Glitter Cymru was founded in 2016 to support the BAME LGBT community in South Wales.
Glitter Cymru was set up in June 2016 as a monthly meet-up group for people who identify under the following two acronyms: BAME meaning Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic and LGBT+ meaning Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Trans.
This group came about after hearing the frustrations of the BAME LGBT+ community of not feeling welcomed, understood or represented by the wider LGBT community and in society in general. So glitter was born to be the possible antidote to the issue of invisibility that we continue to feel, particularly in smaller cities like Cardiff and Newport.
We come together at our meet-ups to shine, sparkle and feel visible – hence our group’s name is wonderfully apt. Please don’t dismiss glitter as something used in arts and crafts. Glitter represents so much more. Glitter is visibility, you can’t ignore it and BAME LGBT+ want to be seen. Visibility gives a sense of belonging and representation.
Glitter is about being heard and the opportunity to listen to others. We have diverse stories. Our group attendees range from asylum seekers, international students to local residents. Glitter is acknowledgment and validation. The antidote, when we feel vulnerable, rejected or misunderstood.
You might be thinking, why is your group necessary? Why are you segregating yourselves? The truth is many of our group attendees, have experienced a great deal of exclusion and othering. For example, be it racism from the predominantly white wider LGBT+ community to homophopia, biphopa and Transaphopia from people of our own ethnicities.
Don’t just take our word for it, recent research from Stonewall, a leading LGBT equality charity, found 51% of BAME LGBT people had faced discrimination or poor treatment from the wider LGBT+ community. This issue was found to be greater for Black LGBT+ people where the figure rises to 61%.
We aren’t segregating ourselves, we are creating a safe space for our community to feel validated and equipping them with the tools and the confidence to deal with whatever wider society throws at us. Glitter Cymru is all about promoting self-care and empowerment to our attendees.
Undoubtably, we recognize our allies play a huge role in helping us as BAME LGBT+ people feel included and to amplify our voices and experiences. Glitter Cymru is very much dedicated to working with allies and continuing the journey together in creating a more inclusive and aware society where the fear of the other is eradicated.