strengths of a university with as diverse a population as mine (we’re located in downtown Detroit, adjacent to the city with the largest Muslim community in the US, and surrounded by affluent and working class white suburbs, including one with a large LGBTQ community). Issues of structural inequality and oppression come up and we address them - often with my making the same distinction that I made here between the realities for individuals, as well as how that might differ for the larger group. It’s not always easy, and I’m certainly not going to claim that I’m always successful at making the distinction clear, but for me it’s the most balanced way to approach it.