In this week’s episode, Lady Phyll discusses the importance of inclusive education 💫

BY ELEANOR NOYCE, IMAGES COURTESY OF PHYLL OPOKU-GYIMAH

Exciting news, DIVAs! Co-Founder of UK Black Pride and Executive Director of Kaleidoscope Trust Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, also known as DIVA fave Lady Phyll, has collaborated with LGBTQI charity Just Like Us on an exciting new podcast, Growing Up LGBT+. Doesn’t that sound great?

Lady Phyll has long been a champion of LGBTQI rights, specifically focusing on Black lesbian visibility, so this is a watershed moment. Working to empower young people, Just Like Us exist to champion LGBTQI equality. Founded in 2016, the charity runs The Ambassador Programme, Pride Groups and School Diversity Week to train volunteers, educators and school staff respectively to champion LGBTQI education.

With 85% of LGBTQI young people perceiving homophobic remarks and one in four experiencing daily tensions at home, Just Like Us recognise the barriers that LGBTQI students continue to face.

Lady Phyll. Image via Lady Phyll

In this week’s episode, Lady Phyll discusses her family life, the importance of inclusive education, and how representation continues to shape the LGBTQI community. On the importance of recognising queer elders, she reflects: “I always talk about the shoulders of giants that I stand on because they’re the ones that actually paved the way – people like Veronica McKenzie, Femi Otitoju who was the first Black lesbian woman to head up and work on the London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard”.

“When the media presents what representation looks like and it doesn’t look like us, you don’t see these people who have been doing the groundwork for many, many years. You only see what is an ideal standard of beauty or acceptance in media,” she continues. “That’s why I love the work that you do – it’s so important that the next generation feel that they are able to have these conversations and have some of these very nuanced conversations, and help educate and teach us – it’s not just about us going in and talking about our lived experiences”.

If you’re as big a fan of Lady Phyll and Just Like Us’ work as we are, make sure to keep up with the Growing Up LGBT+ podcast on Spotify. Interested in becoming more involved? If you’re aged 18-25 and identify as LGBTQI, why not consider joining the Just Like Us Ambassador Programme to champion LGBTQI education in schools? Everybody say: equality!

DIVA magazine celebrates 27 years in print in 2021. If you like what we do, then get behind LGBTQI media and keep us going for another generation. Your support is invaluable. 

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