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Lady Phyll, new LGBTQ rights leader, promotes cooperation

As Lady Phyll prepared for her new role as the leader of the Kaleidoscope Trust international LGBTQ rights group, she expressed her support for this blog’s model of working closely with local activists in countries with repressive anti-gay laws.

Phyll Opoku-Gyimah (Lady Phyll) has been named executive director of the Kaleidoscope Trust. (Photo courtesy of Kaleidoscope Trust)
In comments addressed to readers of the Erasing 76 Crimes blog, Phyll Opoku-Gyimah (Lady Phyll) said:
“Those of us with access and influence in the countries responsible for the implementation of anti-LGBTQ laws in countries around the world have a responsibility to actively dismantle those oppressive laws. In order to do that effectively, it’s vital we work with activists on the ground to understand social and cultural nuances, how those laws are enacted and what they need from us to do their work.
“Allyship and solidarity in this global struggle is very much about listening, about handing over resources and about working collaboratively. I look forward to hearing from and working with activists around the world to understand better how Kaleidoscope Trust can continue to be of service.”
Her selection was announced earlier this month:

Phyll Opoku-Gyimah appointed Executive Director of Kaleidoscope Trust

Kaleidoscope Trust logo

Kaleidoscope Trust, the leading UK charity advocating for the human rights of LGBTQ people globally, has appointed Phyll Opoku-Gyimah as executive director, effective 5 August, 2019. She replaces outgoing executive director Paul Dillane.

Widely known as Lady Phyll -– partly due to her decision to reject an MBE to protest Britain’s role in formulating anti-LGBTQ penal codes across its empire – she joins Kaleidoscope Trust from the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) trade union, where she has spent a decade advocating for the rights of workers within the union, including as a negotiator on behalf of Civil Service workers and as the Head of Equality and Learning.

A community builder and organiser, with strong ties to emergent LGBTQ movements around the world, Opoku-Gyimah is also the co-founder and executive director of UK Black Pride, Europe’s largest celebration for LGBTQ people of African, Asian, Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Latin American descent.

Phyll Opoku-Gyimah:

“With more than 20 years of experience as an LGBTQ rights activist and anti-racism campaigner, I’m thrilled to embark on the next chapter of my professional life with Kaleidoscope Trust. The charity’s work continues to be an important and necessary intervention across the Commonwealth and my on-the-ground work in the region has provided immeasurably valuable insight, not only into the lives of the LGBTQ civil society and their particular hurdles, but into the shared structures that continue to stifle liberation for people across the global south. I’m excited to lead this incredibly impassioned team to translate Kaleidoscope Trust’s mission, vision and strategy into measurable and lasting action.”

Sir Stephen Wall, Chair of the Board at Kaleidoscope Trust:

“From her work advocating for the rights of workers to leading one of the most impressive and effective pride organisations in the world, Lady Phyll has demonstrated that she has the personal qualities and professional skills to ensure our increased impact across the world. She brings to Kaleidoscope Trust a perspective, passion and set of skills that an organisation like ours needs to help address and redress the oppressive colonial legacies from which so many are trying to break free.”

Established in 2011, Kaleidoscope Trust strives for a free and equal world for LGBTQ people everywhere. The charity influences British and international institutions and partners to support LGBTQ activists to bring about legislative and social change in countries where LGBTQ people do not have equal rights and experience multiple forms of discrimination because of their sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

 

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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