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Nigerian TV star to host summit on gay black and ethnic exclusion in UK

LGBT people of color are often excluded – leading to racism, homophobia, mental health issues, rejection, forced marriage and hate crimes
Funmi Iyanda: Straight Nigerian TV star will host LGBT panel event on BME gay people.

A straight Nigerian talk show host will lead a panel of LGBT experts to examine why some black and other ethnic minorities feel unwelcome in gay UK.

Black and Asian people, and other ethnic minorities in Britain, often feel or are excluded from LGBT life.

The result is problems with the police, racism, increased mental health issues, greater exposure to homophobia, rejection, loneliness, forced marriages and hate crime.

Now two black LGBT champions, have organized an expert panel to examine the issues.

The event, The Rainbow Intersection – A Dialogue About Race, Culture and Sexuality, takes place on Friday (25 October) in London and tickets are available now.

Bisi Alimi, one of the organizers and a GSN contributor, told us: ‘The number of LGBT people who are facing challenges in accessing services is on the increase.

‘According to the Runnymede and Stonewall report “One Minority at a Time”, many of the respondents said they “felt their ethnicity and sexual orientation impacted directly upon the way the police interacted with them”.

‘This has played greatly on the mental health of many LGBT people in the UK. As much as many black and minority ethnic (BME) LGBT people face racism within the mainstream LGBT community, there are increasing rates of homophobia and rejection from friends and families within the BME community as well.’

The event will focus on how to increase black, Asian and other UK miniorities’ visibility, both on the gay scene and in the media.

It will also seek out role models, and examine how to eliminate racism and make our community more inclusive.

Racial preferences around sex, and the way online daters in particular say they don’t want to meet certain races, is likely to be a hot topic.

Alimi said: ‘Being LGBT and BME is becoming too much of a cross for many to bear and it is having its impact on young BME LGBT people in the country with increasing fear of rejection, loneliness, homophobia, forced marriages and hate crime.

‘The recent police report said one in four LGBT people have experienced homophobia in recent times but the burden is even higher among BME LGBTs who lack the confidence to report abuse due to family ties.’

The panel includes:

  • Omar Kuddus: A UK based global LGBT and human rights advocate. An openly gay Muslim, he is the founding member of GayAsylumUK and a GSN regular.
  • Elly Barnes: LGBT schools advisor for Birmingham City Council and National Schools rep for LGBT History Month and SchoolsOut.
  • Paul Burston: Author and journalist and the host of LGBT literary salon Polari. Burston edits the LGBT section of Time Out London and writes for The Guardian.
  • Phyll Opoku-Gyimah: A former volunteer for BLUK (Black Lesbians in the UK), and the leading light behind UK Black Pride.
  • Rob Berkeley: Director of the Runnymede Trust, the UK’s leading race equality think tank, since January 2009.
  • Helen Belcher: Co-founder and director of Trans Media Watch, campaigner for transgender rights in parliament and a regular GSN contributor.

The panel will be hosted by Funmi Iyanda, a multi-award winning Nigerian producer, talk show host, journalist and activist.

She is best known for independently producing and hosting Nigeria’s most popular talk show New Dawn with Funmi Iyanda, which ran on the national network for eight years and made her one of Nigeria’s most watched TV personalities.

The event is running from 6.30pm to 9.30pm on 25 October at University College London (UCL). Find out more and buy tickets here. Gay Star News is the event’s media partner.

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