The Walls We Crashed Through

Long Live the walls we crashed through

2019 is a funny place. Support for human rights for everyone is at an all-time high, but bigotry still lurks and rears its ugly head. Arguably, there’s never been more support for women’s rights, for lgbtq rights, for the rights of people of colour, for equality for everyone. But that support doesn’t amount to changing the world, because the people who are most often in support of equality aren’t the people running the world. I say this as a generalisation – there are, of course, politicians and world leaders doing their best to make the world a better place – but the bad outweigh the good in many instances.

America, a big powerhouse in the world’s political landscape, seems to be living in a dystopia. Between a newspaper editor in Alabama calling on the Ku Klux Klan to lynch Democrats in February (of this year, definitely not the 1800s) to marital rape still being legal in states like North Carolina, to the anti-abortion bill in Georgia banning abortions beyond the six-week mark of pregnancy – before many women even notice they’ve missed their period. To even an article in The New York Times in February of 2019, stating that thousands of immigrant children had been sexually abused at government-funded detention facilities in the United States.

There are countries in the world where women don’t have citizenship. There’s a country in Europe where if a woman harms a man who sexually assaulted her (in self-defence), she gets a life of imprisonment, and he gets a slap on the wrist. There are countries in the world where a young girl is a bride and a mother before she is even fifteen.

The MeToo movement is one I wholeheartedly support, as is HeForShe and every other equal rights activism movement on behalf of women. Because it’s a brilliant thing that we’re talking about it and that we’re fighting against it. But my God, isn’t it a terrifying thought that whilst opinions have changed and evolved, women are still dying in fields holding their stillborn child because of their lack of adequate healthcare.

It’s a terrifying world to be in as a woman. I’m simultaneously shown how strong and wonderful women can be, in any outfit they so choose; but the mute button can still be pressed at any time on my beliefs. It’s a terrifying world where I’m sat in my room, studying at a brilliant university, but Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head for attempting to receive an education. A terrifying world where experiences of being unable to walk home alone at night as a woman are universal.

Loving someone of the same gender in many countries is still illegal. Only last year did India legalise homosexuality. But there are still countries in the world where loving who you love makes you a target and causes all types of violence. There is, of course, nothing wrong with loving someone of the same gender, but in 2019, that sentiment isn’t shared with everyone. Even within the UK some have their prejudices against same-sex relationships. The whole world seems like a nightmare where some want to

pretend loving in the way which isn’t ‘traditional’ to them is impossible.

What a strange world. A world where pride flags of the lgbtq community are both celebrated and burned. A world where two women kissing is acceptable when it’s fetishized by creepy old men for music videos, but not when it happens between two consenting people in love. A world where ‘coming out’ is still mutually exclusive with being lgbtq and being heterosexual is the ‘norm’. A world where hate crime is still so common. A world where being yourself is both being celebrated and being banned.

Imagine being pulled over and having to be scared that something might happen to you because of the colour of your skin. Imagine being a part of a world where your culture is used as fancy dress but is ignored when you’re fighting to save it. Imagine being shot by the people who are meant to stop the bad things happening because you’re deemed a danger based on your ethnicity. Imagine being in a world where because you are a person of colour, you are constantly watched over. A world where because of the colour of your skin, the bar is equally so much higher and so much lower. The bar dictating whether you are deemed a ‘revolutionary’ or a ‘criminal’. Imagine a world where only one actress of African descent has won an Academy Award for Best Actress. Imagine a world where Black Panther was the first superhero film with primarily actors of African descent, but only in 2018 did this happen.

Imagine what a ridiculous, harsh world that would be. But that world isn’t imaginary. It’s the world we’re living in. Right now.

2019 is as bizarre as it is incredible. As terrifying as it is remarkable.

Don’t make the world scarier, make it kinder. Be nice to people. Question your prejudices. Stop making arguments for the sake of arguments and start making arguments on the matters that really count.

The world shouldn’t be ruled by those who do so simply for power. Power means hunger. Don’t feed the beast, fight it.

‘I had the time of my life fighting dragons with you’.

By Tirion Davies