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  • Writer's pictureTrish Driver

Words matter. I mean they REALLY matter.

How did we get here? This last fortnight has seen the murder of Brianna Ghey, a young trans girl; a young black girl violently assaulted outside her school whilst people around her did NOTHING; a hotel housing refugees as the target of violent protests; and what feels like story after story of male violence and harassment against women, whether it’s the murder of Emma Pattison; the arrest of Andrew Tate; or a slew of complaints from employees about sexual harassment at McDonalds.

Boys will be boys...

All these terrible events show us that we have to recognise the power of words – our own, and the words chosen by people in power. Whether it's old-fashioned statements like "boys will be boys" being used to justify poor behaviour, or high-profile individuals using dehumanising language about vulnerable people, things HAVE to change. Our politicians have to stop using damaging rhetoric about marginalised people, whether it’s the former Prime Minister’s revolting and racist comments about “watermelon smiles” or women in burkas “looking like letterboxes” or the likes of Priti Patel and Suella Braverman talking about “swarms” of refugees - our politicians should be setting a much better example. And it’s not just politicians – whilst our government is using the trans community as a political football, the likes of JK Rowling continue to use outdated and harmful stereotypes, as well as her undisputed skill with words to spawn a wave of hate and damage to a group of people already marginalised, and significantly more likely to be a victim of crime than a perpetrator. We all have a responsibility to act here. We must choose our own words carefully, and influence those around us positively. We need to “call out” those in power when they use dehumanising language and nonsense tropes. We need to vote with our feet, our remotes, and our buying power when news outlets report irresponsibly, fanning the flames of bigotry. Because it does all add up – and with enough active #allyship, we can turn the tides and change the world for the better. #RippleEffect


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