Youth worker made homeless at Christmas launches new campaign to give struggling queer black people somewhere to celebrate
Christmas can be a particularly difficult time for LGBT+ people, as youth worker Tanya Compas knows all too well.
Compas, 27, was made homeless last Christmas after becoming estranged from her biological family. She’s now created a crowdfunder to bring together other black LGBT+ youths who are struggling over the festive period, so no one has to spend the day alone.
Her project, Queer Black Christmas, will give ostracised members of the LGBT+ community a safe space to enjoy Christmas with their ‘chosen family’. As well as a Christmas meal with a Caribbean twist, the donations will cover gifts and games, Christmas movies and performances by queer acts.
“As it began edging closer to the Christmas period, I began to feel a lot of angst and despair, almost dreading the idea of Christmas because this would be my first year not spending it with my family,” Compas told i.
“So I wanted to spread some joy over the Christmas period and create a space for queer black young people to come together, celebrate themselves, one another and build a chosen family, just like I have, as a reminder that their identities matter and they they deserve to be loved and supported throughout the holidays, no matter how they identify,” she added.
Queer Black young people dem aged 25 and under, if you are estranged from your family or have a difficult relationship with them, making the Christmas period particularly hard, Queer Black Christmas is for YOU! Come and celebrate with your chosen family https://t.co/hBVdVWRH8d
— Tanya Compas (@TanyaCompas) December 2, 2019
It’s easy to see why after a recent study revealed that more than a quarter of UK adults would feel ashamed to have an LGBT+ child. One in ten wouldn’t want their child to bring home a same-sex partner, and one in five would worry about how family members would respond to them having an LGBT+ child.
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Compas was inspired to create the event after working as a caseworker for the Albert Kennedy Trust, where she met many young LGBT+ people who had to suppress their identity when spending Christmas with their families.
“It became very apparent that these sentiments were felt amongst many young people, the feelings of isolation, the nervousness around having to spend time with family over the Christmas period and thinking about whether you have to ‘tone down’ your queerness or compartmentalise parts of your identity in order to ‘survive’ over the holiday period,” she said.
Queer Black Christmas has already raised more than £5,000, and the donations keep coming. All money raised beyond the target will pay for travel expenses, helping to open the event to people outside of London.
Click here to donate.