The Black LGBT community have done so many incredible things this year, from raising money for amazing projects and organisations, to individuals going above and beyond to raise awareness and support the community.
This Black History Month, we wanted to spotlight five incredible individuals and organisations who are doing ground-breaking work this year to support the Black LGBT community. Find out more about their work and see how you can get involved and support them.
1. BAME Fundraising Virtual Conference
Martha Awojobi (she/her) is a consultant, writer and campaigner. Through her involvement in Charity So White and anti-racism work at her consultancy firm JMB, she aims to tackle institutional racism in organisations and supports them to be open about racism and find ways to recruit and retain BAME talent.
In July 2020, Martha put on one of the most groundbreaking and needed conversations on being a person of colour in the fundraising sector, a traditionally white-dominated space. With sessions like 'Ethical Copywriting and Imagery' and 'Building Resilience Through Innovation and Entrepreneurship', the conference empowered so many attendees to think about what it means for them to be in or consider joining and transforming the fundraising charity sector. In Martha’s words, the conference was ‘unapologetically black’, with more than half the speakers being Black, which really showcased what the community can do and why it’s so important to include us
The PoC staff network at Stonewall funded several our staff of colour to join the session and they had this to say about this event:
“It allowed me to visualise myself in a career that, frankly, the charity landscape told me I could not access. It described fundraising through a lens that made sense to me as a black person, and honestly inspired me to consider a career change if the right job came up” - Tajah
2. Black Trans Foundation
Axelle Nasah (they/them) is a Black queer non-binary activist based in Leeds and London who works to create community spaces that foster an environment of safety and acceptance for communities including Black trans people, QTIPOC people and Black women in particular. They currently lead the QTIPOC Leeds group, previously lead by Monisha, where their events and projects resulted in them receiving a Positive Impact award from the University of Leeds.
Their most recent project this year has been setting up a CIC for Black trans people. The Black Trans Foundation will be a new non-profit organisation working for the advancement of Black trans people in the UK. They aim to build a world where Black trans and gender-nonconforming people have the same access to healthcare and opportunities as their cisgender counterparts. They endeavour to ensure that Black trans peoples’ pathways to gender euphoria are adorned with equal access and bountiful opportunities.
They are currently looking for Black trans therapists for their Black Trans Free Therapy scheme and a Black trans graphic designer/illustrator/artist to commission. Email at email@example.com to enquire. They will be launching a fundraiser soon for the scheme so to stay updated follow them at @blacktransfoundation.
3. Exist Loudly
Tanya Compas (she/her) is an experienced youth worker and activist, supporting queer Black young people in London. She is constantly working on projects to support the Black community including the Queer Black Christmas which she set up last year to support other Black queer youth who, like herself at the time, were homeless or estranged from their families. This event provided them with an alternative way to celebrate with their community and chosen family.
Recognising the specific support that queer Black young people need, Tanya’s next big project has been setting up a new organisation ‘Exist Loudly’ which is set up to create spaces of joy and community for queer Black young people. The organisation will run digital workshops, mentoring sessions and social events. Most notably, they have launched a research project to understand the experiences of Black LGBT+ youth in the UK in the areas of health care, education and home; the first of its kind in the UK.
Exist Loudly raised over £100,000 to begin this extremely important work, which they were able to split with other great Black queer projects. To keep informed about what happens next follow the Exist Loudly project on social.
4. Purple Rain Collective
Photo credit: Myah Jeffers
Tobi Adebajo (they/them) is a community focused queer hair stylist, organiser, parent, scientist, singer, and writer who works with prowess. They centre their work on the depths and nuances of various topics such as queer love, politics, black sexuality, healing, and more.
Their work aims to highlight the varying inaccessibilities of social spaces, especially queer ones.
Tobi recently released a queer punk album ’Wastewomxn’ with their transcontinental band A.T.K. The music is fuelled by the group’s Yoruba and Japanese cultures and diasporic existences.
Tobi is a core member of the Purple Rain Collective and has also created an ever-growing network for Black Femmes & Femmes of Colour. This year Purple Rain Collective in particular have gone above and beyond to support the LGBT+ community. Throughout the pandemic, they have been signposting QTIBPOC to resources and support, and tirelessly donating to emergency fundraisers on a global scale. The collective has organised events such as online meditation sessions, and are currently building care packages that will be distributed to low income QTIBPOC families in the UK.
5. Li Benedetti
Li Benedetti (they/them) is a Black Brazilian non-binary creative producer and LGBT+ activist based in London who advocates and supports the QTIPOC community through their work. Li has worked on many projects for a number of organisations like Google, Albert Kennedy Trust and Stonewall where they hosted Stonewall’s Children and Young People Conference in 2019. Passionate about sharing the complexities of what it means to be LGBT, Black, and someone with a learning disability, they use their experiences to create digital content and run community-based events and programmes.
During the pandemic, Li compiled a number of ways to support the QTIPOC community as well as educate allies to step up meaningfully. Through infographics like ‘things not to say to a Black person’, 'how to be a better trans ally’ and ‘coming out tips from a trans person’ they have created invaluable resources. They are now working on setting up an online store inspired by some of these infographics. They have also set up LGBTQIA+ livestreams with topics ranging from community and the importance of QTIPOC only spaces as well as looking at queer fashion and beauty.
Apart from their online activism they are planning this year’s Trans Winter Wonderland, which is a trans-only festive event they fundraised for and ran for the first time last year.