Position paper
Policy brief
Published on
March 1, 2024

Black History Month: A Call for Intersectional Solidarity

A Call for Intersectional Solidarity

This article was written by Taj Donville-Outerbridge (He/They), an Executive Board Member, and Treasurer, here at IGLYO. They are an award-winning Bermudian human rights activist, writer, and policy student studying at King’s College London.

“We are all one – if we don’t know it, we will learn it the hard way.” – Bayard Rustin

As I pondered what to write about for this article to celebrate Black History Month, the quote above instantly popped into my head. The current political sphere is becoming increasing volatile as we witness a rampage of anti-LGBTQI+, anti-migrant, and pro-genocide rhetoric making its way into the highest levels of government globally but especially in the so-called ‘liberal’ west. As many far more astute scholars than I will point out, we are experiencing an unprecedented global political reckoning, that was triggered en masse by the presidency of Donald J Trump, the COVID-19 pandemic, the cost-of-living crisis, and the ongoing genocides worldwide. With that in mind, I believe there is no better time to reiterate the vital importance of intersectional solidarity in the fight for collective liberation.  

Single-issue human rights movements have a long and well-documented history of being incredibly exclusive spaces failing to understand and appreciate intersectionality in practice. A portion of the modern feminist movement excludes the voices and needs of trans women, certain Black Lives Matter movements forget the value of women and LGBTQI+ persons, and most relevantly, the mainstream LGBTQI+ movement, especially in Europe, is largely gatekept by white cisgender men and women. We, as activists, advocates, community organisers, and LGBTQI+ rights champions, should do everything in our power to end this pattern of exclusion. We must understand, appreciate, and embrace intersectional solidarity, not just in thought and on paper, but in practice. 

Are there any Black LGBTQI+ activists you’d like to recognise this month?
  • Phyll ‘Lady Phyll’ Opoku-Gyimah – Founder and CEO of UK Black Pride, immediate past ED of the Kaleidoscope Trust.
  • Christopher Joell-Desheilds – CEO of Pride in London and Fellow Bermudian.
  • Olivia Campbell-Cavendish – Founder and ED of the Trans Legal Clinic 
  • Yasmin Benoit – Model and Award-winning Asexual Activist
  • TS Madison – Grammy & Emmy Award-winning Artist and Transgender Activist
  • Aaron Rose Philip – Black, Transgender, Disabled Activist and Model

What is Intersectional Solidarity?

At this point you might be wondering, what is intersectional solidarity, and how does it look in practice. To understand the whole, we must first understand the two halves. 

Intersectionality, a term coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, refers to the complex, cumulative way in which the effects of multiple forms of discrimination (such as racism, sexism, and classism) combine, overlap, or intersect especially in the experiences of marginalised individuals or groups. It's about recognising that our struggles, while distinct in their nature, are interconnected and cannot be addressed in isolation from one another. This perspective forces us to look beyond our personal experiences and consider the broader social and political context in which these experiences occur.

Solidarity, on the other hand, is the act of uniting with others, often those with different backgrounds or experiences, to support each other in the pursuit of common goals or against a common adversary. It's about standing together, not just in moments of comfort and convenience, but especially in times of challenge and controversy. Solidarity requires empathy, action, and sometimes, the willingness to step back and amplify the voices of those less heard.

When you combine these two principles, you get a powerful framework for social justice, activism, and collective liberation. Intersectional solidarity is about acknowledging and acting upon the understanding that our fights against oppression are linked. It means recognising that the liberation of one group is incomplete without the liberation of all oppressed groups. This approach challenges us to build bridges across our differences and forge alliances that are capable of addressing the multifaceted nature of oppression, systemic, and otherwise.

Are there any Black LGBTQI+ artists or artworks you’d recommend people check out this month?
  • The prolific literary works of James Baldwin and/or Audre Lorde.
  • The musical stylings of Sylvester, Tracey Chapmen, Big Freedia, RuPaul, and/or Saucy Santana.
  • The iconic ballroom scene either in person or via shows such as ‘Pose’ and/or ‘Legendary’.
  • My current favourite fiction novel, “And then He Sang a Lullaby”, a queer Nigerian love story by Ani Kayode Somotocukwu.

Intersectional Solidarity in Practice

In practice, intersectional solidarity can manifest in various ways. It involves actively listening to and amplifying the voices of those at the margins—whether they are Black trans women, queer migrants and refugees, or disabled LGBTQI+ people. It means creating spaces where diverse experiences and identities are not just welcomed but are integral to the conversation and action. It involves challenging policies and practices that perpetuate discrimination against those with less systemic power than us, particularly when the issue does not impact us personally. Intersectional solidarity requires us to educate ourselves about the different ways oppression can manifest and to call out injustice, even when it's within our own communities or movements.

For instance, in the context of LGBTQI+ rights, intersectional solidarity means recognising the specific challenges faced by Black LGBTQI+ individuals, which are not necessarily the same as those faced by white LGBTQI+ individuals. It means understanding that the fight for LGBTQI+ rights is also a fight against racism, sexism, classism, ableism, and xenophobia. It means supporting policies that protect all members of the community, advocating for comprehensive healthcare that includes the needs of transgender individuals, and standing against police brutality that disproportionately affects Black and Brown people, including those who are LGBTQI+.

Taj’s Top Tips 

To our IGLYO Members, future Members, and anyone else reading, embarking on a journey towards fostering an environment of intersectional solidarity within your organisation is not only commendable but essential in today's diverse and interconnected world. 

Below, I've highlighted the top five strategies that I believe are crucial starting points to guide your organisation toward this goal:

  1. Comprehensive Education for You and Your Team: Begin with a commitment to education. Dive into the wealth of educational resources available online to understand the complexities of intersectionality, social justice, and the lived experiences of marginalised communities. Consider investing in workshops or seminars led by experts with firsthand experience in these issues. This could involve training on anti-racism, understanding LGBTQI+ rights, disability awareness, and more. The goal is to cultivate a well-informed team that can approach their work with empathy, knowledge, and an appreciation for the nuances of human experience.
  2. Updating Internal Policies to Reflect Core Values: Review and update your organisation's internal policies to ensure they are in alignment with the principles of accessibility, sustainability, anti-racism, decolonisation, and are staunchly against discrimination and harassment. This may require revisiting your mission statement, HR policies, and operational guidelines to embed these values at every level. Consider establishing a committee to oversee this process, ensuring that these policies are not just written documents but are actively practised and integrated into the organisational culture.
  3. Building Alliances with Like-minded Organisations: Seek out and establish connections with human rights groups, charities, NGOs, and other organisations that share your commitment to social justice. Collaborating on shared content, co-hosting events, or joining forces to lobby for policy changes can amplify your impact. These partnerships can also provide opportunities for learning, sharing resources, and supporting each other's work, creating a stronger, united front in the fight for equity, justice, and liberation.
  4. Speaking Out and Acting Against Injustice: Silence in the face of injustice only serves to perpetuate it. Encourage your organisation to actively look for commonalities with other causes and to speak up, regardless of whether an issue directly affects the community your work focuses on. This means using your platform to highlight injustices, participating in broader social movements, and supporting campaigns that align with your values. It’s about finding solidarity not just in shared victories, but in shared struggles, recognising that an injustice against one is an injustice against all.
  5. Sharing Knowledge and Experiences: Knowledge is most powerful when shared. Make it a practice to disseminate what you and your organisation learn along this journey. This could be through mentoring other organisations, engaging in community discussions, or presenting your findings and experiences at conferences. The goal is to create a ripple effect, inspiring others to embrace intersectional solidarity. Remember, change often starts with a conversation, and by sharing your insights, you’re contributing to a broader cultural shift towards inclusivity and understanding.

By implementing these strategies, your organisation can make significant strides towards practising intersectional solidarity. This journey is ongoing and evolves as society changes, so remain open, flexible, and committed to learning and growing together.

How do you plan to celebrate Black History Month this year?

Given that in the UK it is also currently LGBTQI+ History Month, I plan to celebrate by spending time with friends, resting and recharging as my simple existence as a black queer person is a form of activism within itself. I also plan to finish my new favourite novel mentioned above. 


As we reflect on the importance of Black History Month, let's commit to practising intersectional solidarity not just as a theoretical concept, but as a daily practice. Let's remember Bayard Rustin's words and recognize that our liberation is bound together. The challenges we face are daunting, but they are not insurmountable if we stand together. We must all be human rights activists, unconditionally. By embracing intersectional solidarity, we can build a movement, a community, and even a world, that equitably celebrates, protects, and cherishes all of us.

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