STRUGGLES related to intersectional matters must be embraced by the LGBT community, the founder of UK Black Pride told activists at Congress House yesterday.
Phyll Opoku-Gyimah urged those attending Pride to take on issues such as race, disability, class and faith.
Calling for an intersectional approach, she told the TUC LGBT conference: “If we talk about LGBT rights alone, you’ve excluded me as a black woman.
“We need to make sure we are dealing with inclusivity.
“I stand here as a woman of a particular class, as a trade unionist.
“I don’t want to only talk about race and leave my gender at the door.”
The LGBT community is not exempt from being discriminatory, Ms Opoku-Gyimah cautioned, recalling a Pride event in Durham that enlisted a white performer who had planned to darken her face in order to look like Beyonce.
UK Black Pride, founded in 2005, now has over 5,000 members, but she said it had been “one hard, long struggle” to ensure that people of colour have a space to celebrate their identity.
The organisation recognises that trade unions are the most effective means of improving the lives of black LGBT people in the workplace, having been founded to address the “multiple levels of discrimination, racism, sexism, homophobia,” Ms Opoku-Gyimah explained.
“In an ideal world, we wouldn’t need a Black Pride, we wouldn’t need Pride at all,” she continued.
“Until the hate and the fear and discrimination has been eliminated from society, we will always need a Pride.”
The UK Black Pride festival takes place tomorrow in Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, London SE11, from 1pm, featuring live music and a food market. It is supported by public-sector union Unison.