Aerial view of all 5 panelists on stage

LIFI LOOK BACK – Can we ever be who we want to be?

Chapter 81
A lot of young people today are growing up, coming of age, discovering who they are and who they’re not in such a public, exposed way that doesn’t allow them to truly test the boundaries of what it means to be a growing human being.
Hashi Mohammed at LIFI21 Tweet This

With rigid ideas around identity and self-expression shifting more significantly than ever, LIFI presented a great opportunity to discuss what it really means to be ourselves in the world today. 

Author and scriptwriter Amrou Al-Kadhi was joined onstage at the Town Hall by Gina Martin, Stephanie Hirst, Hashi Mohammed and Anne-Marie Imafidon to ponder the power and meaning of identity – and its implications for current and future generations.

Together, the panel created a diverse range of perspectives, with each speaker bringing their own unique experiences and expertise to a conversation that covered everything from social media activism to how we can make tech more inclusive.

Anne-Marie spoke of the need to recognise the makers of non-inclusive technology and address it where we see it, while Hashi shared his experience of growing up as an immigrant in a working class family before moving into the elite echelons of society as a qualified barrister.  

Gina’s empowering story of changing a law in the UK to make upskirting illegal touched on the inadequacy of education and social mobility, and how those keen to make a difference are often made to feel uncomfortable in the places where they really need to be. Stephanie spoke of her conscious choice to continue a career in the public eye after her transition, calling out her perceived importance of always having the right and the confidence to be your ‘authentic’ self.

Ultimately, the panel acknowledged that the central question of the event was too complex to give a black or white answer to, agreeing that each of us is multiple, capable of embodying many different identities, moods, manners and versions of ourselves every single day.