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News & Views

Celebrating Black Lives: Lady Phyll

This month, we celebrate the life of Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, best known as Lady Phyll - co-founder and executive director of UK Black Pride.

Born in Britain to Ghanaian parents in 1974, Lady Phyll has been politically active since her schooldays. When her requests to learn about black history were refused, she went to the library to educate herself, reading about Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. In 2005 she co-founded UK Black Pride to celebrate and advocate for African, Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American and Caribbean-heritage LGBTQI+ people.

In 2016 she made headlines when she turned down an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) because of its “toxic legacy of empire.” More recently Lady Phyll became executive director of Kaleidoscope Trust, a charity which campaigns for the rights of LGBT+ people across the Commonwealth.

“Some of us are born with a nagging, persistent and stubborn feeling that we are part of the solution, and I’m one of those people.”

Phyll Opoku-Gyimah at the Global Gay Rights event at the Southbank Centre in London on 9 March 2014. Photo by Sarah Jeynes of (according to EXIF metadata), licensed under the Creative CommonsAttribution 2.0 Generic license.

“The most important human right is the right to be a human without fear of being tortured, persecuted, vilified, victimised, stigmatised, and being able to live as any other person, regardless of sexual orientation, gender, gender diversity, any different form of social categorisation that makes up who we are.”

“When we rise together, we are mighty.”

Each month we mark the significant life of a person of colour as a positive statement and a contribution to redressing historical imbalances in our society. More profiles.


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