We are born as babies, with little parts of our body, little breaths, little heart beats. But right from birth we are not all born the same. As we get older our own identity and uniqueness becomes more apparent. The journey this takes us on can for many be challenging.
As we move into childhood many of will receive confusing messages from our parents and carers, that will leave us feeling at odds with part of what we genuinely feel inside, something to this effect “don’t act like this…. don’t do this….don’t behave like this” and so on. When we move into our teen years these often subtle but powerful messages about what’s right an wrong, that we may have been exposed in our childhood, can often become a potential sauce of inner anxiety as we try to develop our identity and establish our self worth in society. For many people who do not fit into the everyday average human being, either physically, mentally or emotionally this can cause significant internal conflict. Those simple message we may have received from our parents start to create an integral tug of war. Added to these messages is the reinforcement that society brings with peer pressure and maybe societies shadow, hidden in its ability to subtly reinforce discrimination by affirming ways of being through the media.
So what if you are different and you want to be able to live a happy free life within society, you want to have friends, you want to be able to walk down the street wearing the dress or style of the sex you were not given at birth? What if you can’t see or walk or hear and you want to be able to do things yourself within out others stepping into help you? What if you feel differently and want to be able to express this without feeling guilty, bad or ashamed? What if your experiences in life have left you so confused about who you are at all but you also want to belong? These are just some of the what ifs.
The Cracks In The Walls Of Society
For many of us, as we look deeper into this world we we live in, as we get past adolescents and move towards maturity, we start to see the cracks in the walls, those hidden messages from childhood, and their potential to become established hidden prejudices within pockets of society. However we still have to live with these prejudices and living often means everyday, continually. So if we happen to be someone who does not fit the average person, who looks, experiences, feels or thinks in a different way as we get older we have to work hard to find ourselves within, to love ourselves for who we are. This takes time, it’s a journey, often a hard journey and for many a cruel and crushing journey, that when put against the pressures of society, can leave some people unable to complete without emotional and mental health issues taking their toll.
Article 8: The Right To Our Private Life
However society has a big role to play in this, it’s the hidden messages from our role models, such as our parents that set the seed, and the reinforced messages from society that water that seed and so on. Fortunately within our legal system, The Human Rights Act, within the UK, we have the right to a private life. This right to a private life set out in article 8. So what does our legislation do to any seed that is sown and then watered. It’s true that article 8 can often be overlooked within our communities and the larger world as a whole. A bit like the brambles and nettles taking over in a neglected garden. So maybe it’s time to affirm article 8.
• Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.
• There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
So what does this actually mean? Well in a nutshell it means that we have the right to be ourselves, as long as we don’t hurt others or society within this. However maybe this needs clarifying. The Equality and Human Rights Commission go further to clarify and state the following..
The concept of private life also covers your right to develop your personal identity and to forge friendships and other relationships. This includes a right to participate in essential economic, social, cultural and leisure activities.
This above statement helps to more clearly address that a private life means living our private life outside the internal and maybe sometimes isolated world just within us.
Maybe it’s important to highlight that most importantly and powerfully our legal system, is clear, we have the right, as long as we don’t abuse others or the world we live in, to be ourselves, whoever we are and however we choose to be, and to live this life within society freely without being discriminated against. This important peace of legislation maybe needs to be bought onto the front burner, within society, within homes and families, within schools, within community and the workplace. Go for it Article 8!!