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Being BAME and LGBT explored in short film

PANEL: Sanjay Sood-Smith, Amrou Al-Kadhi, Cole Thompson, and Cherish Oteka

STONEWALL, THE UK’s leading charity for lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality, has today launched the ‘BAME LGBT Voices Documentary’, produced and directed by Cherish Oteka.

This ground-breaking series of short videos explores and celebrates the diverse experiences of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) LGBT people. The documentary features a range of BAME LGBT identities and covers a variety of themes including religion, gender, mental health, visibility and intersectionality.

The BAME LGBT Voices documentary was made in partnership with Cherish Oteka, an alumni of Stonewall’s BAME/POC LGBTQ Role Models programme.

The documentary’s premiere was hosted by YouTube, followed by a panel discussion about BAME LGBT representation in the media.

Chaired by Stonewall’s Director of Empowerment Programmes, Sanjay Sood-Smith, the panel included filmmaker and performer, Amrou Al-Kadhi, and YouTuber and activist, Cole Thompson, and Cherish Oteka.

Cherish Oteka, filmmaker, said: “I’m honoured to have produced and directed this series of documentaries in partnership with Stonewall to profile the lived experiences of LGBT people of colour.

“Intersectionality is too often left out of the conversation on LGBT equality. I want this series to enrich these conversations and encourage people to learn more about the compounded challenges people can face when they belong to several marginalised communities.

“Most importantly, I hope this series acts as validation for LGBT people of colour who rarely see themselves represented in the media. I’m so proud to belong to a long line of art activists of colour who have used their work to document our lives and challenge our erasure.

“I’m incredibly proud to have produced and directed this video series with Stonewall to showcase what life is like for LGBT people of colour. This is a group that is too often excluded or marginalised in discussions about LGBT equality. Telling the stories and hearing the voices of LGBT people of colour is a powerful way to change conversations about equality and make sure all LGBT people have a seat at the table.’

Sanjay Sood-Smith, Director of Empowerment Programmes, Stonewall said: “We don’t often hear stories from LGBT people of colour. It’s time they get the prominence they deserve and are brought onto centre stage. That’s why we’re so proud of this new series of short films made in partnership with Cherish.

“Listening to and learning from the experiences of marginalised minorities is a vital part of creating a more inclusive culture. For that to happen, BAME LGBT people need more public platforms to speak safely about issues that affect them, in their own voices, and for the diversity of their experiences to be represented.

“We also know how important it is for people to see visible role models and we’ll continue our work with BAME LGBT people and communities to ensure they are heard and see themselves reflected across all types of media.”

The launch of the BAME LGBT Voices documentary follows several BAME-focused events Stonewall has hosted this year. The charity held a showcase for BAME LGBT talent, extended its support for UK Black Pride and ran free community role model programmes for BAME/POC LGBT people.

You can download/watch the BAME LGBT Voices documentary here:

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