Tag Archives: Phyll Opoku-Gyimah

100’s Of Leading LGBTQ Activists Sign An Open Letter To Reject ‘Blackface’ Performance At UK Prides

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.”

Stonewall Strengthens Board of Trustees with New Hires

Stonewall has announced the appointment of three new Trustees.  Katie Cornhill, Phyll Opoku-Gyimah and Tim Toulmin will join Stonewall’s established Board, led by Chair Jan Gooding, with immediate effect.

On the appointment, Jan said:

We are thrilled to welcome Katie, Phyll and Tim to the Stonewall Board. Their range of experience will help us to ensure that we reflect the needs of the diverse LGBT community.  A great deal of progress has been made towards legislative equality, but there is still a lot more to do, and many more communities to reach, until we can say that equality has been achieved for LGBT people. Our new Board members will work closely with the Stonewall leadership team as we continue on this journey.”

Katie is a Manager at the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, where she has worked for 17 years, and is seconded as the Functional Lead for Prevention, Protection and Safety at the Fire Service College. Her extensive knowledge of the public sector will support Stonewall’s work in this area. In addition, as a trans woman, Katie will help to guide the organisation as it undergoes the process of becoming fully trans inclusive and engaging further with trans communities.

Phyll is co-founder and Executive Director of UK Black Pride. She is also the Head of Campaigns for the largest civil service trade union, PCS. Phyll brings with her an unwavering commitment to workplace equality and social justice, which has secured her a seat on the TUC LGBT Committee. She also sits on the Board for Justice for Gay Africans which focuses on Human Rights, Equal Rights, challenging racism and discrimination. Phyll will play a vital role as Stonewall broadens its reach and goes deeper into communities in Britain and abroad.

Tim is the founder and Managing Director of Alder Media, a London-based communications agency. He is a director of travel PR firm MyTravelPressOffice and a Specialist Partner of Pagefield Communications. He is also a Trustee of the charity ‘Parents and Abducted Children Together’. His vast communications experience will be central to Stonewall as it continues to engage new audiences and work towards achieving equality for LGBT people in all aspects of their lives.


UK Black Pride Announces Junes ‘Local and Global: Love Without Borders’ Pride Event

We can’t wait – UK Black Pride (Europe’s largest not-for-profit event for African, Arab, Asian and Caribbean-heritage lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people) will host a FREE entry, carnival-themed music festival and picnic on Sun 29 June in London.

UKBP, is famed for putting on Award-winning events, and this year plans to be fantastic. With a carnival-themed picnic in the park, UKBP will fuse its distinct blend of live music and politics, to deliver an entertaining, family-friendly, community festival of pride.

There will be a jazz and women’s stage, comedians, sports activities, education and welfare stalls, alongside world food and drink, there’s something for everyone at our multicultural pride event.

As well as the music festival in London Vauxhall’s Pleasure Gardens, UKBP has organised two other events as part of a summer of love. The Black LGBT community cultural arts festival will take place in central London on 16 August and the Black LGBT film festival will take place in central Manchester on 25 October.

UKBP has a strong identity as a grassroots movement. At their core they believe the most effective way to secure the fight for LGBT equality and inclusion, while opposing all forms of bigotry, is to put people and politics before profit. The theme for UK Black Pride 2014 is Local and Global: Love Without Borders. This is a signal of resistance against those trying to curb LGBT rights and equality from Brunei to India, from Nigeria to Jamaica, and in the USA Join us!

“We’re very excited to share UK Black Pride’s message of love without borders to our community of Black LGBT members whose families hail from all corners of the world. We will inject this international flavour into the heart of the LGBT community during the Pride in London week of celebrations. With our own brand of entertainment and education to promote love without borders we’ll make sure this year’s Big Pride Picnic in the Park is one the entire community can feel part of. UK Black Pride’s summer of love will include something for everyone so come out and join us!”

Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, UK Black Pride’s founder and Executive Director.