I’ve been meaning to write this blog for a while and a conversation between two friends on Twitter reminded me that I still hadn’t written it the other day.
With the recent referendum and the news, it’s really made me think about my identity. During part of a recent training session I hosted, we talked about the importance of identity and how identity can help shape responses and a person’s resilience to things that happen.
I’ve never really thought about my identity. If I think about it now I can put my identity into those little boxes that you get as part of an application. I’m white British, female, heterosexual, Christian and I fit into that 25-35 years old box.
If I really think about those things, I start thinking whether they impact on my view about the world. I identify as female and I’m becoming more and more aware about what that may mean and how attitudes may change because I’m female. I’m conscious in my volunteering job that I have to work really hard to treat everybody the same regardless of gender but the fact is that gender does impact on attitudes. I’d like it not to be part of my identity but it is.
Age? Not too much part of my identity. In my head I can do everything I used to be able to do in my 20’s. I feel more confident, more settled and more sure of myself in my 30’s.
Religion? Perhaps, maybe more than I care to admit. Recently I’ve felt the pull more towards going to church again. I haven’t been since my mum was killed so that’s a long time!
Sexuality? I’d like to think it doesn’t have any significance but recent news has shown that it does.
And finally being British. I never identified strongly as a European although I voted to Remain. Part of me thought that I should identify more as European because now that it’s been lost, I’m even more certain about the fact that I was right to vote Remain. I am proud to be British though and I do feel that is a strong part of my identity. I know Britain isn’t perfect, yet I’m in a position where I see things on the news about other countries and the fact my husband cannot return home because of militia in his country protesting. It’s true that I think, sometimes, that fact doesn’t mean Britain shouldn’t strive to be better. That Britain should be leading the way in basically just being brilliant and treating inhabitants the same. I agree. Yet, recently that makes me think that I should be different. I should be not just being proud of being British but also want to make Britain better.
I see a Union Jack flag or an English flag nowadays and I associate it with racism. Pegida/EDL… they have all reclaimed the flag. Painting it across their faces or using flags as a demonstration to say that they are proud to be British and we should “Get Britain back to being our country”. I agree but in a different way. I’m proud to be British and welcome those who come here fleeing injustice, war and persecution. I’m proud to be British and welcome talent and skills from around the world to help make our country better. I’m proud to be British. I’m claiming back the flag because the flag should never be used by groups promoting prejudiced views. They should be promoted by people like you, like me.
So this is my flag, my country, my identity. Welcoming cultures, views, beliefs and opinions everyday.