Edward Enninful urges marginalised communities to ‘fight together’ to support trans people
British Vogue editor Edward Enninful has urged marginalised communities to “fight together” against injustice, saying trans people are currently being “weaponised”.
While meeting young creatives during a special youth symposium event, presented by Citi in London on Thursday (16 February), Enninful, who was appointed as British Vogue’s first Black and gay male editor-in-chief in 2017, promised to “never stop fighting” against the forces of oppression.
During the intimate event at the Vogue International office, a young trans person in the audience highlighted the actions of the British government, Scotland’s battle over gender-recognition reform and the recent death of trans schoolgirl Brianna Ghey, before asking Enninful how people can stay motivated “in a world that tells you [that] you don’t deserve to exist”.
Enninful, who charted his incredible journey from a young boy growing up in Ghana to the editor of British Vogue in his 2022 memoir A Visible Man, replied: “Talk about being on the crossroads: I’m Black, I’m gay, I’m working-class. l’m overweight sometimes. I wasn’t meant to be here.
“I talk about that in the book, I wasn’t meant to be here. I wasn’t meant to be at Vogue. I wasn’t meant to be in the fashion industry, but I knew I would just power through. Failure was not an option.”
Speaking just days before his 51st birthday, Enninful, who also serves as Vogue’s European editorial director, went on: “I just know that, as bad as the world is, I’m still here. We’re still here. I was talking to my great friend Munroe Bergdorf the other day, and we talked about politicians, the trans community – it’s a small percentage of the population but with a big voice – and they’ve been weaponised.
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“They’ve been weaponised, but then the Conservative Party need to weaponise.”
Enninful’s tenure as editor of British Vogue has seen the contents of the iconic title and “Fashion Bible” diversified, and he issued a rallying cry for those from marginalised groups to “fight together” in an increasingly hostile political landscape.
“Let’s not forget, let’s go back, there was a moment where Black people were treated so bad[ly], they were feared. They moved on [to] gay people, now there’s a focus on the trans community, and we have to keep fighting”, Enninful declared. “We can’t just say: ‘You belong here, you belong here, this is your group’. We all have to fight together.
“So, to answer your question, I wake up every day and think the world is in such a state, but I also know that I will never stop fighting. You have to keep going, or you might as well just [lie] down. You have to challenge the status quo. That’s a natural part of who I am and what I believe in.
“Keep challenging and fighting,” he urged.
During the event, Enninful shared advice and insights from his storied life, in conversation with Amal Gomersall, a senior vice-president for community development at Citi.
The editor, stylist and former model was also treated to an exclusive look at trailers for two short films from young filmmakers, commissioned by Citi Foundation and the Mayor’s Fund for London, to give voice to the stories of marginalised young people.
Enninful has previously used his platform to champion greater LGBTQ+ freedom in the country of his birth, co-signing an open letter in 2021, which exhorted Ghana’s president, Nana Akufo-Addo, to protect the country’s queer community after an LGBTQ+ centre was shut down by police.
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