As a (fairly) young left handed, adopted, mildly autistic person, I think I have a little bit more to gripe about than most when it comes to being discriminated against. In fact, to get a full house, all I’m missing is glasses, hearing aids, a wheelchair and darker skin.
I never went to University, why would I? Firstly I didn’t get the grades and secondly I wanted to be a hairdresser, and there are no hairdressing references from Aristotle or Nietzsche. However, it’s not all bad.
Due to the industry in which I trained, there were a lot of knock backs, pain, tears and so many cut fingers when getting used to holding my new scissors properly that I could have probably given someone a full body transfusion and still have enough left over to recreate the iconic ‘Bed Scene’ from A Nightmare on Elm St.
This experience made me tougher and more resilient, yet also flexible and willing to compromise.
It’s now absolutely absurd that that students are running (or ruining) their university. Yes, they are young adults, but that doesn’t mean they actually have any concept of the world outside of their little bubble which has been packed with so much cotton wool that an articulated lorry could crash into them and they’d be unscathed.
Let’s go back 100 years. Had I been in school then, I’d have had the dunce hat on more than I had it off. I’d have had my left hand tied behind my back and would have left school to become a miner at the age of around 14.
70 years ago, I’d have been imprisoned for homosexual offences, spat at and regularly beaten, al la Oscar Wilde. I’d also still be wearing the Dunce Hat and taught at a substandard level.
50 years ago I’d have been described as a pervert for simply helping someone on or off the bus. Education would have been marginally better, but not much.
30 years ago, would have seen me still being taunted for my ailments and sexuality and unfairly stopped and arrested by the police if I so much as sneezed. It was around this time that the first Gay Pride was held in London. Education had a reform and certain conditions were being taken more seriously. Mainly Dyslexia.
20 years ago Autism began to be taken seriously and figures showed it wasn’t simply a one in a million condition, but a condition that needs addressing in many people, mainly boys. Gay rights were pretty much accepted, though prejudice still remained.
10 years ago, the wheels were set in motion for Civil Partnerships for same sex couples. Education had a drastic shake up and several senior LEA staff were either sacked or jumped before they were pushed.
Today, begrudgingly, equal opportunities have nearly come to an even keel. There are a few things that need ironing out but nowhere near as bad as as little as 50 years ago.