This Christmas young queer Black people who are estranged from their families may not have to spend the holiday season alone. At least that’s the goal of Tanya Compas.
Compas, a London-based queer activist and youth worker, has created a campaign called ‘queer Black Christmas’ aimed at young Black queer people. The purpose: to provide them a space to celebrate the holiday with their chosen family.
“As this is my first Christmas I won't be spending with my family, I want to 're-create' Christmas, but make it queer and Black AF,” Compas wrote on a crowdfunding page for the effort. “I want to create a small, intimate event in which I can facilitate community building, friendships, remind one another of the importance of chosen family and give us the chance to have a family meal and maybe even give out gifts, but as a chosen family, regardless of our faith background.”
“I have already been provided the space for free (THANK YOU), however I am now fundraising to cover the costs of food, alcohol free drinks, christmas decorations and hopefully some gifts if at all possible for around 35 people.”
As of Monday the campaign had almost doubled its original goal of £3,000 (around $3,800). Compas intends to use any extra money to expand the event to queer Black young people who live outside of London and pay for travel expenses. The money will also go to purchasing presents for Christmas stockings.
According to a study by the Williams Institute, 40% of homeless youth are within the LGBTQ+ community. For that study the largest contributing factor that led to homelessness was running away from family after being rejected on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. A 2014 survey found that 31% of the LGBTQ+ homeless youth are Black.
A poll by YouGov conducted this month, found that a quarter of U.K. adults said they would not feel proud to have an LGBTQ+ child.
“£25 will cover the cost for one young person but any amount you'll be able to give would be greatly appreciated and no amount is too small!” wrote Compas, who was named one of the U.K.’s most inspiring women by Amnesty U.K. in 2018. “Thank you in advance and Happy Holidays!”
Everyone deserves to experience the joy of the holiday season, perhaps consider sharing some of your joy by helping Black queer youth enjoy theirs.