UK Black Pride exec Phyll Opoku-Gyimah confirms plan to run for Parliament in Lewisham East by-election

UK Black Pride co-founder Phyll Opoku-Gyimah has confirmed she intends to stand for Parliament in Lewisham by-election

The London-based LGBT activist, known to many as Lady Phyll, is rumoured to be on the Labour Party’s shortlist for the Lewisham East by-election, after Labour MP Heidi Alexander quit Parliament to become Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s deputy.

Huffington Post reported that the party plans to create a first-of-its-kind shortlist of female black and minority ethnic (BME) candidates for the seat, which has a very large Labour majority.

Opoku-Gyimah is one of several candidates believed to be in contention, confirming her plans to DIVA Magazine.

Phyll Opoku-Gyimah and Andrea Riseborough attend the EE British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) held at Royal Albert Hall on February 18, 2018 in London, England. (Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

She told DIVA: “I come from a long line of women who refused to be silent. Women who stood up to be counted and who have worked tirelessly in advancing equality, justice and freedom for all.

“While I am nervous about stepping forward in such a public arena, I do so with the confidence of all those who believe in me, who know that our future in this city and far beyond is worth fighting for, and who will be energised by the possibility of an all-woman, all BME by-election shortlist.”

The activist is a co-founder and trustee of UK Black Pride, and has earned praise for her work reaching out to BME LGBT people who are often neglected by mainstream LGBT organisations.

She recently joined the Labour Party’s LGBT+ advisory board.

However she recently defended the decision to recruit disgraced former Gay Times editor Josh Rivers, who tweeted that “Jews are gross.”

Defending the decision to welcome Rivers to the Black Pride team, Lady Phyll told PinkNews: “”Josh apologised unreservedly… UK Black Pride accepts this and we have drawn a line under the matter.

“We believe everyone has a right to the growth and transformation our community has survived and thrived on.

“We welcome Josh to our team of dedicated volunteers, each of whom has been recruited from within our community.”

The activist previously turned down an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List.

Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, co-founder and executive director of UK Black Pride

The Black Pride co-founder said she could not accept the award when “LGBTQI people are still being persecuted, tortured and even killed” around the world under colonial laws.”

She said: “As a trade unionist, a working class girl, and an out black African lesbian, I want to stand by my principles and values.”

“I don’t believe in empire. I don’t believe in, and actively resist, colonialism and its toxic and enduring legacy in the Commonwealth, where – among many other injustices – LGBTQI people are still being persecuted, tortured and even killed because of sodomy laws… that were put in place by British imperialists.

“I’m honoured and grateful, but I have to say no thank you.”