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LGBTQ+ History Month profile: Lady Phyll

Lady Phyll (full name Phyllis Akua Opoku-Gyimah) is known for her trailblazing work on racial equality and queer activism.

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Illustration of Lady Phyll.

Lady Phyll 

b. 1974 
Lady Phyll (full name Phyllis Akua Opoku-Gyimah) is known for her trailblazing work on racial equality and queer activism.  

She is one of the UK’s most prominent lesbian activists and is the co-founder of UK Black Pride, one of Europe’s largest events for QTIPOC (queer, trans and intersex people of colour). 

Lady Phyll is also the executive director of human rights charity Kaleidoscope Trust and has previously worked within the Trade Union Congress (TUC) advocating for workers’ rights.  

Lady Phyll has spent much of her life addressing, and speaking out against, the intersection of racism and homophobia, tirelessly raising awareness of the experience of her community. 

In 2016, Lady Phyll publicly turned down an MBE for her activism, citing the toxic legacy of British colonialism which has led to laws criminalising gender diversity and outlawing gay relationships across the world.  

She calls on white people to educate themselves on the history of racism and to understand the forms of oppression that Black British people face. 

“It often feels like a terrifying time to be Black. Don’t get me wrong: we, as a community — in its breathtaking breadth, depth and diversity — have come far, but overt racism is on the rise. I tell you this as a Black woman, as an activist and as the co-founder of UK Black Pride: I tell you this as someone battling on the front lines… 

With the rise of racism comes the rise of beautiful, sonorous Black voices. With the rise of racism comes a very loud clap back from a community well-weathered, well-prepared and well-armed. And we come emboldened and ready to demonstrate, as we always do, that our lives matter and that no amount of bullying, racism, sexism or misogyny will hold us back from claiming our rightful place as equals.” 

To see more LGBTQ+ profiles, news, resources and events, visit the SU LGBTQ+ hub.


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