It is no secret that the organised LGBT community is largely made up of white people, this leads to People of Colour (PoC) who identify with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersexual (LGBTQI) community to feel isolated.
Rainbow Noir wants to tackle this issue, by giving PoC who identify as being LGBTQI, a peer-support space where people like themselves can meet and form friendships.
Located at The LGBT Centre, Rainbow Noir meets once a month where they can discuss topics and watch films based around LGBTQI issues.
TNT spoke to Chloe, one of the organisers at Rainbow Noir, who said, “You don’t really see black queer people on TV, so we try to provide a space were we get to see that content”.
Rainbow Noir is a space exclusively for PoC – this may cause offense to some – however Chloe explains, “It’s a women’s group. You wouldn’t allow men in a woman’s group, because there’s a space for women to talk about things that are important to them without men who have lots of power and take over spaces”.
There is a feeling within this community that the issues they face, such as faith and culture, are not being discussed. Chloe mentions that, “There’s a lot of racism that happens in LGBT scenes, they might have a panel event and only have white speakers on it, or they might talk about experiences being a LGBT person but very much from a white point of view, so ignoring the fact that actually faith, culture and racism impacts on LGBT people”.
Chloe told TNT about Home Theatre excluding Rainbow Noir from a screening of the film Tangerine, which is about black transgender women in America. They were never approached by the theatre about tickets or advertisements.
She said, “People aren’t reaching out to those communities because they don’t care, because they know that people are going to pay anyway. Naturally, we are the sort of audience that should be seeing films about us. That’s an example of racism within an organisation, I’m sure they’re not meaning to be racist. But, by not reaching out and including communities, they are being racist”.
Chloe also talked about the barriers LGBTQI PoC face in places like Canal Street. Manchester’s Gay Village is often a celebrated part of the city, however, Chloe points out the lack of diversity in the club nights for PoC who don’t have anywhere to listen to the music they enjoy.
Talking about the last time she went to Canal Street, she said, “The only place that was playing RnB had two floors, and the first floor playing generic dance music was free. The RnB room was £5”.
Rainbow Noir has been asked to talk at meetings from Oxford University to a Trade Union Congress conference. They highlight and bring awareness to the experiences and issues that LGBTQI PoC face within their own community.
TNT LGBTQI Tiffany Cook