If I were a rabbit I would wear a rabbit fur. I’d hunker down on all fours. I’d nibble grass and would hide in my burrow at the first sign of danger.
If I were a tiger, I would walk the steppe or pace my cage, I would wear my striped coat and run from the hunters gun and chase the game that feeds me
If I were a fish, I would never come up for air out of the ocean, lake or stream that is my home.
But I am neither rabbit, tiger or fish; I am human.
The skin that clothes my body defines my humanity. It does not mark me as better or less than any other human, it just is what it is.
It is the glue that holds this body together. The bones, ligaments, muscles and organs within my skin casing show I am human when the flesh is stripped away. The archaeologist of the future will not know who I am, but they will know that I was here.
The colour of my hair and eyes simply says these are the genes passed down to me by generations of those in my family.
My language says more about who I grew up with and where that was rather than anything fundamental about who I am as a person.
My clothes are those given to me or bought by me, they do not say anything other than one of these two things.
My beliefs are the product of my upbringing, my environment, the culture that surrounded me and my own personal thoughts. They do not mark me out as less or more than human, they simply confirm my human status.
Your attitudes towards my culture say more about you than they do about me!
Your gender and mine are simply different aspects of being in human form. They are neither more nor less, better or worse.
Your life experience is different to mine. It is not more successful, more stressful, more challenging, more joyful, happier or peaceful, nor is it less. Our life experiences are made up of two things; the circumstances of our life and the thoughts we have about them!
The identity we choose for ourself is just that – a choice. It’s a choice we make and re-make every day of our lives, changing as new circumstances and thoughts become important to us. It is in flux because you are not the person you were yesterday, last year or when you were born. Your life experience has shaped you, and will continue to shape you until you pass from this earth.
The only thing that divides us is the belief that we are divided.
The only thing that separates us is the belief that we are separated.
My beliefs are simply thoughts, they are not real. They do not confer a special or different status. They come and go like the wind. And I can choose – should I wish – to recognise that they are insubstantial and without any power.
And I can choose to change and challenge that belief and those thoughts when I find them arising within me.
I dare you to challenge them too!