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Racism is thriving but so is Black Pride

PICTURED: UK Black Pride (Photo credit: Sam Mellish via Getty Images)

LAST WEEKEND was full of celebrations for many of Britain’s LGBT community. With two major LGBTQI+ events taking place in the capital – the Pride parade in London and the Black Pride event in Vauxhall, the rainbow flag was flying high.

Up to one million people are believed to have turned out to watch the Pride parade along the streets of London on Saturday (Jul 7), with a further 30,000 from around 500 LGBTQI+ groups marching from Portland Place to Whitehall. On Sunday (Jul 8) in Vauxhall’s Pleasure Gardens, Black Pride brought together thousands of black and minority ethnic LGBT people and their allies.

Dionne, 16, from Croydon, told The Voice at Pride in London: “It’s [all] about showing that we’re not going to be hiding in the shadows or anything like that...we’re out and we’re proud.”

Faye, 18, who has been to the event four times and planned to go to Black Pride for the first time this year, described the mood.

She said: “It’s really fun. It’s a really nice community, you get to meet people, really enjoyable.

“Obviously here it’s legal to be gay but other countries don’t have that. It’s nice to celebrate our freedom.”

‘Our struggle is quite different’

Despite the progress that the LGBTQI+ rights movement has made over the years, when it comes to diversity and inclusion, many feel it’s lacking behind and the statistics appear to support that sentiment.

Although a celebratory event, Pride has been at the centre of controversy in relation to inclusion. Earlier this year, Stonewall, Britain’s largest LGBTQI+ charity announced it was withdrawing its support of the main Pride festival in London, citing a “lack of diversity”.

The charity said it would support Black Pride instead, an annual LGBTQI+ event designed around the black community and other ethnic minorities.

One attendee, known as Coverboi, whose first experience of a major pride event was Black Pride 12 years ago, told The Voice she understood why there was a need for two distinct celebrations. “If you stop for a second and you look around, it’s only a small pocket of minorities that you see around.”

She added: “It’s not segregation. It’s just that our struggle is quite different to others from the caucasian side where we from the black community or black culture we have to deal with the whole stigma of not just our family but also our religion – Christianity, [Islam].

“We don’t feel like we’re part of this movement so let’s create our own movement.”

Her thoughts were echoed by Pride in London and Black Pride attendee Jessica Owens. She said: “It was my first time here today and at gay pride yesterday, I didn’t see a lot of people that looked like me.

“Today, I’ve walked in and I’ve seen things that instantly resonate with me and I feel like everyone should have this experience. I think there’s a lot of racism on a grand scale and we all need to fight against.”

Read more in this week’s issue of The Voice Newspaper – out Thursday 12 July.

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