Black Her_stories Monthly
“When we rise together, we are mighty.” - Lady Phyll
We frankly need to move on from mainstream celebrations like Black History Month – every October. It’s 2020 – and the time has come for more recognition, celebration and appreciation of Black (meant here in the political sense) people in our every day lives. So, instead of waiting for next year before to celebrate the grandness of our black sisters – and feminist brothers – London Feminista is launching black her_stories monthly.
Today – 20 November 2020 - is also Transgender Remembrance Day – a day when we honour the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in act of anti-transgender violence.
There couldn’t be better day to stand in solidarity and shine a spotlight on the trailblazers that continue to lead change in society today. The first person to feature in the series is none other than pioneering Lesbian Gay Bi-sexual Trans Intersex Queer (LGBTIQ+) rights activist Phyllis Akua Opoku-Gyimah, aka Lady Phyll.
Phyll has 20 years of activism and advocacy under her belt – increasing the visibility Queer, Trans and Intersex People of Colour every step of the way. She is the co-founder and director of Black Pride, the first event of its kind in Europe celebrating “LGBTQ people of African, Asian, Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Latin American descent… to promote and advocate for the spiritual, emotional, and intellectual health and wellbeing” of these communities. She is a trustee at Stonewall, and sits on the Trade Union Congress race relations committee, and the Executive Director of the International LGBTIQ+ charity Kaleidoscope Trust. In 2016, she publicly rejected an MBE to protest Britain’s role in formulating anti-LGBTIQ penal codes across its empire.
Over the last few decades, LGBTIQ+ people have made a series legal gains – but these are never set in stone and the backlash against their rights continues unabated in many countries. In the UK, hate crimes and discrimination have significantly risen since the Brexit vote, in 2016. Racism, homophobia, transphobia and other oppressions compound each other, meaning that LGBTIQ+ people of colour are disproportionately impacted. This is an issue that came up repeatedly during recent Black Lives Matter protests and led to All Black Lives Matter marches to increase visibility of the widespread attacks against Black and brown LGBTIQ+ people. This makes events such as Black Pride and activists such as Lady Phyll so vital to the ongoing struggle for Queer Liberation.
You can read more about Lady Phyll in this excellent piece: Lady Phyll - Black Pride & Honouring the Ancestors - Guerrilla Foundation