Phyll Opoku-Gyimah: My Pride is political
What do you do when you don’t see yourself somewhere? You can go into a dark, soul-destroying place or you can create the change you want to see.
Pride season is upon us so I have decided to use my column this month to talk about UK Black Pride – its origins, why it exists, what its organisers (myself among them) want to achieve and, also, how you can get involved.
UK Black Pride’s mission is to promote unity and co-operation among all black people of African, Asian, Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Latin American descent, as well as their friends and families, who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or intersex. We are committed to producing an annual celebration of Black Pride, as well as organising a variety of activities throughout the year around the UK, which also promote and advocate for the spiritual, emotional and intellectual health and wellbeing of all related communities. Our aim is to foster, present and celebrate black LGBT culture through education, the arts, cultural events and advocacy. UK Black Pride works closely with Paris Black Pride as well as showing solidarity with Black Prides in the US and Canada.
First, a little bit of history! A while back I was an organiser for a brilliant online group called BLUK – Black Lesbians In The UK. BLUK was trying to take activities offline and create an atmosphere that fostered positive networking and a sense of community for black lesbians and bisexual women. In August 2005, my ex and I arranged a social outing to the sleepy seaside town of Southend-on-Sea in Essex. What began as a minibus trip to the sea quickly developed into three coach-loads of lesbian and bisexual black women making a long and proud journey that has since grown in size and stature, and is all about inclusivity. Yes, Black Pride was created by a black lesbian and bisexual women – not many people know that.
During the build-up to that one incredible outing to Southend the concept evolved, and we began planning an annual UK Black Pride event the following year, where black and Asian LGBTQI people could foster a sense of pride in our identities.
Read the rest of Phyll’s column in the June issue of DIVA, available to buy in print or digitally here.