I was speaking with a university academic friend at the end of last week, and he asked me… with everything that is going on between me and the Metropolitan Police (My Fight for Justice) – how I kept the ‘wolf from the door’? The fact is I can’t.
I haven’t wrote anything since last week, as Alex and I have had the harsh reality check of having to give up our home and look for another smaller place, which couldn’t have come at a worst time for us both.
When we moved into our current home together, we had the benefit of us both being on salaries, so we lived within our means. As a direct result of me telling the police as to what caused my illness with depression at work (racism and homophobia), my pay was stopped – as a way of silencing and preventing me from challenging the discrimination I had faced.
Alex was then made redundant, so things got really bad, and there is only so long savings can last. Anyway, I write this blog not as a moan, but I guess a warning to others… of the consequences of your actions when standing up for your rights. It might not go as you think it may!
I guess when I told my employer as to what made me ill, I knew it wasn’t going to hold its arms out to me and say ‘everything’s fine’, ‘I’ll look after you’ – as by opening my mouth I was challenging the system, by being honest and telling them what my GP had diagnosed me with. I lost on a few counts.
Having equal opportunity policies which look great on paper, along with the matching ‘diversity’ posters are pointless when they stand for nothing, and I’m being literal. I made the choice to challenge the discrimination I believe was and is unfair because equality and fairness are instilled in me, these are something I cannot change – despite how hard people may want me to. I have wrote numerous times, these are because of the upbringing My Mum gave me.
I know I probably will and have lost friends by going against the grain in speaking out, but I again ask what would others do if the shoe was on the other foot? I can’t pretend I live in Disneyland where everything is magical, because I don’t. I know this sounds harsh (even for me), but some gay people I know have demonstrated their lack of understanding of the issues of race discrimination faced by ethnic minority communities.
We all see and hear of injustice everyday, not just to do with race or sexuality, an example being a child who cannot go to the school his or her parents want him or her to go to, because they live in the wrong area or haven’t got the ‘right’ background. We all have our own struggles. I’m no longer prepared to ‘fit in’ though, just to get ahead like others can who do fit in.
Despite me experiencing the financial effects of standing up to racism and homophobia at work, putting to one side the mental stress, I have been fortunate to have a supportive and loving partner in Alex. We have both been on this journey together (to hell and back), from having everything as such (through hard work) to nothing, through no fault of our own. I now appreciate things more though.
If I had my time again, would I do it again? Yes. Beyond money and other materialistic stuff, I have to be able to live with myself. The choices I make now, like everyone else, will affect me for the rest of my life. Yes, in some ways money does make the world go around, but I want to sleep at night knowing I have done the right thing for me, and I suppose can look at myself in the mirror.
As my struggles against discrimination become more public, with the impending public tribunal of my experiences, I continue to be surprised at just how many people (some I do not know) have wished me well. I don’t know why, maybe I connect with them or maybe they see that my challenges are real, being fort for the right reasons. Whatever it is, it makes me feel humble.
I commented the other day that the majority of people who have offered me support and wisdom, ironically are white and straight. This says a lot about them and me. I don’t live my days by my race or sexuality, but when it is discriminated against or I am made to feel worthless, it doesn’t mean I’m going to lie down and let others walk over me.
For those who find the issue of discrimination, and in particular race uncomfortable including those gay people I know – I believe it’s more of a question as to what you’re not saying, rather than what I am saying. There shouldn’t be a ‘them and us’, but in reality there is.
My race (and the racism which goes with it) is something I ‘cannot’ change even if I wanted to, my sexuality is something I can choose not to disclose, if I wanted to. My obvious marking as a mixed-race person, is my colour – this makes me stand out.
Racism cannot be compared with homophobia, like sexism cannot be compared with disability discrimination. They are all different, each having their own detrimental affects. For me personally, my race has often been a bar to me achieving my full potential or having to try harder, above and beyond that of my sexuality. This has been ‘my’ reality, of living in Britain.
This has been one of those Monday morning ‘View from the Bottom’ blogs, where I’ve had to write it in my underwear, because it’s too hot!
If you’re in the UK, enjoy the beautiful weather we are having, which doesn’t come around often…
Ciao, Max x
Live Healthy, Laugh Often & Love Yourself!
© Kevin Maxwell Film, Media & Performance 2011 – Published by My Mum