Better to change your attitudes than just change your Facebook picture

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Following Tuesday’s brutal terrorist attack in Brussels along with people opining via social media there was a plethora of people changing their Facebook profiles to the Belgium flag.

The reason for this is to show support for Belgium.

This has become a trend on social media as the same was done for the Parisian attacks by changing to the French flag and when users changed the colour of their Facebook profile to a rainbow to show support of LGBT rights.

Changing your profile picture for a cause appears to me as a fatuous, attention-seeking act; I question whether the person authentically supports the cause or just wants to be perceived as supporting it and receive approbation for doing so.

Maybe everyone is not as critical or pessimistic as me but realistically: does changing your profile picture make victims of that cause feel more supported? Probably not.

I was very bullied growing up in every aspect of my life. I was an easy target – mixed race, “posh”, ballet and Irish dancer and was quite effeminate. The place where I received the most bullying (like a lot of other victims) was school. When I attended my Catholic grammar school I was probably one of the schools most bullied pupils.

One of the biggest bullying tactics they used was homophobic bullying – they bullied me because I acted in ways and took part in activities which was perceived as effeminate or gay.

Out of all the people who use to bully me, I can count with my fingers how many of them have been contrite and apologised to me.

It was therefore quite shocking for me to witness the amount of people on Facebook changing their profile pictures to show support of LGBT rights.  

Instead of changing the colours of your profile picture to show support, do something about it. If you want to show support to LGBT apologise to those you use to bully because of their perceived sexuality and stand up for people who are at the end of bullying in the future.

Actions speak louder than words, but words speak louder than changing your profile picture.

Adam Magee, Belfast