Big Up at GMFA presents ‘Black & Gay in the UK’ event 3 August 2010

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Big Up at GMFA presents ‘Black & Gay in the UK: Rising against the challenges of homophobia, racism and HIV/AIDS’; a free event that will feature a screening of the documentary film ‘Beyond Labels’. Directed by Jaime Sylla, the film explores the Black gay male experience in London across the generations – from Gay Lib pioneer Ted Walker to the ‘Oh WoW Boys’, two young Black gay men and modern day YouTube stars. The event will take place from 6:30pm on Tuesday, 3 August at The Rich Mix, Bethnal Green Road, E1 6LA.

To book your free tickets, please email bigup@gmfa.org.uk with your name and the number of tickets you would like. A maximum of four tickets can be issued per person. If you don’t have access to the internet, you can reserve your tickets by calling 020 7738 3712.

Produced by GMFA, the gay men’s health charity, ‘Beyond Labels’ premiered at the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival in 2010. Jaime Sylla is the project manager for GMFA’s Big Up project, which creates sexual health interventions for Black gay men in London. He comments: “In making the film, it became increasingly apparent that the lack of positive Black gay role models can affect how Black gay men see themselves and can limit their future aspirations. While there is still much to overcome, I hope that the experiences of those featured in ‘Beyond Labels’ will inspire others to thrive, shine and live happier, healthier lives.”

The film looks into the life experiences of a group of men who have often been historically rendered invisible and stigmatised by the communities they belong to because of their sexuality and race. Focusing on the lives of Black gay men of different ages, it explores how racism, homophobia, HIV, migration and other issues can directly impact the construction of a healthy identity.

The screening of ‘Beyond Labels’ will be followed by a discussion panel with some leading figures in the Black gay community, a Q&A session with members of the audience and refreshments.

Matthew Hodson, Head of Programmes at GMFA, adds: “The film’s powerful message of strength and courage seemed to strike a chord with many at its premiere at the London Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. Following an enthusiastic response, we’re keen for the film to reach as wide an audience as possible. We hope that many more will take this opportunity to see it and be inspired by the stories of resilience and hope in the face of adversity.”