Stonewall and gal-dem host discussion of seven trans people of colour about issues facing the community
Writer and activist KUCHENGA chairs evening’s roundtable
Drag artist CHIYO took part to entertain guests
Stonewall’s network of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) staff and trans staff network came together to host a roundtable discussion of seven trans people of colour (POC) on Friday 21 February at Chats Palace, London. The event was chaired by writer and activist KUCHENGA and gal-dem, an award winning media company committed to sharing perspectives from women and non-binary people of colour.
The Roundtable brought together a diverse range of BAME/POC trans individuals to share in discussions about their experiences of marginalisation both within the LGBT community, but also in wider society. The conversation also focused on issues including health, self-care and the importance of community-building for trans people of colour both in Britain and internationally.
Speakers on the night included:
- Tobi Adebajo: A community focused hair stylist, organiser, scientist, singer and writer.
- Travis Alabanza: Performer, writer and theatre maker.
- Kenny Ethan Jones: Model and activist.
- Mridul Wadhma: Manager in the violence against women sector.
- Radam Ridwan: Model and creative writer.
- Shash Appan: Glitter Cymru activist.
Guests were also treated to a powerful performance from drag artist CHIYO. As the event was created by and made for BAME/POC people, tickets were specifically reserved for members of the community.
While trans communities and identities are often the subject of discussion, rarely are they given the space to talk about what life is like for them and the issues they care about. Through events like The Roundtable, Stonewall is keen to platform a diverse range of trans voices, where they can safely discuss challenges and celebrate their identities and histories.
Research by Stonewall demonstrates why safe spaces like The Roundtable are needed. BAME LGBT people are twice as likely than white people to attend LGBT-specific events, despite the fact that half of BAME LGBT people (51 per cent) experiencing discrimination from within the community.
The Roundtable is another important event in a wider series put together by Stonewall as part of its ongoing commitment to becoming a more BAME-inclusive organisation. In the past year, the charity has hosted its second Diaspora Showcase, strengthened its partnership with UK Black Pride and run a free community role model programme for BAME/POC LGBT young people.
Alex Long and Marcus Paterson, Co-Chairs of Stonewall’s Trans Staff Network said: ‘Trans people, but particularly trans people of colour, continue to face high levels of discrimination and abuse in all areas of their lives. Given this, events like The Roundtable are vital because they provide a much-needed space for trans people of colour to speak and be heard in their own voices.
‘We’re incredibly proud to have worked with the BAME and POC Staff Network to put on such a special event. By working together in solidarity, we want to show how the struggle against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia is linked with the fight against racism. There can be no hierarchy of equality in a world where all LGBT people are accepted without exception.’
Yeme Onoabhagbe and Mae Kaboré, Co-Chairs of Stonewall’s BAME/POC staff network, said: ‘It’s incredibly rare to see seven trans people of colour on-stage together to discuss their experiences. The voices of trans people of colour continue to be excluded and erased both within the LGBT community and in wider society, which is part of what makes an event like the Roundtable so special and important.
By working with our Trans Staff Network to make this event happen, we wanted to show what allyship and acting in solidarity looks like in practice. Building a world where LGBT people from all walks of life can be themselves means we have to bring in and listen to diverse parts of our community. The more we amplify, celebrate and listen to these voices, the sooner equality will become a reality for everyone.’