Am I doing this ‘write’?

Disaster struck this week.

Something I share with most slightly rebellious twenty-something-year-olds is my fondness for pin badges, especially pin badges on denim jackets. Sporting a selection on your clothing always carries a certain risk, but it’s a risk many of us think will never happen to them. Alas, it happened to me on Tuesday: one of my pins fell off my jacket.

It’s a sad moment when you look down to see one less shiny enamel plate on your chest than you were expecting. It’s even sadder when you realise the one which fell into oblivion was a charity pin from the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Nottinghamshire. (I suppose I can always replace it when I next visit the centre, but thinking of my little pin on a dirty pavement somewhere just makes me sad.)

I never really got on board with charity wristbands and the like when they were all the rage a few years ago. Maybe it’s because I mainly saw them worn by classmates trying to get out of the “no jewellery” my school implemented. Seeing something that was supposed to be a signifier of charitability and overall Good Person Vibes only ever being used as a subtle middle finger to a comprehensive school just trying to abide by basic health and safety rules left a bad taste in my mouth. Anti-bullying wristbands on kids who frequently put others down was the pinnacle of irony for me, so I was put off for a while from visible signs of charity giving.

Now, though, I see all of the benefits of wearing a small indication of charity support. I’m still not into big flashy statement pieces meant to tell everyone else that you’re just an infinitely better person than everyone else in the room because you have a standing order to a donkey sanctuary.

But my little white rose pin badge meant to commemorate the Holocaust victims on my jacket was a constant reminder to me about the strength of humanity even in the worst times. It reminded me to be a better person and to help those in need. It gave opportunity for discussion should anyone ask me about my pin. (We all know now the importance of talking about these kinds of tragedies – something that went amiss for so many years after the event.)

And finally, maybe most importantly, and definitely with a great deal of shame for humanity that I even have to say this, it made me identifiably not a terrible person. You’d think we’d all have learnt our lesson about intolerance and subjugation after disgusting events like these. But, with the rise of the right over these past few years, making yourself very clearly not a Bad Person has become a bit of a chore for us all. Remember when you could just assume someone wasn’t some kind of bigot?

I wore a white rose pin for the same reason that I just spent ten minutes lacing up my boots with rainbow laces from Stonewall. For the same reason that many people took to wearing safety pins on their lapels on public transport. Because, after a ridiculous chain of political events, openly being an accepting, unprejudiced person is now a form of rebellion.

We wear these silly little charity trinkets now not to show off our ‘Good Person Vibes,’ but instead just to reassure people of our ‘Decent Person Vibes.’ It’s a different kind of rebellion to a fourteen-year-old not liking polo shirts and dress pants, and it’s a kind of rebellion I am wholly ready to get behind.

…And let me tell you, remembering why these charities exist sure puts dropping a pin into perspective, that’s for sure.