People from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller heritages rarely see themselves represented in public spaces except in terms of ‘hypervisibility’ – a type of visibility in which images ‘of Gypsies’ are very available, so it feels as though we might ‘know them’, but in fact, these images form racialised stereotypes that have little to do with their everyday lives. In this guest blog post, Dr Annabel Tremlett discusses her research into the lived experiences and identities of the marginalised Gypsy, Roma, Traveller, Showman and Boater communities of the UK.

Lesbian Visibility Week started in Western California before being brought to the UK and promoted by the Diva media group four years ago to counter the marginalisation of lesbians in general and help counter the myth that there was any generalised conflict between cis-gendered lesbians and trans women.

Rounding off the tour of neurodivergence, although I am sure there are many lesser-known conditions I am leaving out, we have the widely misunderstood Tourette syndrome and acquired neurodiversity. Overlooked by most people, being neurotypical early in life is no guarantee that a person will die still neurotypical. Everything from brain injury to disease can push someone out of the narrowly defined box bounding what is considered neurotypical.

Not all neurodiversity affects only mental processes. Brain and body work as one, and so conditions such as dyspraxia and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder can impact both mental and physical functioning. In our culture, where presentation is everything, being unusually clumsy, awkward or restless puts people at an immediate disadvantage. Once again, society and rigid, unyielding social expectations, rather than any inability inherent in the individual is what is disabling about the condition.

Many people have grown up being told they are stupid because they struggle fundamentally with certain fundamental skills in reading and writing that are much more challenging for some people than others because of the ways in which their brains are wired. Dylsexia can make working with the written word much harder than creative and verbal subjects, while dyscalculia presents numerous challenges to learning mathematics. Fundamental assumptions about how people perceive the world are baked into the way these subjects are taught, which makes them very challenging for many people. For many, the answer is to play to their strengths and pursue a career in the creative and cultural industries.

Another spectrum condition, autism, may affect up to five different areas of activity and experience to very different extents. As a result, autistic people are very different to one another, from social and behavioural differences that help navigate an uncertain world, sensory differences, highly focused interests that offer relief, but often extreme anxiety.

Until today, I had blithely assumed that diversity awareness training was an unquestionably good thing that could not possibly ever go wrong.
Then I read a seminal article from way back in 2015 and everything suddenly seemed a lot less certain.

Happy International Women’s Day2023! This year’s theme is #EmbraceEquality because everyone starts from a different starting point, and so offering the same opportunities to everyone benefits only those lucky enough to find themselves able to take advantage of them.

Most people quite naturally find themselves surrounded by people who are very much like themselves. We are attracted to people who we feel are similar to us, people who make us feel comfortable and safe. The only trouble with this is that much of life lies beyond our direct experience, which makes it difficult to empathise.

Happily, there are films, documentaries, novels, and more fun media that let us vicariously experience what might be like to be someone other than ourselves. We have put together reading lists that comprise materials that make it quick and easy to find novels, films and more by and about socially disadvantaged groups, from people of the global ethnic majority, LGBTQ+ people, members of the Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller community so it is that much easier for you to expand your horizons from the safety and comfort of your armchair.