|Photo © Danny Hope | Creative Commons / Flickr
[image: Small blue flag with lighter blue text reading, “YAY!”]
I see lots of campaigns to raise “awareness,” but very few to raise “acceptance.”
Some issues you may just want to raise awareness about, like signs and
symptoms of certain diseases, when to see a doctor, etc. When people
become “aware” of something, it is not an act or a choice. They just get
information and become “aware” of it.
“Acceptance,” on the other
hand, is more personal. People may be “aware” of autism, but may not be
“accepting” of Autistic people for who they are (hence,
assuming the need to “cure” them). People may be “aware” of LGBT/Queer
people, but they may not “accept” them, especially being “openly gay” in
public spaces. (Guess how many times I’ve been called a ‘faggot’ just
for holding hands on a date??)
“Acceptance” involves a choice, and leads to action. Do you “accept”
people for who they are, or are you simply “aware” of them?
Acceptance campaigns also involve risks. Typically those advocating for
“acceptance” are having to do so because they are NOT accepted, and are
met with hostility for seeking acceptance.
On issues relating to people’s lives, it’s time to start moving beyond awareness, and start raising acceptance.
Awareness campaigns are for concepts.
Acceptance campaigns are for people.