San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
As part of 2013 Black History Month,
Bisi Alimi Consultancy and The Quest for Gay Men present,
We live in a diverse world where we all have different traits, beliefs and life stories that make up our human identity and how we perceive ourselves, and each other. A crucial part of that identity and the accompanying narrative is on the issue of race, culture and sexuality.
The picture of the LGBT community that is often presented by the media and other social commentators is one of homogeneity and inclusion, and highlighting any prejudice or discrimination - particularly on the grounds of race – is very quickly seen as divisive and a non-issue.
We all have multiple identities through which we are perceived and interact with the world. However, it is easy for those looking in on the LGBT community to reach the conclusion that we are all pretty much the same and only have the one identity; afterall that is how stereotypes are formed and how prejudice thrives. Being gay does not mean that most of us go on Pride marches or hang-out around Old Compton Street or Vauxhall or that we all have a six-pack, an eye for fashion and go on frequent fabulous holidays! Being gay also does not automatically mean that the person is white and being black, does not by default mean that the person is straight and homophobic.
Many still find that LGBT culture is not inclusive, with many minority ethnic people feeling excluded and invisible on the scene. There is prejudice in all areas of life, it is part of our human nature, and the LGBT community is no different - its time to talk about the elephant in the room!
The Rainbow Intersection – A dialogue about Race, Culture & Sexuality in Modern Britain brings together a panel to discuss and debate a subject matter that is all too quickly swept under the carpet by the LGBT community. Confirmed panel includes - Elly Barnes, Robert Berkeley, Omar Kuddus, Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, Helen Belcher and Paul Burston. The event will be hosted by Nigerian journalist and broadcaster, Funmi Iyanda. Summary of the panel member's bios are below.
Topics to be explored include:
- Invisibility of minority ethnic origin LGBT role models; on the scene and within the media
- Online dating and racial preference
- Prejudice and racism within the LGBT community
- How the LGBT community can be more inclusive
- Arrival/Registration (6.30pm)
- Welcome (6.45pm)
- How the journey of black gay men differs from their white counterparts (Bisi Alimi, Principal Partner, Bisi Alimi Consultancy)
- Deconstructing Gay Culture – Perceptions vs. Reality ( Ade Adeniji, The Quest for Gay Men)
- Panel debate and discussion
- Closing message
- Reception (8.45pm - 9.30pm in the Wilkins Haldane Room)
Elly Barnes is the LGBT Schools Advisor for Birmingham City Council and founder of ‘Educate and Celebrate-How to make your school LGBT friendly' teacher training program. She is the National Schools rep for LGBT History month and SchoolsOUT, an active union member and a regular public speaker on LGBT issues. Elly was voted No: 21 in The Independent on Sundays Pink List 2013 for her commitment to LGBT in education and awarded a ‘highly commended’ by the TES ‘Teacher of the Year’ 2012.
Paul Burston is an author and journalist whose books include the critically acclaimed novels ‘Shameless’, ‘Star People', ‘Lovers & Losers’ and ‘The Gay Divorcee’. He is the host of LGBT literary salon Polari at the Southbank Centre, and the founder of The Polari First Book Prize. Paul edits the LGBT section of Time Out London and was shortlisted for Journalist of the Year at the European Diversity Awards 2011 and the Stonewall Awards 2012. He was named National Treasure in the 2013 Pink List. He also writes for a wide range of publications including The Guardian.
Phyll Opoku-Gyimah is one of the leading lights behind the amazing celebration of Black LGBT communities that we enjoy today. Phyll has also been named The Pink list (2013) where she came in at number 9 as one of the most influential LGBT people. A former volunteer for BLUK (Black Lesbians in the UK), Phyll uses her immense talents to support people within the Black LGBT community who either feel vulnerable or desperate to burst out of themselves and demonstrate pride in their ethnicity and sexuality.Phyll has worked tirelessly to bring together LGBT activists, artists, volunteers and supporters from within the LGBT community and beyond to support UK Black Pride and other such events. Phyll’s voluntary endeavours led her to be nominated as Woman of the Year at the Black LGBT Community Awards 2007.As the visionary behind UK Black Pride it comes as no surprise that Phyll cites this quotation from Dr Maya Angelou as her maxim: “Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible.”
Rob Berkeley has been Director of the Runnymede Trust, the UK’s leading race equality think tank, since January 2009. He was Deputy Director of Runnymede between 2005 and 2009. His doctoral studies at the University of Oxford focused on exclusion from school. He has previously been Chair of governors at a South London primary school, Chair of Naz Project London, a Trustee of Stonewall, and a member of the Commission on 2020 Public Services. He is currently a trustee of the Baring Foundation and the Equality and Diversity Forum and a member of the Cabinet Office Review of Consultation Principles Independent Advisory Panel.
Helen Belcher is one of the founders and directors of Trans Media Watch, a charity that works to ensure trans and intersex issues are reported in the British media with accuracy, dignity and respect. She gave the charity's evidence to the Leveson Inquiry in February 2012, sits on the UK Parliamentary Forum on Gender Identity and was placed joint 13th with TMW's chair in the 2013 Independent on Sunday Pink List. She describes herself as the political wing of TMW. As well as campaigning on trans health issues and equal marriage, she also runs a small but growing software company, is the parent of two teenage children, is a school governor and sings in a renowned choral society.
Omar Kuddus is a UK based Global LGBT and Human Rights Advocate fighting for equality for all LGBT's who are denied the same rights as their counterparts. Omar believes that sexuality is as important a fundamental right as all others and should be respected and all the worlds’ citizens should be entitled to live their lives as they chose without interference, persecution or fear as dictated by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Being members of the human race entitles all people to these rights despite their sexual orientation. Omar is the founding member of GayAsylumUK - a voluntary organization that receives no public funding and has its own independent views. GayAsylumUK's aim is to assist and help gay asylum seekers in the UK, despite their current legal status. As a gay Human Rights advocate, Omar is constantly fighting for the rights of equality in the UK and asylum for LGBT's who are refused asylum on the grounds of their sexuality. Omar is a columnist for Gay Star News - where as an openly gay Muslim he regularly express his views on Islam, as per his interpenetration of the religion regarding homosexuality and as a British Asian of mixed decent.
Funmi Iyanda is a multi-award winning Nigerian producer, talk show host, journalist and activist. She is the co-founder and CEO of Creation Media and is best known for independently producing and hosting Nigeria’s most popular and groundbreaking talk show New Dawn with Funmi Iyanda, which ran on the national network for eight years. Famed for her down to earth, witty, no holds barred journalistic style of interviews; Funmi quickly rose to become one of Nigeria’s most watched and revered TV personalities.
She has since gone on to produce and host a string of internationally nominated productions including My Country Nigeria, a documentary including My Country Nigeria, a documentary which aired on the BBC, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the country’s independence and was nominated for “Best News Documentary”2011 at the Monte Carlo TV Festival. She is also the producer and host of BANFF nominated chopcassava.com, a gritty and innovative web series documenting the 2012 Nigerian fuel subsidy protests.
An innovator in her industry, Funmi has won tremendous recognition for her pioneering work in the Nigerian media. She was honoured as a 2011 World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and named one of Forbes 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa. Funmi is a member of the Tutu Africa Leadership Institute Board and the founder and board member and Change-a-Life foundation.
When & Where
The Rainbow Intersection
The Rainbow Intersection is a Black & Minority Ethnic (BME) and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community-based organisation in the UK, set up to bridge the gap when it comes to the intersections across Race, Culture and Sexuality.
As an organisation, we understand the reality of the different compositions that make up a person. We raise awareness and provide support for LGBT people of BME origin to navigate life through the many intersections that come into play in their lives.
Mission: To provide a platform aimed at discussing, debating and dissecting the various intersections across Race, Culture and Sexuality in Modern Britain
Vision: To bring about a holistic awareness and celebration of the intersections across Race, Sexuality, Gender and Culture within the BME and LGBT community in the UK.