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UK Black Pride 2019: Thousands visit Haggerston Park for biggest celebration of LGBTQ+ people of colour

PUBLISHED: 18:46 08 July 2019 | UPDATED: 18:46 08 July 2019

Dancing to the music from the main stage at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna Ashby

Dancing to the music from the main stage at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna Ashby

@siornaphotography

UK Black Pride welcomed thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people of colour to its new home in Haggerston Park on Sunday.

Flag of Dominica and Pride at UK Black Pride at the main stage. Picture: Siorna AshbyFlag of Dominica and Pride at UK Black Pride at the main stage. Picture: Siorna Ashby

The celebration is organised by and dedicated to LGBTQ+ people of African, Asian, Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Latin American descent.

They can face discrimination from both the communities they grew up in and the wider LGBTQ+ community itself.

Pride flags for sale at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna AshbyPride flags for sale at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna Ashby

Black Pride is an event that celebrates the diversity of LGBTQ+ people and recognises unique struggles that queer people of colour - QTIPOC, or queer, transgender and intersex people of colour - face.

British-Iraqi writer, drag performer and filmmaker Amrou Al-Khadi spoke of his first experience at Black Pride last year.

Jason Kwan performing live at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna AshbyJason Kwan performing live at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna Ashby

"It can be particularly tricky for queer people of colour or faith intersecting at the site of different opposing groups," he told the Gazette.

"Being queer and Muslim, you kind of exist on this tectonic faultline where a lot of Muslims hate you for being gay and a lot of gay people are quite Islamaphobic, and I [thought]: 'I'm not going to belong anywhere.'

Jordan Charles, from BBC1's All Together Now, speaking at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna AshbyJordan Charles, from BBC1's All Together Now, speaking at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna Ashby

"Then all of a sudden, I heard this song from my childhood a song by a Muslim singer called Umm Kulthum, and I was like: 'How am I hearing this at a queer space? I only [heard] this when my mum grounded me for wearing pink socks!'

"Then I looked to the left and it was almost like this apparition of people who had always been there. It was queer Arabs and Muslims in Pride. It was just in my periphery my whole life."

Crowds at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna AshbyCrowds at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna Ashby

Birmingham has seen weeks of protests by some faith groups against the inclusion of LGBTQ+ people's stories and rights in teaching.

Ferhan Khan, a queer Muslim activist, spoke on a panel at Black Pride about what queer Muslims can do to educate those around them community and stand up to homophobia.

Listening to the speakers at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna AshbyListening to the speakers at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna Ashby

He told the Gazette how important it is to be "as visible as you can without putting your life in danger".

"Pride means a celebration of being who I am - uncompromising, unequivocally who I am, 100 per cent," said Ferhan.

Amber Hikes, director of Phillidelphia's Office of LGBT Affairs, speaks at UK Black Pride. Amber is the creator of the inclusive pride flag, which includes black and brown stripes. Picture: Siorna AshbyAmber Hikes, director of Phillidelphia's Office of LGBT Affairs, speaks at UK Black Pride. Amber is the creator of the inclusive pride flag, which includes black and brown stripes. Picture: Siorna Ashby

There are 72 countries today that criminalise gay relationships. Some still have the death penalty.

It follows that people who come from or exist within communities not accepting of LGBTQ+ identites may hide who they are - Black Pride is an opportunity for them to express these identities and see others like themselves.

Celebrating at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna AshbyCelebrating at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna Ashby

One member of Rainbow Sisters, a support group for lesbian and bisexual women asylum seekers, spoke about about struggling with her sexual identity after leaving Uganda 18 years ago.

She found a "family" in the LGBTQ+ community and was proud and happy to attend Black Pride.

Opening Doors London (ODL) are a charity providing information and support services specifically for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT+) people over 50 in the UK. Picture: Siorna AshbyOpening Doors London (ODL) are a charity providing information and support services specifically for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT+) people over 50 in the UK. Picture: Siorna Ashby

"I'm telling you," she said, "it's really important you feel you are with your family.

"If I'm with my family I feel so happy - I feel so great. I feel I'm loved 'cause ever since I was born I've never been loved.

Volunteer and the crowds at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna AshbyVolunteer and the crowds at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna Ashby

"Before, I didn't have a family, so now I feel I've got people who love me around - I'm really so grateful for all LGBTQ+ people in the world. They're the most beautiful people."

Rainbow Sisters were shocked to see Serco marching in Saturday's main Pride parade. The contractor runs the Yarl's Wood immigration detention centre, where some of the group's women were detained.

UK Black Pride in Haggerston Park. Picture: Siorna AshbyUK Black Pride in Haggerston Park. Picture: Siorna Ashby

They opened the wellbeing and wellness stage. As well as discussions on issues and concerns important to queer people of colour, there was music by LGBTQ+ artists while many enjoyed the African and Caribbean food on offer.

Black Pride has been running for 13 years, having been founded by a group called Black Lesbians in the UK.

Celebrating at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna AshbyCelebrating at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna Ashby

Last year it was held in Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, but since the number of people attending has grown, the biggest Pride celebration of its kind in Europe has moved to Hackney.

Selfies at UK Black Pride UK. Picture: Siorna AshbySelfies at UK Black Pride UK. Picture: Siorna Ashby

Pride Flag worn proudly at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna AshbyPride Flag worn proudly at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna Ashby

Dancing to the music from the main stage at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna AshbyDancing to the music from the main stage at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna Ashby

Dancing in the crowds at UK Black Pride with Bollocks to Brexit in the background. Picture: Siorna AshbyDancing in the crowds at UK Black Pride with Bollocks to Brexit in the background. Picture: Siorna Ashby

UK Black Pride supporter. Picture: Siorna AshbyUK Black Pride supporter. Picture: Siorna Ashby

Gamersinc representing at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna AshbyGamersinc representing at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna Ashby

Proud rainbow fans were welcomed as the sun came out in the afternoon at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna AshbyProud rainbow fans were welcomed as the sun came out in the afternoon at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna Ashby

Dancing to the main stage music at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna AshbyDancing to the main stage music at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna Ashby

Happiness with wings at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna AshbyHappiness with wings at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna Ashby

Crowds start to gather at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna AshbyCrowds start to gather at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna Ashby

Celebrating UK Black Pride with colour and smiles. Picture: Siorna AshbyCelebrating UK Black Pride with colour and smiles. Picture: Siorna Ashby

Neo10Y performing at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna AshbyNeo10Y performing at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna Ashby

Deanz & Charmer rock the stage at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna AshbyDeanz & Charmer rock the stage at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna Ashby

House of Rainbow, offering support to the LGBTQ community. Picture: Siorna AshbyHouse of Rainbow, offering support to the LGBTQ community. Picture: Siorna Ashby

Flag of Dominica & Pride at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna AshbyFlag of Dominica & Pride at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna Ashby

London Fire Brigade stall at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna AshbyLondon Fire Brigade stall at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna Ashby

Stonewall at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna AshbyStonewall at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna Ashby

Anthony Hunte. programme and volunteering manager at Spectre, with the Gia headdress promoting HIV testing services. Picture: Siorna AshbyAnthony Hunte. programme and volunteering manager at Spectre, with the Gia headdress promoting HIV testing services. Picture: Siorna Ashby

The Kaleidoscope Trust, working to uphold the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people internationally. Picture: Siorna AshbyThe Kaleidoscope Trust, working to uphold the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people internationally. Picture: Siorna Ashby

Naz Project, raising awareness of sexual health at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna AshbyNaz Project, raising awareness of sexual health at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna Ashby

UK Black Pride in Haggerston Park. Picture: Siorna AshbyUK Black Pride in Haggerston Park. Picture: Siorna Ashby

UK Black Pride in Haggerston Park. Picture: Siorna AshbyUK Black Pride in Haggerston Park. Picture: Siorna Ashby

The Sainsbury's Group celebrating UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna AshbyThe Sainsbury's Group celebrating UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna Ashby

Anthony Hunte. programme and volunteering manager at Spectre, with Gia, promoting HIV testing services. Picture: Siorna AshbyAnthony Hunte. programme and volunteering manager at Spectre, with Gia, promoting HIV testing services. Picture: Siorna Ashby

UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna AshbyUK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna Ashby

Rainbow wristbands unite at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna AshbyRainbow wristbands unite at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna Ashby

Rainbow Sisters at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna AshbyRainbow Sisters at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna Ashby

Rainbow Sisters at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna AshbyRainbow Sisters at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna Ashby

An attendee waves the rainbow flag proudly. Picture: Siorna AshbyAn attendee waves the rainbow flag proudly. Picture: Siorna Ashby

Hackney Mayor philip Glanville signs up for Amnesty International's Rainbow Network. Picture: Siorna AshbyHackney Mayor philip Glanville signs up for Amnesty International's Rainbow Network. Picture: Siorna Ashby

UK Black Pride co founder and executive director Phyll Opoku-Gyimah at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna AshbyUK Black Pride co founder and executive director Phyll Opoku-Gyimah at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna Ashby

Hackney mayor Philip Glanville and UK Black Pride co-founder and executive director Phyll Opoku-Gyimah raise flags before the event. Picture: Siorna AshbyHackney mayor Philip Glanville and UK Black Pride co-founder and executive director Phyll Opoku-Gyimah raise flags before the event. Picture: Siorna Ashby

UK Black Pride co founder and executive director Phyll Opoku-Gyimah; Pari Dhillion, UK Black Pride director; and Hackney mayor Philip Glanville arrive at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna AshbyUK Black Pride co founder and executive director Phyll Opoku-Gyimah; Pari Dhillion, UK Black Pride director; and Hackney mayor Philip Glanville arrive at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna Ashby

Hackney rolled out the rainbow carpet. Hackney mayor Philip Glanville and UK Black Pride co founder and executive Director Phyll Opoku-Gyimah walk the rainbow crossing. Picture: Siorna AshbyHackney rolled out the rainbow carpet. Hackney mayor Philip Glanville and UK Black Pride co founder and executive Director Phyll Opoku-Gyimah walk the rainbow crossing. Picture: Siorna Ashby

Diane Abbott makes a special appearance at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna AshbyDiane Abbott makes a special appearance at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna Ashby

Pride rainbow flag with the Star of David at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna AshbyPride rainbow flag with the Star of David at UK Black Pride. Picture: Siorna Ashby

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