Face Equality Day

We salute and thank James Partridge and Changing Faces for 25 years of exemplary service to thousands of individuals living with disfiguring conditions and for their leadership driving the efforts to increase public awareness and appreciation of the formidable challenges of living with a visible difference. James has championed these causes and is respected and loved around the world for his commitment to enriching and protecting the lives of those who have disfiguring conditions no matter the cause.

Eight years ago, Changing Faces introduced the Face Equality initiative and campaign to:

   raise awareness of our unconscious beliefs about disfigurement that can result in prejudice and discrimination

   encourage people, organizations and the government to tackle such beliefs and attitudes and make a commitment to Face Equality

   help everyone learn new ways of thinking and behaving towards people with disfiguring conditions

Changing Faces commissioned independent research to investigate people’s attitudes towards disfigurement. When directly questioned, the vast majority said that they did not discriminate against people based on their facial appearance. However, an Implicit Attitude Test revealed that nine out of ten people held negative attitudes towards people who have disfigurements.

As they have reported, many of these attitudes are unintentional and unwitting but still result in prejudice and discrimination against people with disfigurements in the way that

   they are treated at work

   they are treated at school

   they are portrayed in the media, film and advertising

   people react to them when they are out in public.

This has huge practical implications for those who live with disfiguring conditions, who might assume that they will not get front line jobs, go to a university, or even be able to walk down the street without being the target of intrusive stares.

This year Changing Faces is giving the campaign a special push, with the UK’s first Face Equality Day on Friday, May 26. Find out more and how to get involved! (www.changingfaces.org)

Changing Faces will be publishing Disfigurement in the UK, the first major study of the real life experiences of people who have a disfigurement that confirms what we have heard anecdotally for decades, that people with disfigurement experience unfairness, rudeness, and even illegal discrimination at every stage of their lives.

The findings disclosed in the report conclude that this includes lack of promotion in the workplace, rude comments and hate crimes in public places, and poor service from health care professionals.

•   Half of all children with disfiguring conditions experience bullying and discrimination.

•   Four-fifths of the 802 respondents have avoided applying for a job because they         thought that their face “wouldn’t fit.”  Almost a fifth of respondents have left a job or felt forced out because of reactions to their appearance.

•   Almost half of the respondents felt vulnerable on public transportation, 80% have had comments or unpleasantness from a stranger. almost half have had comments from shop assistants.

The combination of these experiences means that people with disfigurement often feel like second-class citizens, with lower expectations and aspirations for their lives.

Changing Faces is asking individuals, organizations, companies and groups to sign the Face Equality Pledge, committing to fair and equal treatment. Sign the Pledge now! , and visit www.FaceEquailty.com for specific details and information as to how you can be more involved.

Start today, by signing the online petition and posting your photo of support on social media!

If you have any questions about Face Equality Day, please contact the Campaign Team at 03 45 450 0275 or email faceequality@changingfaces.org.uk