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C'mon Scotland: #BeAJill

It's A Sin's Jill Baxter, is someone we should all aim to be.

Lydia West plays Jill in It's A Sin (Photo Credit: Channel 4)

I could start this blog with a really predictable, kinda offensive phrase like "In a world full of a Jill" or "In a world full of a Jill". Apart from the fact that I know lots of lovely people called Karen and also enjoy a Kardashian binge as much as the next person (whether they admit it or not), the truth is even "in a world full of Elaines," (yes me) I want to, and will now do everything I can, to #BeAJill. This series made me feel so many emotions: I laughed a bit, cried A LOT, gained some insight and thirst for more knowledge, as well as the drive to do more and be more Jill.

As someone who was once 'trolled' (is that even the term if you'e not famous?) on Twitter for being a "liberal stooge", I'm not exactly the most conservative, single-track minded person in the world. I also think "liberal stooge" has a ring to it and don't really mind that label. I like to think I'm never, EVER intentionally offensive to any particular person or group. The reason for the 'trolling' was that I was sticking up for a male friend when a stranger, totally unprovoked, started to dish out some body insults online. I'm loyal and protective to a fault when it comes to my friends...a bit like Jill actually, YAY! I am very lucky that my 'day job' is completely in line with my values, probably not luck actually- more likely that I chose it for exactly that reason and it chose me for the same. Every single day is a learning experience and opportunity to gain even a tiny bit of perspective from someone who has a different life, background or experience than I do. Similarly, I will have things that I can share but, let's face it, as a white, straight, Scottish-born person living in Scotland, I'm not exactly being pelted with adversity or discrimination- something that's not lost on me. I do however have a voice, drive and a HUGE heart. Some people say you can't be there for everyone but you absolutely CAN. You can advocate for womens rights...mens rights...LGBTQ+ rights...any RIGHT that is RIGHT and if you have the RIGHT intentions and motivations you can never be I RIGHT?

So why have I entitled this blog "C'mon Scotland..."? This is not a political piece, although I can't guarantee that future blogs won't be- oh yes, I have opinions about that too. I am a VERY proud Scot and I love my country. I'm proud to live in a place with some of the most progressive human rights in the world. This morning, after the emotional hangover of staying up late and binge-watching "It's A Sin" one of the first articles that I came up on my news feed was an article exploring what it's like to be Trans in Scotland. The recent amendment to the Hate Crime Bill seems to have caused a lot of, from what I can see, unnecessary unrest and I can't help but wonder why it was allowed to get this far? As I understand it and as quoted in the article (link below), "Refusing to use a person’s preferred name or pronoun would not be considered to be threatening or abusive in the amendment, which is called ‘Protection of freedom of expression’. Why should this not be a crime? In my opinion, by refusing to honour someone's preferred name and pronouns you are actually showing them hate. You have nothing to lose from honouring the tiny but so meaningful (to them) thing that they are asking of you. Many will receive it from you like you've given them the world and your life literally won't change or, low and behold, it might even improve because you made someone happy, included, accepted, SEEN. Hopefully in the future it isn't the case that people feel grateful to others when they are honoured and listened to in this way and it won't be given a second thought. That's a while off I would say but we can dream and #BeAJill. Yip...going to keep saying it!

The Hate Crime Bill has had it's fair share of controversy and conspiracies. Things like "no one's safe any more, they'll be listening through my speakers and I won't even be able to say what I want (usually meaning be racist or homophobic, etc.) at my own kitchen table." As unlikely as it is that we're living in such Orwellian times, the people who are most likely to be listening into your speaker would be more inclined to try to figure out how they could scam more money out of you, rather than shop you to the police. In the nicest way possible you’re likely not that important that youre being spied on and if you are then you lead a FAR more exciting life that me. If you are however being a racist, homophobe, sexist, etc. (*insert noun of choice here*) in your home and happen to be the most unlucky person in the world and be caught then you actually deserve to be reprimanded, in my opinion. If you aren't like this then what are you worrying about? Your life literally won't change...there’s a theme here! Other conspiracy theories I love are "What if I accidentally misgender someone and get arrested?" I'm going to go out on a whim here and say that this has never happened to anyone in the history of anywhere but please do correct me if I'm wrong on that.

So, at the start of this blog (my first ever) I professed that I will #BeAJill. I have a long way to go but I'll learn and listen and see and hear people every single day. I think if our government or any government for that matter were to not bow down to the pressure of the conspiracy theorists and keep in mind that for the majority of people their lives won't change or be affected so they’re probably causing a fuss for nothing. But, and here’s the crucial bit, for a minority of people who need love, support and protection, this could be life changing. A clear message to the world that our country loves, respects and values ALL people and we're willing to see and hear them in any way that they want to be seen and heard.

To end on a really light but also important note, I also came away from watching It's A Sin with an absolutely banging Spotify playlist and since the turn of 2021 I've vowed to try to have a dance every morning and this playlist has provided amazing material for this. So there I am in my jammies, half asleep, thinking of a programme that moved me so much and, just like Ritchie says at the end "having fun"!

Related links:

Edinburgh Evening News related article. (If you have been affected by any of the content in this blog or this article there is also various links at the end of the article below:

Spotify Playlist-

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