Global Non-profits Work to Create Awareness About the Stigma People with Disfigurements Encounter in Their Lives
May 15, 2023 – Face Equality International (FEI), the organization which works to protect the human rights of people with disfigurements is an Alliance of 36 worldwide non-profits that campaign to promote face equality, seeking to put an end to discrimination against people with facial or bodily visible differences.
The American Cleft Palate Craniofacial Association (ACPA) is proud to be part of this alliance and to bring awareness to the discrimination many born with a cleft or craniofacial condition face in their lives. ACPA works to advocate for children and adults born with a birth difference to ensure they live complete and fulfilling lives.
“Together, we can create a world where anyone with a facial difference is free to be unapologetically themselves. In order to celebrate what makes us ‘different,’ first we must recognize that it is society that must change, not us. It is the limiting perceptions placed on faces and bodies that do not conform to the ‘norm’ that we must change,” said Phyllida Swift, CEO of Facial Equality International.
“As the leading global clinical organization whose members conduct research and provide care for children and adults with cleft and craniofacial differences, ACPA is strongly committed to reducing the stigma and increasing inclusion for those with facial differences,” said Adam Levy, CAE, ACPA Executive Director. “We will continue to build and provide resources so patients and their families can advocate for themselves, and we will continue to create change in media and society so those with facial differences do not feel forced to hide.”
Disfigurement is a globally neglected human rights issue, with equality laws in the UK, USA and Europe failing to protect this community from discrimination on several counts as revealed in this pioneering research by global law firm Reed Smith LLP. The face equality campaign demonstrates a world where the facial difference community is valued equally in society and can live free from stigma.
FEI’s ‘We Will Not Hide’ campaign aims to bring the face equality community together to promote:
- Visibility of visible difference on the big screen. Not simply as villains or vulnerable people.
- Visibility of the community on social media, where right now people are being censored or abused because there is not yet a safe space for the community to be seen, and to be free to express their truest selves.
- Visibility of real stories about disfigurement. Where we see the whole person, not just one-dimensional, purely medical or sensationalised stories.
This campaign is targeted towards these areas of society because:
- Social media companies are censoring the disfigurement community and preventing them from expressing themselves online. FEI fed into a United Nations Thematic Report for the Human Rights Council on this issue here.
- Hollywood and the entertainment industry failing to hire or represent the real lives of people with disfigurements. FEI put together a Position Paper on disfigurement in the Arts here.
Facial difference is a term used to describe a facially-diverse or non-normative appearance of the neck and above. It is used to describe conditions or marks that an individual is born with, as well as changes of facial appearance that are acquired either permanently or temporarily. Face Equality is a social justice movement devoted to ensuring the facial difference or FD community can live freely, without indignity or discrimination.
About Face Equality International
Face Equality International was created by Dr James Partridge OBE, founder of Changing Faces UK, with the support of nine founding members. The alliance was launched in November 2018 and now has over thirty world-wide members. Our vision is for the global facial difference community to live freely, without indignity or discrimination. In order to achieve our vision, our mission is to position face equality as a social justice movement. Most member NGOs are condition-specific (i.e. for people with clefts, burns, cranio-facial conditions, psoriasis and other conditions) and their members have very different medical and surgical needs and treatments. But their members also face very similar psychological, cultural and social barriers to living fulfilling lives. FEI embraces and creates space for facial differences of any kind, be they acquired, from birth, or temporary.
About American Cleft Palate Craniofacial Association
The American Cleft Palate Craniofacial Association (ACPA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit medical association founded in 1943, representing patients and families with cleft and craniofacial conditions, and the professionals who provide their care. ACPA has more than 2,100 members representing 37 healthcare disciplines who care for patients and conduct research in all 50 states and in over 50 countries around the world.
Since 1943, ACPA has provided education, support, research, and interdisciplinary team care to ensure the best possible outcomes for patients–enabling individuals to live complete and fulfilling lives. Each year around 76,000 patients have access to the highest standards of care through our 195 ACPA Approved Teams. Visit ACPA at ACPAcares.org.
ACPA Media Contact: info@ACPAcares.org