A groundbreaking new campaign from Terrence Higgins Trust goes live in London today. Four posters show different images of black people talking about coming to terms with the sexuality of a close relative or friend, and can now be seen at bus shelters across the capital. The campaign encourages the black community to think about and discuss homosexuality and the issues that the subject raises, and has already sparked comment and media coverage.
Simon Nelson of Terrence Higgins Trust said: “Homophobia in the wider black community is very common, and is often deemed to be acceptable behaviour. There is a strong belief that black people simply can’t be gay, but there are as many black men and women who have relationships with people of the same sex as there are in any other race or community. Black gay people frequently feel isolated and unable to talk about their sexuality, and are sometimes forced by their fears about acceptance to adopt an outwardly “straight” lifestyle. They may also be unable to find or use information about safer sex in a setting that is both safe and in which they feel comfortable. This can have serious consequences for a person’s mental and physical well being.”
The campaign has already been endorsed by Linda Bellos, co-chair of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Advisory Group to the Metropolitan Police Service, and chair of Southwark Anti- Homophobic Forum. Linda said: “The images in this campaign are very moving, and should strike a chord with many of us. I believe the campaign is a welcome endorsement of the conversations which have already begun in the black community about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues. It’s great to see these issues brought further into the public domain – let’s keep the conversations going.”
Simon Nelson added: ”This campaign marks the first time that the black community in the UK has been asked to face this important issue. It’s already sparked debate within the community, and we hope that it will make people realise that sexuality is something as individual as each and every one of us.”