Phyllis Akua Opoku-Gyimah, more commonly known as Lady Phyll, is one of the most influential figures in the British LGBT+ community.
- Statistics in the UK show that around 40% of LGBTQ people experience a mental health issue, compared to 25% of the wider population.
- 52% of LGBTQ people said they’ve experienced depression in the last year, with another 10% saying they think they might have experienced depression.
- Over the last year, 67% of trans people, 70% of non-binary people, 55% LGBT women and 46% of Gay men have experienced depression within the last year.
When you compare the fact that 3.3% of the general population have experienced depression in the previous year these figures become overwhelming. But the thing is, these are figures, these are people’s lives, and when you add the factor of ethnicity, the risk of depression and suicide increase even further.
As co-founder and Executive Director of UK Black Pride since 2005, Lady Phyll has embraced all of her identities, being a woman, Black, and Gay, and continues to campaign for equal rights for all people. UK Black Pride was birthed out of a necessity for racialised communities, who have long been marginalised from mainstream Pride. Lady Phyll reports that when she first approached mainstream Pride for support in diversifying, she was told to “f-off back to where I came from.” Being born and raised in London, this racist comment alone, further highlighted the need for change.
Unfortunately, racism exists in every community, even within spaces that are already marginalised like the LGBTQIA community. UK Black Pride has been going for 16 years, and is now Europe’s largest celebration for LGBTQIA people of African, Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American and Caribbean-heritage!
‘I really want Black LGBTQI people and people of colour in the UK to know that they are loved and that they matter. The goal is that we get to live free from violence and racism, that our trans siblings get to live the lives they deserve to live and that our elders are looked after as they grow older.’