A couple of weeks ago, I did something which, at the time, felt enormously risky. I lead an experiential session on diversity for the Interfaith Foundation that ordained me.
The reason doing so felt as acutely vulnerable as it did goes something like this: Diversity is an arena where, especially as a white person raised in western culture, failure is guaranteed. There are no two ways about it; fuck ups are inevitable from my particular privileged vantage point. Besides which, inclusion looks different to different people, so there’s no “getting it right” for everyone. And yet diversity is also an arena I believe we have to be willing to step up and into, in order to really have a shot at creating welcoming, inclusive, and safer spaces.
As if this wasn’t enough, the subject is one that feels profoundly personal. Certainly, diversity is something I care deeply about as a practitioner; I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating on a diversity guide for professionals in my field over the last few months, and the topic of how to create more inclusive spaces within the limits of my resources is one I wrestle with on a regular basis. But more than that, having grown up outside the UK, and received my fair share of “go back to where you came from” messages; and having more recent experience of being a gender non-conforming person navigating heteronormative culture; diversity matters to me in a way that runs deep.
So there I was, sharing something I cared passionately about, but could not possibly claim to be an expert in, and which has the potential to cut me to the quick, raise old scars, and leave me feeling exposed and vulnerable.
Not entirely unlike opening up to intimacy, in other words. (more…)