As the festive season is upon us, and 2008 draws to a close, this episode is intended as a parting thought for the year.
Unless they are very lucky, most of the kinds of people we focus upon in Equality, Diversity and Human Rights will have had a close encounter of some kind with discrimination. Ideally that experience would make everyone that extra bit sensitive about respecting the differences of others. Unfortunately that’s not always the case. Firsthand experience of hurt doesn’t necessarily make better people.
People from some ethnic backgrounds may express homophobic views. Some lesbian or gay people may express racist views. It can seem at times as though people with evangelical religious beliefs might be intolerant of just about everyone other than themselves. Disputes can extend even within communities who, while distinct, experience similar forms of discrimination.
Nobody ever emerges well from these affairs. People behave badly on all sides. The in-fighting detracts from the business of tackling wider issues. Hostilities alienate friends and allies. They sap energy and lead to disillusioned and bruised people disengaging altogether.
But if these disputes can sometimes feel like war then it's worth remembering that it takes two to make an eventual truce.
Not all truces last, of course. Yet even a brief halt can allow common humanity to be recognised and highlight the pointlessness of the fray. The setting here is the multiply-divided LGBT community, but it could be any.