Just About Coping

Ep 8: Phyll Opoku-Gyimah

December 10, 2019 MHFA England
Just About Coping
Ep 8: Phyll Opoku-Gyimah
Show Notes Transcript

For the final episode of the series Simon caught up with long-time friend, activist, writer and the 'Queen of Kindness' Phyll Opoku-Gyimah.

Phyll, who you may know as Lady Phyll, is the Co-Founder and Director of UK Black Pride, and currently the Executive Director of the Kaleidoscope Trust, an international charity working to uphold and advance human rights for LGBT+ people. Before that, Phyll spent years working for trade unions fighting for equality in the workplace and beyond.

Phyll and Simon had an honest and emotional chat about:

  • The power of kindness and how to really listen to someone
  • Why Phyll no longer uses the word 'normalise'
  • The journey of UK Black Pride from 200 to 10,000 attendees
  • Why equality and mental health and wellbeing go hand in hand
  • The best advice Phyll has ever been given

Make sure to stay right to the end for a bonus story about the time Phyll met Whoopi Goldberg!

We'd love to know what you think! If you could take a moment to rate and review wherever you get your podcasts we would very much appreciate your feedback. You can do this on most platforms including:

Don't forget to get involved on social media using #JACPodcast!

More on Lady Phyll: twitter.com/MsLadyPhyll
UK Black Pride: ukblackpride.org.uk
The Kaleidoscope Trust: kaleidoscopetrust.com

More on Simon: twitter.com/Simonablake
Simon Blake OBE is the Chief Executive of Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England. His mission is to improve the mental health of the nation and help build an inclusive and  society where attitudes and behaviours around mental health are normalised. Simon received an OBE in 2011, is Deputy Chair at Stonewall, and enjoys running, equestrian eventing, and walks with his dog.

More on #JACPodcast:
MHFA England: mhfaengland.org
Email: media@mhfaengland.org

spk_0:   0:04
wait, She's This could be a little out. Take. I'm Simon and this is just about coping stays Guest is Phil Poku Jim, often known as Miss Lady Phil. Phil is the director off the Kaleidoscope Trust. Previously a trade unionist on DH, founder of UK Black. Right, I've known Phil for several years now. We served on the board of Stone Andi I absolutely adore the work that she does her attitude and al become life on the way that she just really tackles equality and diversity. We talked about racism. We talked about structural inequality. We talked about feeling we talked about pain. We've helped about optimism and hope. I love talking to Phil and I hope that you go away from this podcast. As inspired as I have talking Teo so really pleased to be here at Kleiss Scope offices today with Phil Lady Fila's many of you will know her a long time trade unionist, equality activist, amazing all round person on DH very recently Director of the Clyde skate. So thank you for having may.

spk_1:   1:32
No, thank you

spk_0:   1:33
very much So as you know, this is just about coping Podcast on DH. What we want Teo do On this is talk to people about mental health, about wellbeing, about looking after themselves about what a brighter kind of world might look like. And that's why I thought I would like to come to you because in my view, you are one of a kind ist people. I know you are very good at, um, thinking about helping others, but also taking care of yourself and being proud of who you are. So, yeah, I does that sound. Does that sound like you

spk_1:   2:08
know what? I want it to sound like me. That's really, really lovely. I think it doesn't take much. Just be kind, just to be respectful. Just Teo, try and understand people are difference and embrace those differences. It doesn't take much to say Please, thank you. Lot harder to say sorry. So prevention rather than cure. But yeah, I like to live my life by being kind because it gets me further than you know, being mean and being spiked for. You know, you don't know how people's days air affected or you know or what they're going through. So just being kind to somebody makes a difference

spk_0:   2:57
on DH. The thing which makes that even more powerful for me when I think about us. Sometimes I see on social media that you have been profiled as a black woman thie airport or experience racism on the bus or with your daughter. And I just think continuing to be kind in the face off those sorts of things take some energy.

spk_1:   3:21
Yeah, I'm gonna be really I'm a human being So I get angry like the best of us I you know, I cry I every now and again colourful language will come from my mouth. But because of the world we live in, I can either let it eat me up or I could be in control of it. And that's so easy for someone who's not going through many different challenges to say. But I've I think I've primed myself on what are the things that could possibly trigger me off? What? The things I'm trying to cope with on a daily basis. What do I know that will happen when I get on this tube and someone just man Splain Zor pushes my elbow are for, you know, chance nasty inward or a C word? How am I going to deal with that. So I think I do a lot of mental preparation even before I leave the house.

spk_0:   4:25
Interesting. And of course, that in itself takes a lot of a lot of energy, but is a form of protection, A CZ Well, I guess one of things that I really learned from you and the reasons I think that you are kind is the way that you listen on the way that he learned Saito, just think about that sense of talking over people is goes against everything that I understand about. You Just be interested in, in your sense, about what you're doing when you're when you're listening, when you're waiting for for the for the time to speak and taking platforms. But also this *** amplifying others

spk_1:   5:05
you know, I've learned is that when we're doing the work that we do, whether we're activists or just run of the mill every day being, um off being a friend, being an ally, we've got to take time out and stop talkin when somebody else is talking. But when I'm listening, I'm really listening and taking on board What someone saying? I'm trying. Teo Gauge. What sort of feelings they're feeling on diamond Natural Impact. So I pick up on people's emotions and I kind of digest them and want to just give everyone a big hug. Um, but yeah, I stop. I stop and really genuinely listen so that if there's any way I confined supports to give them, if there's any words of comfort or reassurance or not to validate people because I don't think people should need validate in. But if there's any way you just say, you know you are good enough, In fact, you're brilliant. I think you're awesome. I'm gonna pick that up when I'm listening to them. When I actually stopped, talk him notice. When I talk over people in the past, I have done so you're not really hearing what they're saying. You're hearing your own voice, and then you're interpreting what they say and get into an argument. It can get into a disagreement. Listening is important,

spk_0:   6:39
really, really important. I always remember someone saying, If you talk over me, you don't want to hear what I've got to say, and you believe that what you've got to say is more important?

spk_1:   6:51
Absolutely. I mean, we know this from spaces we've shared. There are some people who do like the sound of their own voice, but then it's all about them, and they can't really call themselves an ally. They can't be a supporter. They can't amplify your cause with permission, of course, because they've not heard you. And I also think it's not just about here, and it's about seeing when you can stop. Listen, it means you can also see somebody you know, being in that still moments and just here in somebody here in your child here in your friend here in somebody who you know is trying to express that they're in pain or that they have gone for a really bad break couple. They're havin such financial difficulties that they don't know where to turn. You're not going to hear that if you're speaking over them. You're not gonna hear that if you've turned around and you're focusing on too many 1,000,000 different other things. But I think that's what could be hard, because we're a ll dealing with so many different life challenges that when do you really find the time to stop when you're going through an enormous amount of you know I won't swear. B x for want of a better word to give somebody else sometime

spk_0:   8:17
go and say otherwise we're gonna have to put it in the notes. Some people bullshit. I

spk_1:   8:24
feel bad saying Yeah, but yes, Yeah, I mean, it is hard. And I think you know, I'm not even talking about young people, you know? It's like this year at U K Black Pride. We saw the most amount of young queer people of colour in the one space in hag Istan Park. And what are we doing for our next generation? But once you were having sir think about where their next money is coming from the issues around homelessness and youth, poverty, you know, a lack of jobs or a lack of respect that they get Once, you know, young people have been ostracised marginalised from their homes because of their sexual orientation. That is enough to put anybody in a rial, soul destroying dark place. So, for may I like to take timeto listen to them and find out ways of how we can work on this together.

spk_0:   9:29
And it is a powerful, isn't it? Just as you're talking it so that the fundamental off a mentally healthy society. It has to be about the ability to listen to each other. And in a world that increasingly appears polarised, Yeah, that's perhaps, you know something. We still just take a few moments for if you think about the next generation on DH, the fact that everybody thinks that the generation after them on the table. But the lots of people seem to think that generation after them, less moral, are less able, less competent. I don't agree with that. Just really, really clear. What do you think? Why do you think? As a society, we sometimes struggle to cheer lead the next generation rather than demonise them, which appears to happen so often?

spk_1:   10:22
There's a lack of respect. I think that there's missing conversations. This intergenerational conversation that is needed with the next generation is missing. You know, I have a 24 year old daughter on DH. I tell you what. I I love hearing how she just navigate social media, what comes on up listening to her about, you know, her dreams, her needs, her aspirations. But if I wasn't there, who is listening to that? You know she's Sina's, regardless of whether she's algae beats he plus or not, She's seen as others, and young people are. You know, my mom has this saying, and I've been saying It's everyone you know. It's translates its You don't inherit this lands from your parents. You borrow it from the next generation, you know? And when we talk about standing on the shoulders of giants, people have paved the way for us to be here. Ancestors have made that room have sacrificed so much. But now there's something missing. There's a disconnect where no thinking about what was before were just thinking about ourselves in the here and now, and that could be for a number of different reasons. Whether it's, you know, socioeconomic states us where you are, what you want, the people that you mix with, you know what you have access to and what you don't. And I think that where we're struggling and I can only speak about the UK context right now, but we're struggling so everyone has mental health. But it is when it becomes poor, an ill mental health that it becomes a problem because they made on to speak about it. So we've had some I don't mean to Tigress, but we've had some amazing people doing some work around. Mental health. Poor ailment to help like yourself, Simon, Alex Leon Kay's arose. There's been some people doing some great stuff, but I I think we're not usual eyes in the conversation Enough. And I use the word usual ising, as opposed to normalise in because I don't know what normal looks like.

spk_0:   12:45
And I've never heard the word usual ising before. So I talked to you about usual ising. Guess what it means, But what does it mean to you?

spk_1:   12:51
So I was at a conference and I say I I said to everyone we need to normalise the fact that we are here in this space and a young woman came up to me afterwards and she said, I really don't like that. Words normalise him because she said, Can you tell me what is normal? And I'm like, I can't tell you what is normal because normal doesn't exist in in an everyday sense, she said, Well, why don't you consider usual using the word usual ising because it should be usual to talk about things you should should be usual toe occupy space. It should be usual for us as women to be prominent. So I'm like, Yeah, I like that. So I use the word usual ising as a post normalising.

spk_0:   13:42
I think it's definitely one for the coppery. Thank you.

spk_1:   13:47
Um, can you just

spk_0:   13:48
talk to us a bit about you talked about the places we work, the things we do. Just talk to me a bit about your last decade of work and pleasure and lengthy other boundaries between the two. Given how much of your pleasure is work related in this activism since

spk_1:   14:08
I Oh, my God, what a big question. I think the last decade, you know, I've I've given myself, you know, when people say it was giving myself to Christ, You know, I've given myself to the community for the last 20 years because this is gonna sound really corny, but I believe what my purpose is. Excuse me, My purposes. There's a call in on that calling is really about making sure we can improve our everyday lives. Whether it's here in this country or wherever it's abroad. Looking at decriminalisation over. You know, LGBT people not being able to live their lives or be their true self or to access jobs because of their sexual orientation. But in the last 10 years, I would really say that there's been such a focus on the growth and sustainability of UK black pride. And you know some of your listeners that don't know what UK Black Pride is. It's a It's an organisation that was set up to really look the needs and aspirations ofthe black orb aim, which is black, Asian minority ethnic, or POC, which is people of colour within the UK who are connected to the dice poorer with there. Yeah, African, Caribbean, Asian, Latin America, indigenous population who happened to be queer or happens be LGBT. It's about not just celebrating who we are, but really finding ways to not just challenge the homophobia bi phobia transphobia, but to look at things from an intersection, a lens which focuses on the structural and systemic racism. So focus on Islamophobia all the forms of discriminations that touched their lives in so many different ways. It's foster great links and ensure that society is open for them. Tio have their room have their space, and we're very much parts of thie wider pride movement, which I'm sure you're probably gonna ask me a question about that. But we're really part of the wider pride movement, and that's probably been my cause in making sure that that space exists where people confined their tribe, find their home on DH, finds their family.

spk_0:   16:49
I'm not going to ask you about the wider pride movement at Steve, because I think there's 22 things which I'm keen for everybody to be clear, that when you said that your cause it's what you've done in your spare time and we're talking about the trade union movement in the moment. But just describe the first UK black pride on then describe 2019

spk_1:   17:14
pride. So 2005 UK Black Pride, Southend on sea shoes. Bree Ness 200 people Marquis Music. A jerk pan, which is jerking chicken and the rum punch. Dominoes were by the sea on DH. These 200 people were just in a space which was buy Assam for us, and it was amazing. Actually, you're making me reminisce on a on a period where we thought we would never have a pride in this country that lent itself to looking at our difference to embrace in or the unique things about black and POC people in this country who happens to be LGBT. We had a day full of activities. It was things around, you know, dance competition. It was just a space to feel proud of who you are and that events my gosh, it it costs £488.27 p. And I remember that because 27 p was hard to find on you. Fast forward 29 team had a system park and you know, there's been a whole history of how we've got from South Islands to Hagar Stone Park, 2019. We had 10,000 people. Now I'm feeling quite emotional. Way had 10,000 people in Hagerstown Park where it was it was yet by awesome for us. It wass our pride's. It was our movements. You can see what's being created over the years, sponsors who supports, hid, you know, massive shower out to stonewall who have bean absolutely key and instrumental in helping us look how we grow without the dynamics that play and lots of power and privilege, others that have just got involved. Grassroots organisations human rights organisations. You know, sexual health providers who were just all there in that space corporate sa's well, which you're looking to diversify or provide internships or jobs for, you know, queer people of colour black people, LGBT people and the event now cost well over 100 K. But it's a free event, and it's an event which has always maintained its political edge. And I don't mean party politics. I mean, you know how we're treated, you know, our beings. But just by virtue of being black just by virtue of being LGBT plus are beings of political. Um, yeah, it's it's always put people first. So it's about people over profit and our volunteers who come out year after year after year, Simon Fume one of them. They they make it happen

spk_0:   20:43
on defending UK Black pride. Volunteers are listening. You don't have the advantage idea of seeing the pride on Phil's face, so she's as she's talking. But there is pure pride on gratitude. I love I love that Talk to me about the trade union movement. At the same time, you will see equality and diversity was

spk_1:   21:07
head of equality and inclusion on before that I was head of political campaigns and equality Peace PCs Publican Commercial Services Union, which is the largest civil service trades union. So it meant that the members we represent were connected or works in Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Defence, HMRC D w p all of central government, not local government. Yeah,

spk_0:   21:37
and so whilst you're you're you say you're calling your passion. For the last 15 14 years, so has been UK black pride. Clearly, the wider agenda around equality and ensuring that everybody can succeed has been that the other side of your of your going. But just be interested if you can think about some of the areas where you think we have made progress around equality at work and some of the areas where you think you still got to go because it seems to me and we'll talk a bit more about this later that you can't have wellbeing at work unless you've got equality. Have true well being at work. Unless you've got two qualities, just be interesting. Think of it's about your equality at work and where you think gains have been made on whether

spk_1:   22:26
I should say, you know, trade Union has been a big part of my life and also my parents, you know, when they first came to this country. So don't anyone at peace? Yes, to think she's written us off already. You know, I think the trade union have bean absolutely key in the games that we've made. You know, they put us the weekends. They're looking at fighting against the zero hours contracts, which is so discriminatory, and you have people working all hours. One minute they have a job. Next minute they don't me exploitative nature of some bad employers that no first in last in first out the door based on disability, discriminating against people, not providing reasonable adjustments. Now if it wasn't for the trade unions and the representation that people have in taking things, too, whether it's an employment tribunal or just putting in a grievance, Teo explain the challenges that they face based on poor policies in the workplace. Yeah, we would be really stuck, you know. And of course, things have changed for trade unions, but they've bean, they've been brilliant. So if I say the gains that have been made, we've only got to look at the 2010 acts the Equality Act. So most people don't always know how that came into force. But, you know, with the death the horrible murder of Stephen Lawrence, Stephen Lawrence was murdered in southeast London some 23 or 24 years. Now what happened is that his family lodged appeal. They wrote to everyone that they possibly could. And there was a report that was written by Dr McPherson, the MacPherson report and that report highlighted institutionalised racism within the Metropolitan Police Service. So with that came a number of actions that had to be taken forward looking at, you know, whether it's goods and services, whether it's, you know, the discrimination that has been widely felt by back people, people of ethnic minority. And really the equality acts was born. Out of those recommendations came out the MacPherson report, S O UI benefits from equality legislation that protects us in the workplace based on protected characteristics. You know, remember I said goods and services. But as LGBT people, we can go to a hotel and ask for a shared bed without feeling we're gonna be judged or that we can be turned away. It's a year. The equality act was a big landmark for us on DH. You know, you can use that in the workplace and again, trade unions were very much behind. The Stephen Lawrence campaign were very much behind responding, sir. Government consultation about what needed to go in that Equality Act 2010. Yeah, that's the biggest one I could think of because there's so many different games that we have made, you know? Yeah, we could talk about equal marriage We could talk about, Oh, the change in the Sex Sexual Relations Act, race relations. But the Equality Act 2010 forms most of that

spk_0:   26:13
on DH. Obviously, we have made enormous gains, as you say, but structural inequalities still everyday reality for people that are born out in all sorts of different different ways. Just be interested. If you could talk to me a bit about structural inequality, of mental health, your structural equality and well being, maybe Yeah, because sometimes they say meant to help you. But I'm not an expert, But you know what you know and understand about stretching the qualities wellbeing, sense of self.

spk_1:   26:47
So I think there's a question. Know how many people get access services, which will allow them to look hurt, some healing of themselves. How many people get to access services where they can sit down with a therapist once a week? You know, if, though, if there are barriers to that's them. That's a structural problem if their finances attached to the services that you can access and that within itself is gonna be a problem, and people are not gonna be able to find or have resources that allow them to navigate this world, which can be ever so pain forever. So try and ever so challenging. I think some of those structural inequalities that I may have seen around accessing services around well being and health related matters have by and large hits ethnic minority people. I mean, hate, word minority, and I hate the word ethnic. But where the majority, I should say but has hit those groups of people are maybe because report in or going to a doctor when you're from an African or Caribbean or Asian background to say them, can you sign post me somewhere because I'm really feeling suicidal or I'm feeling that I just can't get up in the morning. I think they're a different layers barriers that or within our families, within our culture, where we don't talk about these things. On the moment you don't talk about it, you're not usual eyes in it. If you don't usually eyes it, then it's never spoken about. And you just carry on going through your daily rigmarole of I'm just gonna cope. Yeah, sometimes just coping is not good enough

spk_0:   28:52
and used the word healing. Andi, I think it's a really powerful words, which we often don't talk about healing. We don't talk about recovery in ways which are usual, the usual eyes. Just talk to me about when you talk about healing. What's that mean for you?

spk_1:   29:15
He means a lot of different things. You know, Teo, get a sense of beam good with you. It may take having forgive something that happened in the past. In order for you to heal and move forward. Healing made me talk him. Meditate. Him may mean sharing space with those who have got shape commonality with you. That may have been through similar things that you can break bread and just hold courts about how you move Paulist something. But my specific hearing has been You know, I I was in a very long standing relationship, and and as I mentioned, I have a door, sir, and there was some there was abuse there on this was a time before I came out and that abuse was toxic. That abuse was filed. That abuse was awful. And you carry those things with you until you find a way of letting it go. Not necessarily forget forgetting about it, because it shapes who you are, depending on what stage you're at in your life. So for nine years I carried around, I would say an anger and a hatred. Um, but I bought this person's her table and we talked. And I was able to say, You know, I don't hate you anymore because I want to move on with my life and I'm gonna forgive you. That's how you I cried for about an hour just because I said I'm gonna forgive you for every punch, every slap, every kick I felt liberated, but I was a stage, and it took nine years to get there. You know, I felt that that was my hearing. I don't know what works for everybody else, but that was my healing and knowing that I could walk away knowing that I forgiven. Of course there was still some hurt, but that forgiveness meant that I could open other doors. The eye, possibly found, were restricted me that were barriers. I found that I could talk to people differently. I felt I could share my storey without always cryin or crimes. There's nothing wrong with crime because crime is also part of the healing process. But yeah, that's Healy means so many different things to people. And I think we all heal in different ways. It's like your death of a partner or a mother. You know, time is the healer, really, you know, and you do it in different ways. But for me, forgiveness is a big part of moving forward.

spk_0:   32:41
Interesting is this is your reed you're talking. I was remember reading once. You can't write a new chapter until you start writing

spk_1:   32:48
last, so Oh, my gosh, I've got goose pimples. Absolutely, absolutely. And sometimes we and I don't want I don't dismiss anyone's pain or what they're feeling, But I feel that so many of us we hold on so much that we're unable to me forward. You know, I tell you what, Simon. When I for gave that individual doors opens, I could write again. I could meet people and not feel that I was hiding behind things. I didn't feel as heavy as I felt before. I was able to excel in certain things, within work, within my relationship with my own daughter. But it took time. You know, those things take time and I probably got to the stage of give him forgiveness because I felt myself feeling dark, feeling heavy and feeling that may be, Did I deserve all of that? Or maybe that's my fate. I was also hard. I was really hardened by the experiences have shaped me, and that's fine. We can have experiences that shape us, but I go back to your first point. You said that unkind. That has been part of the healing, because I wasn't necessarily kind because I was angry and some of them an angry is also an emotion that needs to come out, and it's not wrong to be angry. It's wrong to be angry all the time when it starts to affect the way you speak to your Children. The way you speak to friends the way you speak to people. You know whether you're in a restaurant. Anger, Khun. Turning sir hates. And when you start to feel hate, when you start to feel dislike and utter disgust towards yourself, that's when the part in your brain starts to. They have of havoc with itself.

spk_0:   35:13
And there's you were just talking. I thinking about that heaviness in my experience is also connected. Teo, am I ready to let go of the shame for me? Okay. Yeah, yeah, it's connected that before, But really interesting is your The

spk_1:   35:31
shame is also a powerful. I mean, we hold on set because nobody wants tto feel embarrassed. But actually, there are so many people in this world who have gone through the same thing you've gone through, if not worse, and they live in. And I I think I got to that stage, you know, nine years on, I want to be able to live. And I couldn't do the work I do today and be there for the amount of people that I am there for. If I didn't feel passion for the world I'm living in if I didn't want to live if I didn't want to survive If I didn't want better for the next personal the next generation

spk_0:   36:17
talk to me about self care Feels like the purple So great that I often people will say that I'm busy on DH when I look at what you're doing something I spent most of my life on the sofa Can't you

spk_1:   36:32
see I'm busy? Self care on busy? Oh, I'm no, I'm not so good at it. I I've got better. Do you, like, just cut you off? That meant that I didn't hear the question.

spk_0:   36:47
I'm looking for the answer to whatever you thought I asked.

spk_1:   36:52
How do I apply self care in a ever increase in busy life and schedule that I have, Um so I like to write, you know, right for Diva column. I have a book that I co edited with her Rikki Beadle Blair and John Russell Gordon. I I have moments of silence. I love reading, Audrey. Lord, I've got bell hooks on re players. An audio book I love also looking back some of the things I wrote many years ago about UK black pride and where would get Teo, but I think how I apply self care is switching off sometimes, and I don't get to do it enough like I don't sleep, you laugh. And I say to people to apply self care, you need to sleep and you needs her. Allow your body to heal, recuperate and build up. So I'm learning to sleep a bit more. That means not picking up the phone at two o'clock to see who's just tweeted something. So I turn notifications off. I know it sounds small and little, but my phone I mean, I'm not even bought my phone in here, and I was earlier on thinking, Should I bring my phone in here? But actually, just us talk him like this. This's also self care, being able to share with somebody, things that happened in the past, that you're now at a stage of growth that you can talk about without completely crumbling itself. Care on always getting to see people that I don't see like yourself taking selfies. So you know, there's lots of things that we can do a self care, but is something that I love doing the most. It's ah, sister circle, you know, being around a group of women who have that lived experience that shared commonality, that understanding of the very struggles that we face in teamwork. But being in this space, not just talking about those challenges, but what's making us happy? You know, talking about our girlfriends are partners. You know what we want to do, where which cruise we want to go on, you know, and having moments of nobody's allowed to say anything negative for the next 20 minutes. But we've all got a subject matter toe chime in on that self care being amongst people who matter who. Yeah, and sitting in front of the TV, letting it watch you with no bra on and eating popcorn. That was a bit too much information, so I might have to cut that out. But, yeah, that's self care for May.

spk_0:   40:04
It's a good tip. It's a good on DH. Just thinking you talked about Audrey Lords. You talked about your other inspirational people. But some of the best advice you've ever been given the moment someone whispered something in your ear in your life. Okay, I hear that

spk_1:   40:27
there's a woman called Valerie Mason John, and she's just she's just amazing. She's she's everything. She's a writes her. She has, like a seven step programme. She's written books and we're we're at an event And she said, You know, I've watched you for a number of years now because I just want to let you know, I think that you are amazing And you you listen and you embrace that. And I I heard it so loud and so clear. Like I said, people don't shouldn't need validation. But for that split second, she made me realise that as a black woman and another black woman said another black woman that you're amazing and you don't need anybody to tell you anything cows on when she said You're amazing Turnaround. I said, I am so honoured and humbled that you would say that she goes you had just don't let anyone dim your lights And from then I don't allow people to dip my light. Although I'm kind I'm also quite assertive in my approach that my space is my space. I will occupy what I need to occupy. I will call out racism, any form of discrimination. I'm not gonna shout at you. I'm not gonna hurt you, but I'm gonna let you know what you're doing is wrong. I'm going to create space for other people and even those that don't like what I'm doing. I can't focus on that too much because, as I said, it's not about just me in the here and now it's about the next generation.

spk_0:   42:20
So my last question, I think it feels like we're heading towards that. If you were to look to 35 years from now and I thought about well being, you know what would you What would your hope for different communities be? What's your view? Obviously, Utopia. We're not going to get there in five years. But if we were walking in the fields towards Utopia, what would be happening around? Sort of changing.

spk_1:   42:49
I don't know how you would answer that question. Didn't prep for that, because I that's I mean, it's really interesting. Of course. I mean, I want world peace. I want access to justice. I want nobody tohave to struggle and be alone. But I always cites know how somebody would answer the question, that sort of question that they would ask me, What would you want to see in the next five years as as somebody who is thie CEO off the organising an organisation which supports people. What do you want to see in the next five years?

spk_0:   43:32
So many things, so many things. But I think at the heart I would like us as individuals, the things which are in our control and power to take a bit more time baby kinder to each other, recognise that rights and not a zero sum game, and that there's space for all of us to be amazing. I'd like a good education fair pay, uh, access to quality mental health services. You people to feel as though they've always got somebody on their side so similar to you, you're all of those things. But I think, I guess where where I I have learned a lot since being image. If England is, we have more power in ourselves to make so many of those things a bit truer than they currently are on. It's too easy to look to government. We know that government is not going to do many of the things right now, or a different government. Who knows that a party political statement is just yeah, a fact there will never be enough money. There will never be the ability to everything, but actually our ability to amplify people's voices. Teo say your valid our ability to ask someone if they're OK and put an arm around them, figuratively or otherwise. It's free. It just requires us. Teo, put our phones in the room next door. Sometimes I look up a bit more What's going around us.

spk_1:   45:05
I love that answer. I mean, I love that. And I think if and it's not a utopia, I think some of the services that around there I want power dynamics of privilege, those with influence, those who are able to access things to change, because if that's not balanced, we're always gonna be in the same situation where the scales are gonna be unbalanced, the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. And those who are getting poorer will undoubtedly be hit by poor and ill mental health. And I'm not saying that those who are rich they are not because they could be gained through a number of things, but just by virtue of being born into poverty will lead you into some very dark places and soul destroying places, So yeah. Shift in power dynamics?

spk_0:   46:01
Absolutely. On DH ranch, Dr Randy, you will know. Talked about a kind set. Yeah. If you says summer, they wouldn't it be great if we moved the world. There's a kind set, and all of us were 10% kinder. Absolutely difference that would make, you know, sort of areas

spk_1:   46:18
even. Just saying hello to somebody smiling as you just walk down the street at somebody you know, Not the wolf whistle. Why ain't you smiling, girl? But just somebody walks past you and you just smile and you know, we'll say thank you to the bus driver when they let you off. Help somebody get up stairs. Who's got a buggy? Being kind costs nothing. Stop him just to acknowledge that maybe the world that you're navigating and living in may feel hard. But there's also somebody who may be dealing with that tenfold and just wants you to say hello to them.

spk_0:   47:00
And I have to say, get rid of prejudice and stigma. Full stop on just that. That has to be a particular

spk_1:   47:10
mission. We didn't talk about health in terms of you know, you just mentioned stigma but HIV AIDS, You know, Fallaci me, a sickle cell. All of these things which affect different communities in different ways that has such an impact on your mental health and well being. Yeah. And also how you deal with healing, because healing for somebody will be very different, based on, you know, the health related issues.

spk_0:   47:42
Okay, so I'm gonna see, thank you very much, but I can't end without saying how brilliant I think you are. And how the light that you shine on other people in the space you create for other people is amazing. And you deserve all the light that shone on you so proud to know you. And the work you're doing is happened. You're brilliant.

spk_1:   48:07
Thank you. And so you it's just a mirror. A fraction right When you see something great in somebody else, it's part of what you see in yourself. So thank you for Oh, yeah, I need blood. Oh, go.

spk_0:   48:22
She's making s So that's the end of series. One of just about coping. And what a brilliant guess to finish Siris on. I've certainly left feeling nourished, uninspired from my conversation with Phil. And I hope you have to please do leave us a review if you haven't already. We're gonna take some time out now, Tio. Think about what we've learned. Teo, absorb the feedback. So if you've got ideas about what the future might look like, please do. Let us know on DH. Please do use the hashtag J A C podcast. Thanks very much for listening over first. Siri's off just about coping. It's been great to have you with us on DH until next time I'm sewn, Blake. And thanks for talking with us. So just I forgot to ask you on Grand Marshal World pride. As if that's not good enough. I then see on Facebook that you met and were heard by Whoopi Goldberg. Yes, tell me. Tell me.

spk_1:   49:40
Oh, Whoopi Goldberg is everything absolutely everything you know, like for years and years. You watch her on TV, sister act the colour purple and she calls you on stage and she gets your name writes. She says it perfectly, and she talks about you cable out pride on the movement that has been created. And then she goes into something else. And she gave me the biggest hug and said, Well done, for everything you're doing. I said, I love you will pee that Seo Anything I could say So I said, I love you appear And then we walked off the stage together and she held my hand as she was coming down the stairs and she said, Oh, I'm getting on a bit now And I said, I love you, will pee I literally couldn't say anything more. I said I'd love to get a pitch with you and sit and talk And she goes, Please take a picture and it'll be great to stay in contact with you. So I feel like she is, Yeah, I was waiting for her to say that you know, we could get married or something. I don't care about the age difference, but she is not that I'm outing her. Oh my gosh, Well, we'll cut

spk_0:   50:57
that some wicked,

spk_1:   50:58
Yeah. Oh, but she's amazing. She's so down to earth. She's funny. She's hilarious. She's riel. She's genuine. There's she's not got any airs and graces about her. Yeah,

spk_0:   51:14
still my beating heart. That's already say, I remember going given her book when I left Wales. So in 1997 or 98 just reading it. And I fell in love. I felt enough. I questioned my sexuality.

spk_1:   51:31
Oh, really? Probably enough. Oh, well, she's she is.

spk_0:   51:36
Have you are saying she's everything, But if you washed since the hook, Do you still think

spk_1:   51:41
I think I've got the dress? I'm not sure if I watched it. You know, when you want to get someone to sign your skin because she's amazed. I mean, I have to admit, I must say I met also some other amazing people. I was with Laverne Cox, India More Dominique Jackson and I was interviewed on what was the equivalent of the BBC by Billy Porter. So, you know the Stone Wall uprising, The celebration of, well, pride wass really a tale to tell the grandkids. Yeah,

spk_0:   52:22
well and a testament to the amazing work that you've done here. But watching you on that car with your fan going down street was something else watching being hoped I would be even something else. Thank that