For full disclosure I am white. I feel I have to say that because it reflects on my experiences and it impacts on those who hear what I am saying. But I am also female and I am also gay. My life, as the lives of so many others, has been a mixture of privilege and oppression.
I am old enough to remember the times when being gay was effectively invisible. There were no tv programmes with LGBTQ characters, no openly gay role models, few affirming books or magazines and the internet had not been invented. Dinosaur times in many ways and almost unimaginable to the younger members of my extended family. But what changed was visibility. Not just LGBTQ people becoming visible, but supporters becoming visible too.
In a democracy, it is easy for the interests and rights of minorities to be ignored or swept under the carpet, because we have limited voting or economic power. It is only when the number of visible allies is large enough that it is possible to hold those in power to account. It is time for allies to be more visible and to demand change.
I live in a very multicultural city in the Midlands and am part of a LGBTQ+ Christian group, many of our members are BAME. In planning discussions for pride last year, one of the discussions we had was about flags and we decided to use the 8 colour rainbow flag as well as the traditional 6 colour one. It was our way of expressing visibly our commitment to full BAME inclusion.
So now it is time to go further. I have changed my logos to reflect visibly that Black Lives Matter. It matters to me and to the communities that I am part of.
I know that changing my web page picture and changing my twitter profile etc won’t change the world, but it is one more step on the journey to the full dignity of all God’s people. It needs a lot of allies to say that this matters to us all and to be seen to be saying that.
Living in a multicultural city the experience for people of colour can be different from that in more traditionally white areas, but most of the issues still remain. Those problems are there in the LGBTQ community too. Issues of power imbalance, economic power or privilege. When you look at national organisations supporting the LGBTQ community, where are the BAME people in national leadership? What are we doing to promote their contribution and leadership at local levels? When we have Pride celebrations, are there people of colour in leadership of the event or of the organisations taking part? Whose talents and gifts are we missing? Which voices are not being heard in our community?
This website is one where faith is central to our work and this means being multi faith and ecumenical. It means being able to amplify the voices that are missing, but not trying to speak for them. I cannot speak for the experience of being LGBTQ and Hindu or Sikh or Muslim or Jewish or the many other faiths present in my city, but I hear their voices and join my voice to theirs.