We are one in that today is our birthday and we’ve just turned one year old! colourfull began (and will always focus on) celebrating queer people of colour (QPoC). Through our Life Stories, I've had the privilege of meeting amazing people doing brilliant things for our community, be that through activism and movement building to creating safe spaces and visibility. And there are still so many more of you to meet. Hearing these beautiful stories gave me the confidence to share my own experiences touching upon dating, allyship within our community and the process of coming out.
As Lady Phyll said to me, we are not raised and taught how to develop intimacy and connection as the children of immigrants. We are taught to survive. My hope is that colourfull remains a space that shows how we thrive.
Our Year In Numbers 📊
We had almost 3000 unique readers of our blog posts and Life Stories (which is over 100+ per piece of content!)
Over 1000 followers across social media (hey, it’s not huge but we’re proud)
c. 6000 likes for our content on Insta
11 Life Stories published….. and counting!
Life Stories = Collective Life Lessons
We are one in that our experiences as a community have more in common than we think, regardless of gender, sexuality and race. Of course, there were elements that were specific to each person, but reading over all the Life Stories again, a few truths held true:
Coming out is not an end goal for QPoC. Nor is it a destination that everyone stops at. Coming out was seen as a privilege, especially if your safety was at risk. So whilst there was a focus on being authentic in spaces where you can do so, ensuring you were mentally and emotionally ready was an overriding theme, as was having access to the resources you needed should you find yourself isolated/alone. Coming out was challenged as a universal experience that all LGBTQ people must go through - so only come out if you want to/are able to, and you’re still valid in the community regardless of your choice.
Collective shame and finding ways to loosen the grip. Everyone understood the concept of living up to societal (heternormative) expectations that had been passed down to us from our families and those who came before them. The rationale was clear, it was to protect our cultural identities and encourage their children to lead better lives than they had been able. But this translated into an invisible code of conduct, and if you stepped outside of this, particularly as children of immigrants, you brought shame on not only yourself, but upon your family. The extent to which this regulated behaviour and our authenticity was deeply felt. Many of us felt guilty for our identities because of this, which is why colourfull aims to profile people who have overcome this adversity and lead full lives. Simply put, if you see it, you can be it.
Complete acceptance isn’t always a reality. Experiences varied from being ostracised and having to re-enter the closet to keeping the peace. The glamorised acceptance we see on screen (typically for White characters) wasn’t our reality. Many shared that upon coming out, that their family didn’t stop speaking to them was a measure of success, that whilst they didn’t talk about it (their sexuaity) remaining a part of their families was a success. My Dad understands my sexuality to be my choice, which is how he was raised to understand it as a concept. I’ve worked on it and we’ve made progress, but I could easily spend the next 10 years continuously debating with him that it’s not a choice, or be happy that his reaction has been so positive; as beyond language and understanding he simply wants me to be happy and safe. Don’t Whitewash what acceptance by your family must look like for you.
The importance of chosen family. This is a beautiful one to finish this section on; unanimously people shared the importance of QPoC spaces and finding others within the tribe who were navigating their intersectional identities too. These families became rich for love, support and learning. Don’t underestimate the brilliance of being around other QPoC, it feels like home. There are all types of safe spaces from AZ Mag Live to Hungama and UK Black Pride to new events and initiatives such as Queer Parivaar and Muslim Pride (led by Imaan) that cater for our the richness and diversity within the QPoC community.
What’s next for colourfull?
We be doing business 💼
You may not know, but we’ve taken (baby) steps to becoming a business and started consulting with clients on the inclusion of the LGBTQ community, people of colour and the intersection of the two. You can find out more about what we do (and how we might help) here! As we know, having access to resources (namely coin) is important to many QPoC, so this work helps further that mission and create workplaces that enable people like us to succeed.
We want to get closer to the community 🌈
We’ve loved being digital, but there is no substitute for physical safe spaces and events that provide support, lift us all and create allyship. The ideas are fizzing from TEDx style sessions, workshops for skills development to working with parents - watch this space!
We want to understand the queer experience in India! 🌏
colourfull is going to India for a couple months in Jan and Feb 2020 with the aim of connecting with other LGBTQ organisations and people and explore the queer Indian experience (and celebrate Queer Azaadi in Mumbai). There is something worth exploring here, so keep up to date on our adventures on Insta.
Get in touch if you’d like to know more or get involved; we’ll get more shit done and create bigger change together. And finally, thank you for the continued love and support!
Here’s to another colourfull year 🥂