#ByYourSide: Diversity Matters LGBTQ workshop calls for allyship to the Black struggle

Earlier this week we hosted an audience participatory art workshop to support LGBT charity Stonewall for their Stonewall Season exhibition next month. The workshop held at University of the Arts London (UAL), was facilitated by Black, transfemme performance artist and writer Travis Alabanza.

Instead of presenting a thing where maybe Black folk are expected to have this solidarity with LGBTQ people, that for me erases the fact that Black LGBTQ people exist… Basically we could have a huge Black Live Matter in the middle; to me Black Lives Matter is an LGBTQ issue because at the forefront of people dying from police brutality are (Black) Queer people, are Trans people – are people in our community.” – Travis Alabanza


The purpose of the art work was to inject Blackness into the space, not knowing how diverse the exhibition will be. We wanted to add our contribution to the “diversity” of the LGBTQ community.

We started the workshop by sharing ideas on what the theme “By Your Side” means to us individually. We also thought of times we’ve experiences racism and our non-BAME (Black and Minority Ethnic) friends hadn’t been by our side by interjecting. Some of the examples included a drag performance going on stage “black face” which was brushed off as “it’s just for fun”, and times a black person’s afro hair has been touched or made comparison to when it was straight as looking “more professional”. This dissecting of “#ByYourSide” lead us to conclude that we wanted to use the space and opportunity to put the Black struggle in the forefront!

Some of of the work produced also acted as visual to the recent 8 black trans women murdered, not covered in the news. The ideas we shared was to put the names on, and flood our thoughts on the characteristic of how the wider LGBTQ community can “be by our side” so like “no silence”. By putting their names on the art collage it becomes a visual so people at the exhibition can understand it’s a call to “By Your Our Side”!

CLICK HERE for “These Are the Trans People Killed in 2016″ By Advocate.com Editors

Special thanks to Travis Alabanza for facilitating a powerful workshop, Stonewall for inviting Diversity Matters to collaborate, and Arts Diversity Matters Society for arranging the space.

Find our more about Stonewall Season Closing Exhibition and to make a bid for the art work produced CLICK HERE!

Travis Alabanza is tour the UK this Black History Month! Don’t miss an opportunity to see them perform! CLICK HERE to for their tour dates

Share your thoughts in the comment box below!

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