Phyllis Akua Opoku-Gyimah, also known as ‘Lady Phyll’, is a British political activist and the co-founder of the UK Black Pride.

Phyll Opoku-Gyimah Sarah Jeynes of (according to EXIF metadata), CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Opoku-Gyimah, who is of Ghanaian descent, sought to create an event that would honour LGBTQ+ individuals of African, Asian, Caribbean, Middle Eastern, and Latin American origins. As a Black-African lesbian, Opoku-Gyimah wanted to create a “safe space” for People of Colour to freely express themselves. Opoku-Gyimah was awarded an MBE in 2016, however she publicly denied the award and noted that she would not accept the distinction if “LGBT+ people are still being persecuted, tortured and even killed because of sodomy laws […] that were put in place by British imperialists.

When Heidi Alexander resigned to work for the Mayor of London, Phyllis joined the Labour Party internal election to succeed her as Member of Parliament for Lewisham East. “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.”

Phyll Opoku-Gyimah was later appointed Executive Director of the charity, Kaleidoscope Trust. The non-profit organisation advocates for LGBTQ+ people’s human rights in nations where they are discriminated against. Lady Phyll recently joined LinkedIn as a Changemaker, with the goal of amplifying underrepresented voices in the workplace. She also continues to campaign for intersectional equality.