As we emerge, blinking into the brave new world designed around our needs during the great pause of lockdown . . .
OK so that didn’t happen.
Despite moments of hopeful togetherness, (when it appeared that we might witness British society responding to collective trauma by caring for each other harder – remember Thursday night applause?), it looks like the UK is about to come out of lockdown, with our politicians bickering, a renewed ‘war on woke’ to contend with, strife returning to Northern Ireland, and Black youth unemployment reaching new heights.
So how have the UK’s Black queer men fared in the pandemic? The indicators don’t point in a positive direction – our research ‘In The Picture‘ suggested that even before the pandemic, too many of us were lonely, experiencing alienation, and had weaker networks through which to build our resilience. When COVID-19 hit our unequal society, it became clear which groups were at more risk; the tragic early loss of life will have struck our families more often. Those who often sought sanctuary away from households in which they could not fully be their true selves; those who may have been in the process of choosing their chosen family, the withdrawal of queer public space will have hit hard.
Many of us may be ‘languishing’
Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield. And it might be the dominant emotion of 2021 … when you’re languishing, you might not notice the dulling of delight or the dwindling of drive. You don’t catch yourself slipping slowly into solitude; you’re indifferent to your indifference. When you can’t see your own suffering, you don’t seek help or even do much to help yourself.Adam Grant, New York Times 19 April 2019
Regular readers of this site will have spotted that we actually don’t know much about our collective wellbeing, because reliable data that can be analysed by both sexual orientation and ethnicity is all too rarely available. The Census 2021 asked for the first time at scale just two months ago, and won’t report for a year or more. We suspect, that unless many Black queer men have changed their minds and developed greater trust in sharing more information about themselves with officialdom during the pandemic, even the new, improved Census will only provide a partial portrait of Black queer men’s experiences.
The debacle of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities (yes, it really happened and was not, as far as I know, a BBC TWO Armando Ianucci satirical lockdown-special), showed how contested data on racial injustice can be – but also how dependent we have become on its measurement, in order to drive action from government, and to focus and direct the ire (and genius) of activism.
We know more about (8 out of 10) cats. . .
put your hands up for . . .
Here at BLKOUT towers, we receive requests on an almost daily basis for respondents to surveys and research projects. So many that we have to be discerning about which to pass on – weighing up the potential impact of the research, the relevance of the subject area, and the danger of annoying our readers with frivolous requests that end up drowning out those we may make of them.
Today is IDAHOBIT. One of the actions that we could take is to do our bit to improve the quality of the data about us that is used for decision-making and resource allocation. We recognise the importance of improved monitoring in order to make progress in addressing bi-, trans- and homophobia. Always keen to ground the talk in real action, we thought we would bring to your attention, the current surveys/requests for the opinions/experiences of Black Queer men who we are working to support, or who we think is asking questions that will be of particular interest to our readers.
EVENS (Evidence for Equality National Survey)
Your experience of Covid-19 Matters
The Evidence for Equality National Survey (EVENS) is the first and largest of its kind in the UK to document the impact of Covid-19, and the lockdowns, on the lives of people from black, minoritised and religious minority backgrounds. It covers topics such as policing, racism, mental health, political trust, education, identity, employment and housing.
Led by the Centre of the Dynamics of Ethnicity (CoDE) at the University of Manchester, the survey is available in 14 languages, allows you to ‘self define’ in terms of your identity and will provide the most comprehensive information on LGBTQ people of colour’s experience of the pandemic and lockdowns than any other existing research.
We are looking for participants from black, minoritised and religious minority communities, aged 18 or over and living in England, Scotland or Wales. The survey will take around 30 minutes of your time. Once you have completed the EVENS survey, you will receive a gift voucher as a thank you for your time.
Taking part is voluntary and confidential. Your identity and the information you provide will be fully protected.
You can complete the EVENS survey online (bit.ly/evensurvey) or via the freephone telephone number: 0808 129 6800.
The pre-existing racial inequalities which have been amplified during the pandemic mustn’t be erased from history. Let us amplify your voice through the #evensurvey at this time of crisis.
Visit wwwevensurvey.co.uk for more information. Connect with us on Twitter and Instagram: @evensurvey
The Lambeth LGBTQI Questionnaire (LamQ+) and Photovoice project
LGBTQI+ Lambeth resident? Fill in our questionnaire today
PLUS an extra special opportunity to boost your photography skills and share a more in-depth story about your life as a Black queer man in London – be quick the chance to take part ends this week
NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence)
Lay member: reducing sexually transmitted infections committee
We’re looking for people with an understanding of reducing sexually transmitted infections and the issues important to people accessing services, unpaid carers, communities, and the public.
As a lay member, you will have this understanding:
- through personal experience you have of sexual health services.
- as an advocate, volunteer, or officer of a relevant charity or organisation.
We would welcome applications from people with understanding and experience related to the following population groups:
- Men who have sex with men
- Black Caribbean people.
Closing date Tuesday 18 May – For more information, click here
2021 UK Black Pride Survey
UK Black Pride represents and makes space for a remarkable range of people, experiences and cultures – and we all deserve to have our voices heard. How else can services and policy be shaped, or funding allocated, if our communities are never asked about what we need?
The findings from this survey will help inform the first UK Black Pride Community Action Plan, through which we’ll distribute funding to our communities through organisations that support them.
Present at BiCon 2021 19th – 22nd of August 2021
BiCon is an educational and social gathering for Bi+ people, their friends, partners and others with a supportive interest in bisexuality. We are committed to anti-racism, showcasing our community to the fullest and making sure we ALL feel safe to be heard at BiCon. We are also making BiCon as accessible as possible to people that are disabled, impaired and differently abled people as much as possible. We’re fully volunteer ran, and will be completely online this year (however we do have a venue already booked for 2022!) and we are not as known as we would like to be! We are interested to know if you would like to volunteer some time, or lead a session taking about black queer men’s experiences in the UK.
Please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Black British in Business Survey
Black entrepreneurs have a long history in Britain of innovation, creativity and endurance in business; from hair & beauty giants Dyke & Dryden, to the property ownership of Caribbean & African migrants, and the political power of the Mangrove restaurant and Notting Hill Carnival. We add to the richness of British economics and to the fabric of British culture. It’s time that our contributions are documented and counted for our own benefit.
Black. British. In Business & Proud doesn’t want to be just another survey delivering the message that Black entrepreneurs are at a disadvantage. With the support of Lloyds Bank, we have the opportunity to use our collective voice to dictate and create real change. Our aims are to deliver the following outcomes based on the research response:
- Discover and quantify the majority view of Black entrepreneurs’ vision for progression together
- Create an action plan to support Black entrepreneurs in future-proofing their businesses
- Produce tangible outcomes and products via the Lloyds Bank’s Black Business Advisory Committee
- Supporting Lloyds Bank in implementing institutional change that will positively impact Black entrepreneurs moving forward
- Empower a future-proof mindset for Black entrepreneurs
- Lead by example and set a standard for the engagement and support Black entrepreneurs actually want!
To challenge homophobia and racism, and address real outcomes in terms of life chances for LGBTQI people, we need to understand the current situation and what works in lowering barriers to our individual and collective success. On the International Day Against Homo-/Bi-/Trans-phobia – consider taking time to complete one of these surveys/calls for your expertise – after all, our stories and experiences matter too, and we know that silence is not always golden
PS – remember we are tentatively emerging from lockdown – pace yourselves, the end of summer will thank you for it.
Some wise words for Londoners from Professor Fenton – and he, should know!