Since the beginning of the worldwide shutdowns due to the pandemic, there has been talk about a ‘new normal,’ or a persistent wish to return to the old sense of ‘normal’ that everyone had become so comfortable with. Many continue to wish for the reopening of their favourite local café, the dance floor of the nightclubs, or for their university to begin allowing in-person classes once more. And these people are not alone in their wishes, as I too wish for the flexibility and care-free spontaneity of the past. However, this quarantine has allowed for many, including myself, to reflect on what the ‘new normal’ should look like and the changes that need to be made so that we can all move forward, together.
Movements such as the Black Lives Matter movement and the acknowledgment of the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls have picked up steam during the past few months and changes within government, companies, and society at large have been numerous. Arrests still need to be made, police still need to be held accountable, and systemic racism must still be addressed, but change is happening, albeit long overdue. With the inequalities of our society being brought to light and gaining traction in mainstream media, it is necessary that we no longer strive to return to ‘normal’ but rather a ‘new normal’ that offers equality to everyone.
With Pride Month just behind us, it is also important to recognize the areas in which individuals in the LGBTQ2+ community continue to be disadvantaged and discriminated against. Whether related to discriminatory policy changes or the high murder rate of black trans women, there is still a long way to go for equal rights and justice. As such, our ‘new normal’ should be one of acceptance, love, and pride and individuals in the LGBTQ2+ community should not be forgotten or ignored.
There are many instances of a need for change and a need for this ‘new normal’. In order to achieve such a hopeful dream of equality, one must reflect inwards. It is about recognizing your privilege and becoming an ally. As a cis, straight, white woman I have had to reflect on my privilege and further educate myself about the inequalities that exist in the world. On top of that, I have also had to acknowledge the systems of oppression that I continue to profit from such as colonialism and racial discrimination.
Recognizing your privilege can be difficult and challenging but it is necessary to create a better, more just world. It is important to keep in mind that your privilege does not mean that you have had an easy life, it just means that there are not factors of your identity that are making your life more difficult. For example, if you are white, your white privilege does not mean that you have not experienced hardships, but rather that the colour of your skin has not contributed to your hardships. I think it is important to keep this in mind, especially when educating yourself on the inequalities of the world.
Overall, there is hope for a ‘new normal’ that is inclusive, accepting, and equal and that ‘new normal’ begins with everyone. It is each person’s responsibility to work for change and to be an activist and an ally. We have the opportunity to create a ‘new normal’ and it is time that we begin to realize these much needed changes.