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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > 286 > The fight of her life

The fight of her life

As a black lesbian, one former civil servant has battled against discrimination since she was a child. Now she uses her voice to speak up for LGBT+ people from ethnic minorities and as director of UK Black Pride


In 2005, Lady Phyll (aka Phyll OpokuGyimah) took the experience she’d garnered in the civil service and combined it with her passion for black and LGBT+ rights, to co-found UK Black Pride. Back then, a few buses took people to the event. These days, the UK’s only event dedicated to celebrating LGBT+ people of colour attracts crowds in the thousands and organises networking and social events through the year.

Growing up in a Ghanaian household with strict Christian parents, Phyll was expected to settle down with a husband and start a family. “It filled me with dread,” she says. “It was hard because you are constantly wearing a mask but you don’t want to put your head above the parapet; you are not just worrying about changes in your own life, you’re worrying about how this is going to look for your family and friends.”

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