Leading LGBT activists have signed a letter urging pride events to stop booking blackface acts.
It comes after Durham Pride was criticised for booking a woman who darkened her skin to impersonate Beyoncé.
Durham dropped the act from its lineup and apologised for the booking after several groups threatened to boycott the event.
A letter signed by LGBT activists including Jack Monroe, Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, Ruth Hunt and Peter Tatchell expressed concern that similar artists are being promoted at other events.
Blackface is a form of racism that dehumanises Black people turning them into objects that can be “performed”. It is a modern form of minstrelsy and has no place at Pride.”
It said the upcoming Pride season was about “celebrating diversity” and the ongoing issue “continues to be an embarrassing stain” on the LGBT community.
As we are coming into Pride season, a time of year where we should be celebrating our diversity, this ongoing issue continues to be an embarrassing stain on the LGBTQIA+ community.”
The letter also offers recommendations for how pride organisations in the UK can commit to ending racist performances, including a suggestion that they diversify their lineups.
In the last year we have seen homophobia and racism rise dramatically, these struggles are connected, they often stem from the same hatred of difference.
The repercussions of this have been particularly felt by BAME LGBTQs. We must come together as a community and stand up to racism as well as homophobia so that every LGBTQIA+ person in the UK feels welcome at their local Pride to celebrate their love and lives.”
Stonewall also posted in a new blog to their website;
LGBT POC (people of colour) continue daily, within the wider LGBT community, to be fetishized, excluded or subjected to stereotyping. For that reason, we should double down on our efforts to make sure all Black, Asian and other ethnic minority LGBT people feel included at events like Pride.”
The charity added:
We must all learn better how to recognise our privileges and be allies to LGBT people who are marginalised or experience discrimination based on other factors. We must champion their specific rights to equality and inclusion.”
Stonewall called for ethnic diversity within the teams who put together Pride events, so they have “the necessary experiences and knowledge to ensure you get it right”.
Let us be very clear for those who don’t know or understand: blackface is always unacceptable and is a degrading and hurtful form of racism, regardless of the performer’s intent. It will always be insensitive and should never be treated as a part of a performance. The act itself dehumanises and humiliates the ethnicities that it imitates, often as negative stereotypes. It has no place in society, let alone at Pride events, where LGBT people and allies should feel free to be their authentic selves.”
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