Lady Phyll warns UK government ‘must go faster’ to protect LGBTQ+ lives 

Lady Phyll is weraing a sparkly necklace and jumper and smiling for the camera.

Lady Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, the former executive director of LGBTQ+ charity Kaleidoscope Trust has called on the UK government to “go further and go faster” to stand up for LGBTQ+ rights around the world.

Opoku-Gyimah issued the warning ahead of her appointment as the CEO of UK Black Pride, having announced her decision to step down from Kaleidoscope Trust

Speaking at the Trust’s Annual Parliamentary Reception on Wednesday (6 December), the activist said that, while the world has seen progress in the Cook Islands and Mauritius – both of which repealed anti-LGBTQ+ laws this year – there was still “a long way to go.”

Lady Phyll, co-founder of UK Black Pride and executive director of Kaleidoscope Trust, has called on the UK government to do more for LGBTQ+ lives. (Credit: Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images for UK Black Pride)

In her speech, Lady Phyll pointed specifically to Uganda, which passed its horrific Anti-Homosexuality Act this year.

She revealed that partners of the Trust based in Uganda have already been subject to forced evictions and threats of violence under the hateful law, and have had to decide whether or not to flee their homes, Attitude reports.

Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act, signed into law by the President of Uganda further criminalises consensual same-sex activity as well as anyone campaigning for LGBTI+ rights or even speaking positively about LGBTQ+ people. Already at least one young man has been charged with so-called ‘aggravated homosexuality’ under this act, which potentially carries the death penalty.

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Opoku-Gyimah also touched on homophobic movements happening in countries like Botswana and Namibia, sparking a rise in anti-LGBTQ+ violence and hate speech.

But there is hope, she insisted, pointing to the vital work done by the Kaleidoscope Trust with organisations around the world to “change policies and legislation as well as hearts and minds.”

Lady Phyll
Lady Phyll highlighted the vital work done by the Kaleidoscope Trust to “change politics and legislation as well as hearts and minds.” (Corinne Cumming)

In order to see real change, Lady Phyll said that it was down to governments to “step up to the challenge” and be “absolutely consistent” in their support of LGBTQ+ funders and activist groups.

In particular, Lady Phyll called on the UK government to do more to protect LGBTQ+ rights around the world, warning that the progress made so far is “at risk.”

The UK government must “go further and must go faster,” she urged in her speech.

“The time for waiting is over. People’s lives are at risk. We have seen firsthand all too often what happens to our partners in the global south and east.” 

Concluding her speech, Lady Phyll called on all political parties to pledge their support to the Kaleidoscope Trust’s policy manifesto, which is now “fully developed as a strategy promoting global LGBTI rights.”

She urged: “We need to make sure that the UK is a leader in this movement. There is no time for waiting because this is about free, safe, and equal lives for LGBTI+ people around the world.”

While Lady Phyll is set to step down from the Kaleidoscope Trust at the end of the year, she has pledged her continued support of the organisation as a patron.

In the new year, she will make history as the first CEO of UK Black Pride – the world’s largest celebration of LGBTQ+ people of African, Asian, Caribbean, Latin American, and Middle Eastern descent – which she co-founded in 2005.

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