I had the honour of attending Stonewall’s Leadership Course last year. It was an amazing experience and I got to meet some inspirational people who I can now call friends.
As part of the two day session our course leader, the remarkable Caroline Ellis, introduced us to a very simple but powerful concept – #LittleBigThings.
Big acts such as organising a diversity day at work, or a campaign such as Stonewall’s ‘Some Are’ campaign have a very immediate and visible effect. But they can require a huge investment of time, money or both.
The concept of #LittleBigThings focuses on simple acts – simple but powerful. Little things that may seem innocuous but matter. After the course I added my ‘Gay Job Title’ to my email signature as well as a link to our internal community website. Immediately anyone I email knows I am part of our LGBT group – be they fellow colleagues or any of the clients I work with. It opens up potential avenues of conversation.
The Holding Hands 4 Equality campaign builds on this concept. Yes we have seen amazing strides forward in equality – just look at the recent changes in law for Equal Marriage in both Ireland and the United States. But….. The simple human acts such as holding my partners hand in public or a brief peck on the cheek to say goodbye still seem alien to me and many others. I feel confident enough to speak up about LGBT rights in work, but still would not even consider holding another man’s hand in public without first running through every scenario in my head first.
But, if we start to do little things – such as showing a brief sign of affection in public – people start to see these acts as normal. And the more people who see it as normal, the less we have to spend time thinking through all the scenarios. Whilst we can’t change every mind – we can reach enough people to make the negative voices a background noise in a cacophony of common sense.