The Diaspora Showcase | Stonewall
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The Diaspora Showcase

Stonewall's BAME and POC Staff Network present 'The Diaspora Showcase', a celebration of the beautiful diverse BAME/POC and LGBTQ community.

The event took place in London on 6 September, kindly hosted by Amazon's Black Employee Network UK. For images of the event, please scroll to the end of this page. 

Join us for a night filled with inspiring voices from the BAME/POC LGBTQ community, including activists, performers, poets and writers; delicious Afro-Caribbean inspired canapes from Zoe's Ghana Kitchen; and a chance to network meaningfully with others in the BAME/POC community. 

  • Date: 6 September
  • Where: 1 Principal Place, Worship Street, EC2A 2FA, London
  • Time: 6.00pm till 10.00pm
  • Dress Code: Dress to impress
  • Tickets: Free! You must be over 18. 

At Stonewall, we believe that it's important to accomodate and maintain spaces for people who are marginalised within society. Therefore we would like to invite members of the BAME/POC community to attend.

This event has kindly been supported by Barefoot Wine.

Contributors

Host: Dr Ronx Ikharia, Emergency medicine doctor and TV presenter

What does it mean to you to be in the BAME/POC LGBTQ community? 

Being a visibly queer, black, British Nigerian professional is so important to me. I'm always thankful to those BAME LGBTQIA+ humans who have paved the way for me to live my best authentic life. I haven’t always been comfortable in my own skin so I hope that my existence encourages other black LGBTQIA+ people, especially those in the generations below, to be free with their expressions of self.

The sad fact is that LGBTQIA+ people still live in fear all over the world. I don't take my freedoms lightly or for granted. Giving back to the community, inspiring, educating and encouraging is my tiny way of reducing the suffocating hold of homophobia. 

Being black in the LGBTQIA+ community is everything to me. 

Travis Alabanza, Artist, Performer and Writer

photo credit: Holly Revell

What does it mean to you to be in the BAME/POC LGBTQ community? 

To me, it means survival. It means holding in our complexities and depth the power of so much history, resilience and beauty. It means being connected to a lineage that is larger than myself.

KUCHENGA, Writer 

photo credit: https://www.eivindhansen.com/contact/

What does it mean to you to be in the BAME/POC LGBTQ community? 

We are our ancestors wildest dreams! Therefore, I have a black feminist responsibility to take care of myself and others. I educate myself in order to dismantle and evolve into the best loving being I can. We decolonise our minds so that we can dismantle and transform. The intersectional analysis we bring to our collective struggle is intended to liberate everyone but as queer and trans people of colour, we are at the vanguard necessarily. Our boldness and bravery is rewarded with electrifying language, movements that cause earthquakes in culture and a creative abundance which means we have too much for them to steal everything (even though they keep trying). Our community is glorious and the fountain of our collective flourishing souls will be forever nourishing.

Laks Mann, Community Engagement - Founder of Gaysians

What does it mean to you to be in the BAME/POC LGBTQ community?

I feel blessed to be Gaysian - to embrace that colourful intersection of being South Asian and LGBTQ. For our wider community of diaspora peoples, visibility matters and it's incredibly empowering when we celebrate our QPOC identities. Put simply - we're cut from a different cloth.

Dean Atta, Poet

What does it mean to you to be in the BAME/POC LGBTQ community? 

Within the community, I don’t feel like I need to explain myself the way I do outside of the community. There is a level of understanding and a sense of solidarity that means even when we’re not on the exact same page we’re at least reading from the same book. 

Khakan Qureshi, Founder of Birmingham South Asians LGBT - Finding A Voice

What does it mean to you to be in the BAME/POC LGBTQ community?

Being BAME in the LGBTQ community can be a blessing as well as blindsiding. In that, we are unique in our identities, but we are conditioned to constantly explain, validate or justify ourselves, our actions and beliefs to those who are not BAME. I have tried to navigate my sexual orientation amid religious guilt, cultural oppression and heteronormative constrictions and restrictions, the shackles of which I have tried to break free of, only to be placed on me again, when I meet someone new.  

The different layers of my identity sometimes create confusion, concern and consternation in others, while the reality is I am calm, confident and quietly seeking to make or take affirmative action. I am British Asian, Pakistani, Muslim, Indo-Pak, Indian, South Asian, male, brown, gay and more. At my age, I have to say stop perpetuating the myths and stereotypes. I am not what you see or read in the media.

I am in the here and now. I am HERE and NOW, see me. 

I am comfortable in my skin as a brown, gay, Muslim; trolled and threatened, admired and applauded at every junction and turn. The bottom line is, I don't have to care anymore what others think of me. I know my history, am proud of my heritage and am happy to be me. 

Tobi Adebajo, Artist, Queer Hairstylist, Scientist, Co-Founder of 'Femmes of Colour' & 'Purple Rain Collective'

photo credit: Myah Jeffers 

What does it mean to you to be in the BAME/POC LGBTQ community?

Being a Black Queer Womxn in the LGBTQ community means a whole lot of things to me.

Primarily, it means that all the labour and love that has been exerted by those who came before me hasn't been for nought and should always be remembered. 

It means creating spaces that would not exist outside of us carving them out for ourselves. 

It means choosing what healthy, healing and sustainable community can look like and holding space for the wide and wonderful variety of existences that it can encompass.

Kemah Bob, Comedy writer, performer and producer 

What does it mean to you to be in the BAME/POC LGBTQ community? 

It means working to be a better ally - because all People of Colour and LGBTQ folk don't live the same experience. It means seeking and creating spaces to be free... and (sometimes literally) yelling "WHERE ARE THE BLACK PEOPLE?!" when I walk into 75% of queer events around London. It means fighting for visibility while battling tokenization. It means having beautiful examples of ways to express, embrace and love myself.

Symoné, Performer - rollerstakes, hula hoops, cabaret

What does it mean to you to be in the BAME/POC LGBTQ community?

It means having connections with others that walk a similar life path. By going to events and meeting other LGBTQI+ Poc artists, I’ve found so many friendships and built strong work relationships. Since, I’ve been continuously inspired by the success of the people around me, seeing unique creative work emerge from the people around me; it’s beautiful!

Bunni Morretto, Burlesque Performer

photo credit: Rob Brazier

What does it mean to you to be in the BAME/POC LGBTQ community? 

As a burlesque performer that incorporates my culture in my performances being in POC Queer spaces has been beautiful as I am fully understood, I am not fetishized #IamNotAFetish

It's important to feel understood, supported and empowered. Being part of this community allows you to do this. Embracing your natural beauty in a world that doesn't seem as welcoming is vital. It's crucial for the BAME/POC LGBTQ community to be in control of their own content, told by us for us (and anyone else who wants to listen) , not being a spectacle but something to celebrate, that way the perception can't be twisted. Back in the day black burlesque wasn't recorded, representation is so important so you know you exist. 
The beauties that have come before us who made enough noise to allow us to exist and stand whole and take ownership in the spaces we do today but it also reminds me that we still have so far to go.

We're here to conquer regardless of our profession and it's a beautiful thing to be a part of. #Queening

Jasmine Wisdish, Pastry Chef

What does it mean to you to be in the BAME/POC community?

As a chef and food lover, the culture surrounding food in the BAME community is fascinating; it's so vibrant and has such depth and beauty to it. Food has the power to bring people together and to teach others about our culture as well as learning from it ourselves. Coming together with loved ones to share a meal can provide people with a safe space and is a healing process for many.

Accessibility

We want our events to be accessible to everyone. The venue is fully accessible. 

All guests should feel safe, welcome and included at our events. If you experience or witness something that makes you feel uncomfortable you can speak to any member of the Network Group 

If there is anything we can do to make the event better for you, please get in touch. You can email us on BAMEPOC.Network@stonewall.org.uk

Contact Us

For more information about this event, contact the Network Group at BAMEPOC.Network@stonewall.org.uk