Gender equality, race equality, disability rights, minority rights, etc., are all familiar concepts that inform the political, economic and social spheres of our society.
Few, however, have heard of Face Equality. That is about to change as Changing Faces, the UK’s leading charity for people with conditions or injuries that affect their appearance launches the UK’s first Face Equality Day on Friday 26 May 2017.
Simply put, face equality “is about being treated fairly and equally whatever the appearance of the face or body, creating a society in which everyone is valued for the unique contribution that they can make.”
The purpose of Face Equality Day is to help increase awareness of Face Equality, and to encourage individuals, organisations, companies, etc. to sign the Face Equality Pledge, committing to fair and equal treatment.
On Face Equality Day, Changing Faces will also release two new publications:
Faces of Equality is a gorgeous book featuring pictures and interviews with people living with a condition or injury that affect their appearance.
I was lucky to get my hands on an advance copy the other day, and the photos are stunning. In the foreword to Faces of Equality, the poet and Patron of Changing Faces, Benjamin Zephaniah perfectly captured the essence of face equality:
“This book is […] made beautiful by the people in it who are just living, expressing themselves, and doing their thing in their own individual way. The way a person looks does not raise or lower their importance. In fact, the way a person looks, is just, the way a person looks. Everyone is important and everyone matters.”
The second publication to be published on Face Equality Day is Disfigurement in the UK, the first nation-wide report on the experiences of people living with a condition, mark or scar affecting their appearance. Based on an extensive survey, Disfigurement in the UK covers every aspect of people’s lives, including school, work, relationships, health care and crime.
The report is embargoed until the 26th of May so I can’t reveal its content just yet, other than to say that some of the findings in Disfigurement in the UK are deeply troubling: discrimination, bullying and self-esteem issues are all part life for many people living with a condition or mark that affects their appearance.
What you can do to support Face Equality:
Should you happen to run into me on Face Equality Day, you’ll notice that I’m wearing a Changing Faces butterfly tattoo on my cheek to support Face Equality.
And remember, 26 May is Face Equality Day, not just this year but for years to come, here in the UK and elsewhere.