My partner and a friend and I were on a train to join a few others for a nice day out in Bath, UK. After a few minutes it dawned on me that the man behind me was speaking very pointedly and loudly to his wife (but in my direction) about how terrible fat people are, how we’re ‘just like drunks’ and should be denied medical services and taxed according to our size. It was a long, vitriolic rant with an ever-increasing volume, and it hit me like a ton of bricks just how dehumanising the entire thing was.
I tried to stand up to him but I failed as I was so struck by the cruelty of it. Specifically, by how much word I would have had to do in that moment *just* to have him look at me as an actual human being, worth the same kind of basic respect and decency any human should offer to another. It messed with me but ultimately it solidified something in my perspective.
What was meant to tear me down and make me feel worthless in fact built me up instead. It lit a fire in me of defiant humanity and it taught me to extend to myself the compassion and empathy that others might not, and to work to counter dehumanisation as an activist and artist. I’ll take my badge now!