When to call it Progress?

Last week British media was full of the news that the House of Commons had voted in favour of the Marriage (Same-Sex) Bill; arguably a massive and progressive step in recognising equality for all. But is this just another thing we as society does to think we’ve made progress? After a movie extravaganza involving both Django Unchained and Zero Dark Thirty; I have been thinking about societal progress a lot.

Does it matter if we’re less extreme or cruel if we’re still discriminating?

Is our discrimination actually less extreme and cruel?

I don’t want to take away from what we have done and the positive steps we have made, but sometimes I think maybe we’re a little too much sugar-coating and a little too little reality checking.

The overwhelmingly positive vote on the new Marriage Bill in the UK is a great step, but what does it mean if we are not raising our children to accept this acceptance. A little while ago there was a bit of a blow-up between two boys in the playground, something to do with the one boy refusing to accept his loss at a game. In addition to the usual tears, verbal assault and attempted shoving, the second boy screamed across the playground at his classmate’s disappearing back: “Gosh, ____ you are such a lesbian!”

This opened a whole new terrain of difficult territory for me. Obviously, this line was intended to cause insult and showed that this small child of only 7 or 8 years understood the word lesbian as an equivalent snub to shouting stupid, annoying, moron, idiot, etc. And it is this which is tragic.

So there I was, faced with the need to reprimand the boy for his verbal tirade. There I was trying to explain how the tag “lesbian” shouldn’t be used as a final insulting retort. There I was trying to explain the complexities of language and words and social interactions to a child too young to get past anything other than his being sent to the wall for 2 minutes. There I was trying to teach a lesson that his parents should be passing on.


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