This year I finally got to take part in the Manchester Pride march. It was stunning; I enjoyed it so much and felt a real energy and excitement. I marched with my new Unitarian friends. It felt so good to be seen among a religious group that welcomes and indeed will marry LBGTQ+ people. The march was delayed for half an hour due to an evangelical Christian protest against it. This may well have added to the warmth of the reception we received on the march particularly from young people.
When we see some people as different or ‘other’ to our selves it can be the start of something not good, even toxic. Yes we all have differences around class, age, sex, race, gender, faith, disability and health. But these differences can be the basis of prejudice – conscious or unconscious. ‘Othering’ is one way of thinking about and catching hold of this moment. Think for a moment about the wonderful T shirt that says ‘Never kissed a Tory’. That is ‘othering’. There are some decent good Tory voters out there and even the odd MP. OK the T shirt is a joke but….
So welcoming different people rather than ‘othering’ them changes our faith groups, Bridge classes, workplaces etc. for the better. But it feels even more than that to me; when I stop ‘othering’ you I also stop ‘othering’ parts of myself.