It looks like the pandemic is coming to an end, thanks to Omicron. John Campbell already talked about this back in November, many countries (Spain, Denmark, England) have started easing restrictions, and only the real stubborn ones – such as Germany and Austria – are continuing to hold on to the crumbling narrative.
Soon it will be all over (or not?) and governments, as well as individuals, will get a chance to look back on these extraordinary times from a distance and reflect a little. What went wrong? What went well? What have we learned?
As an unvaccinated person, I'm equally amazed and shocked by how much my vaccine status has impacted my life. Not only because of the bars and restaurants I can't get into, but the amount of time I spend reading and watching Corona-related news. For many who are vaccinated, the mandate debates don't really matter that much, but if your freedom is threatened day by day, it's difficult to ignore the news.
The worst thing has been, and still is, a feeling of being judged. Some people have had to endure really humiliating moments, such as a good friend of mine who was shamed as dirty and dangerous in a full restaurant. Just one example of many.
I recently talked to a lesbian friend who is also unvaccinated and compared the situation of being unvaccinated to being homosexual. Nobody ever forced her to come out, but in many social gatherings she continues to feel an underlying pressure of having to confess – and with it comes the uncertainty of how people might react.
So far nobody has ridiculed me in public, nobody has insulted me directly, nobody has threatened me. But there has been a subtle and constant sense of being avoided. It feels a bit like being a sinner who's kind of tolerated, but not really welcome. A constant tension, fuelled by scandalous journalism and incompetent politics; like having a secret I have to hide, as if something is wrong with me – when all I ask for is freedom of choice.
I already wrote about my decision and feelings regarding the Covid vaccine here and here. This post is about something different. It's about honouring all those who end up feeling marginalized or are literally pushed to the filthy fringes of society. I understand them a tiny bit better now. Those who are expelled, cast out, ignored or ridiculed.
Sadly, the following list could be much longer. Some people arrived in a certain group by choice, others were born that way. What they have in common is that it's 2022 and they are still being judged.
Women who abort.
Men who cry.
What if we stopped judging?