Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Search for a leading Black LGBT role Model

At the last NUS LGBT conference, the Black LGBT students caucus had a training session where they were asked to name celebrity role models from the Black LGBT community. We spent 30 minutes thinking and we could hardly come up with a name.

The problem was not lack of Black LGBT celebrity or role models, it is just that we could not relate with them, at least after 30 minutes, many of us remember Steven K Amos, but again you asked yourself what really has he done for the Black LGBT community apart from coming out, and then we also remember John Ameachi.

I was worried why we found it pretty difficult in the UK to find a Black LGBT role model, but then I got the answer when I went to America in December with my partner. I was in New York for some days, and there I heard about a strong organizing of Black LGBT people, they have great representation and the community is very strong. The same can be said of Chicago where I had a wonderful reception and met influential Black gay men and we talked about their struggles and how it is very easy for them to organize.

I was worried about the lack of same thing here. But one thing the Americans have going for them was the Black liberation movement of the 60's, a battle that created a great sense of consciousness in the people and has taught them that if you do not represent yourself, no one will do it for you, something the Black community in the UK does not have.

The fight in the UK is more of Black community fighting against each other rather than fighting for each other. I have only lived in London for 3 years, but I can still recollect attending many Black gay men's meeting most of which are dead by now, due to bickering, hatred and quest for leadership. The community is in disarry and the so called leaders are busy individualizing the struggle for personal gains.

The fight against stigma and discrimination within the Black community in UK is one that can not be won unless there are strong Black LGBT movement and people out there. The demand for a significant figure in the Black community is one that is urgently needed.

I am not looking for a role model like Sir Elton John or Sir Ian Mcknelle, but I am looking forward to a more proactive Black LGBT community that has a leader, one that is built on the struggle for freedom within and without. One that will start an anti discriminatory campaign within the Black communities and in our schools. One that is strong enough to push for Black LGBT agenda in all fields.

As I await this day, I call on the ones that I know to please take the chance, take the risk and lead your people to the promise land. No one will do it for us.

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