As a queer person of Eastern Asian ethnicity and a second generation child of immigrants raised within a predominantly white working class population, it would be impossible to deny that this had a profound impact on my upbringing and social perspective in terms of equity and inclusion.
I was and still am constantly navigating a world between multiple cultures, and questioning where it is I truly belong, whether it be in safe spaces or in the workplace.
Having spent most of my adult life between Liverpool, London and Brighton has meant that I have had to learn to adapt to a variety of sub-cultures, even so much as to having to conceal certain parts of my identity in favour of another.
Coming from a famously working class city and later moving to cities well known for its affluent and liberal lifestyles were undoubtedly culture shocks, so to speak. Where I have found connection and solace with one marginalised group has often resulted in a disconnect with another aspect of my identity.
This conflict between various cultures has often felt alienating.
Specifically, the internalised feeling of not being ‘enough’ for one intersection of my identity, or deciding on which is the correct path to follow when there are contradicting viewpoints, particularly when you have been conditioned to believe that one default route is the ‘correct' one.
Fortunately, I am extremely grateful and privileged to have an incredibly supportive community of family and chosen family in my life who have been able to identify and understand these experiences, which is helping me to unlearn toxic conditioned norms.
I am extremely honoured to be collaborating with Ayo again and to be involved in Bakare Barley’s visions to promote Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. The Inclusion Exchange is an invaluable resource for those passionate about improving EDI in the workplace or simply in every day practice. Education is key for boosting representation, and this can be in the form of art, fictional books, media and cinema, in your own circle or in the board room.
It is safe to say that inclusion and representation has played a vital part of finally accepting who I am and adding to the overdue feeling of belonging, and still does to this day. For the outcast kids, it all matters.
Sam Lau, Communications & Events Lead, Bakare Barley Ltd