Why is there a hidden racial discrimination in inner LGBT circles?

Salford Proud is organising an event to find an answer to that question and discuss how to tackle racism in the LGBT+ community.

Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community members across the UK have complained of facing racism and discrimination within the LGBT+ community, despite its own history of fighting century-long stigmas in the name of social equality.

Helen Clegg, the chair of Salford Proud, which is the University of Salford’s (UoS) LGBT+ network for staff and postgraduate students, recognises the shortcomings.

She said: “The LGBT community does have a really big racism problem. I think that previously we haven’t done enough to share the experiences of LGBT BAME colleagues.

“Challenging racism and acknowledging it exists is actually really uncomfortable for people. Nobody wants to feel like they are a bad person. Nobody wants to feel as they are racist.”

“The reality is just that white people really benefit from the oppression of people from the BAME community.”

Helen further added: “We need a platform where people can discuss their experiences, how their identities as a BAME person and a LGBT person have interacted with each other to create experiences that we as non-BAME people do not think about at all.”

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With the need of such a platform, Salford Proud has teamed up with UoS’s BAME staff network for a panel discussion on the issue.

Harvey Kennedy, a guest speaker and a member of both communities says that: “For a black man in the LGBT community the only attention that you get when going on the dating scene is very objectifying. It has nothing to do with love, it has nothing to do with attraction”.

“The media does not portray black people in a positive light. When you think ‘a gay man’ you always see a blue-eyed, blonde-haired white man. That is what is being portrayed as being the gay man.”

On what message will he try to send across, Mr Kennedy said: “We are all here. And we are doing the best that we can. I will share my own experiences, that there are challenges but here’s what I am doing about it, here’s how I move through the world”.

“Doesn’t mean it’s perfect, doesn’t mean that I’ve found the solution. It’s just that this is how I manage and this is what I’m doing to make a difference. Because it’s one thing to complain about it, but another to actually do something about it.”

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Harvey is a BAME LGBT rights advocate. With his organisation Black Beetle Health, he aims “to promote health through evidence-based resource development and sign-posting of BAME-friendly services and support groups throughout the UK”.

Credit: Black Beetle Health
Harvey with @africadvocacy discussing barriers to sexual health engagement. Credit: Black Beetle Health

To join him and several other panellists for a talk on racial issues in the LGBT community, get your tickets at Eventbrite.

The event is on October 30 from 13 at the University of Salford, Chapman Building.

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