Lloyd Young

Social Worker he/him

Some of the makeup of me is masculinity and I felt powerful being masculine, but also knowing what I could achieve by being masculine by using my masculinity as a tool to navigate through this awkward and challenging situation of coming out to myself. But recognising as a black man, the strength of who I am and how I can use that to my advantage in the LGBT+ community. And using my visibility as a strength.

Next step was sharing that strength. Recognising that by being out or wanting to be out, you want to be in a space where there are like-minded people you can connect with. I soon realised that people are not all like me. They come with different shapes and sizes, shades of black and different stories. It’s the confidence to own and accept ourselves through those stories. There are challenges, experiences that would put us in a vulnerable situation. I had this strength where recognising vulnerability is something that queer men run away from, but it’s part of our experience and it shapes who we are. And if you aren’t able to confront that vulnerability, you’re not able to grow.

We used to have parties there and just used the name ‘Black Experience’ to promote parties. I saw how strong the name was and it’s a very memorable name in people’s minds. But also recognised from very early on when we had those parties, how attendees felt about having a place where they could play their own music, eat their own food and meet their own people.

I notice more confidence within our community, black queer community. There are more leaders. There’s more spaces available for the queer community.

I recognise that these spaces provide a lot for our community. I want the black experience to develop a mentoring program and create a platform. And I want to build on that, identify more black queer leaders and have them talk to our members.