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Digital Subscriptions > Gay Times > July 2018 > LADY PHYLL

LADY PHYLL

The UK Black Pride Co-Founder speaks to Otamere Guobadia about the genesis of #BlackPride, trans erasure, unwanted (and wanted) racial stereotypes, and why queer people of colour deserve acceptance, not tolerance, from the whole LGBTQ community.

Photography Kofi Paintsil

Fashion Darkwah Kyei-Darkwah

It’s not an exa.eration to say that we live in perilous times. We live in a climate of queerphobia and transphobia that not only dominates our headlines but that forms part and parcel of a most grievous and sustained assault upon the LGBTQ body politic. At times like these, it’s easy enough to lose perspective. But out of such times rise heroes of necessity, the fire of bigotry tempering warriors, and thrusting greatness upon people of the most ordinary circumstances. The moral arc of the universe is long, and the work of bending the arc towards equality is no easy challenge. Battles for tolerance are lost and won every day, but the wider war will be won by characters with sufficient spirit and gravitas to move us into this brave new world, where we might otherwise find ourselves frozen in injustice. It takes a particular kind of person to impress upon the moral fabric of our existing world — to radically repoint the needle towards a fairer one. Lady Phyll is undeniably one of such people.

UK Black Pride Co-Founder. Trade unionist. Proud Ghanaian. Mother. She’s a woman of multitudes, stacked upon multitudes. UK Black Pride was an endeavour of love, born of the most life-saving and essential of needs — a desire to find community, and to find communion within that. Choosing integrity over accolade, Phyll Opoku Gyimah (a.k.a Lady Phyll), famously made headlines when she decisively and publicly turned down her MBE, refusing to accept the honour of an empire whose laws have both historically imperiled, and continue today to marginalise queer people of colour, both here and abroad. But she was making waves, long before and far beyond her radical declination.

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About Gay Times

Nyle DiMarco is an outspoken activist, actor and model who lives at the intersection of his sexual fluidity and deafness. In our cover shoot with Nyle, artist Cacho Falcon has painted ‘I love you’ in American Sign Language across his body in what we hope to be a strong message of support to the queer deaf community. With nearly 8 million followers on YouTube, and close to 7 million in Twitter and Instagram, Tyler Oakley has become a pioneer of the new wave of social media celebrities, with a global reach that in many cases outshines even the biggest names in film and TV. Here, Tyler speaks on his latest project: Chosen Family, and why queer people need to become aware of their privilege. We’re also partnering with UKBP to raise awareness about the incredible work they do, and the importance of events and organisations such as theirs. We’re constantly learning how to be better allies to everyone across the far reaches of the colourful spectrum that is the queer community, and UKBP as a collective continue to educate and inform us how best to step up to the plate as a truly representative and inclusive company. Lady Phyll and the entire team at UK Black Pride are demonstrating the power of loud, unapologetic unity in the face of hatred and bigotry - often unfortunately from sectors of the LGBTQ initialism. Elsewhere in the issue: Sadiq Khan pens a letter to the LGBTQ people of London; Manevendra Singh Gohil, the first gay Prince of India, on using his platform to raise awareness on LGBTQ issues; Yves on standing shoulder to shoulder with our trans siblings; an exclusive look at the new exhibition Queer Friends; Aaron Altaras on his new role as a footballer coming to grips with his sexuality; Simon Gage reflects upon meeting Alexander McQueen ahead of the release of the upcoming documentary on the fashion icon; plus products, style, fashion, tech, travel, opinion and much more.