At a time when everyone is struggling to fit in the social norms and are being judged at every action, discrimination has become rampant – be it for one’s skin colour, nationality or orientation. But still, there are a lot of Bravehearts that are breaking these chains, paving their own way, representing the self-learned skills at every stage. People around the world are striving for inclusivity – equal access to opportunities and resources, for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, for merit to be the deciding factor and not their physical appearance or shortcomings.
So, positivity becomes important. It’s important to know that one’s struggles and perseverance do have an effect to bring the desired change, not just in the person’s life but in society as a whole. It inspires others to tell their stories and keep up their fights, for change, for identity and for pride.
- Breaking Barriers, in Tamil Nadu people with disabilities to contest civic polls
Kavitha of Navamal Kapperi village is one among the 40 specially-abled candidates who will be contesting the posts of village panchayat ward councillors, district and union ward councillors, most of them from Villupuram, Chengalpet and Kancheepuram districts. The change comes after a decade long struggle by activists and members of various differently-abled forums against a 1994 legislation that did not allow “deaf, mute and persons affected with leprosy” from contesting the 2011 local elections. The struggle and cases in Madras High court led to a 2012 amendment in the legislation, giving them their rights. “Why can’t a disabled person contest? That’s our basic question. How is it fair that I’m eligible to vote but I’m not eligible to contest,” said Kavitha, who along with her father, Thangarasu is the key figure in leading the major change.
- Making fashion more inclusive, model XueLi Abbing
An inspiring representative of the albino community, Xue Li originally hails from China, where albinism – a rare genetic condition that causes a lack of pigment in eyes, skin and hair is highly discriminated against. Abandoned at age 3 due to her condition, she was adopted by a family in the Netherlands. “ I want to help people to see that being different is good, and definitely not some curse”, says the 16-year old model is represented by the Zebedee Talent agency, which aims to make specially-abled people have more representation in the world of fashion.
- For the first time, two Transgender Women in Germany’s Parliament
Tessa Ganserer, 44, of Nuremberg and Nyke Slawik, 27, of North Rhine-Westphalia are both members of the party Greens. In a country with a stringent procedure to change names and gender identity that includes psychologists evaluation and probing intimate questions, this is taken to be a historic step. The party Green is set to play an important role in the upcoming coalition government and the representatives are striving for an action plan against homophobia and transphobia to improve the federal anti-discrimination law and hopes is to make it easier for transgender individuals to change their names on their identity documents.
- Switzerland approves legislation allowing Same-sex marriage
One of the last countries in Western Europe to do so, Switzerland voted overwhelmingly in favour to legalize same-sex marriage. It opened up the option of marriage to all couples and also allowed them to adopt children. The event is being described as a ‘milestone’ for the country which struggles with deeply conservative views of its society that has long lagged with other European countries in terms of gender issues.