Some of our UK readers will remember Black Connection. It was a monthly support group for Black gay and bisexual men, set up nearly 20 years ago by the LGBT mental health support charity, PACE.
“The original idea behind reestablishing Black Connection today was to organise monthly social spaces where older Black Gay Men could meet, network, and socialise,” the organisers told Black Gay Blog. “But then, Covid19 arrived.”
In response to Britain’s first national lockdown in March 2020, a WhatsApp group aimed at Black Gay/Bi/Queer men in their 50s was established. They wanted to help group members stay active and connected to address social isolation and loneliness, particularly during a global pandemic.
And what a Godsend it has been for many of its users. Within no time at all, the Black Connection WhatsApp group had grown to over 50 members from both within and outside London. By the end of June 2020, a management committee was set up, and a constitution established.
The Mission Behind Black Connection
- Provide a range of safe social spaces, events, culturally appropriate information, develop activities that improve self-esteem, confidence and community.
- Oﬀer and share a range of diﬀerent approaches and ideas about improving physical and mental health, general wellbeing and reducing isolation.
- Acknowledge the intersectional, negative impacts of racism, homophobia and ageism on Black queer men and implement a harm reduction approach to our work within the group.
- Commit to being a member-led network that challenges all forms of oppression, respects member privacy, and is as transparent as possible about everything we do.
- Invite and receive donations and fundraise to help finance Black Connection’s work and activities.
i. Online Gatherings and Club Nights
The group hosts regular online club nights and Zoom social gatherings on the last Sunday of every month. A wide range of topics are discussed, e.g. intimacy, self-esteem, cultural issues, emotional wellbeing & more.
ii. Walking Tour and Picnics
Black Connection has held two fantastic picnics in Brockwell Park between lockdowns, including a leisurely walk along the River Thames last summer. It’s incredible how much of our wonderful city we miss when we confine ourselves to our cars or public transport.
iii. Personal Development
So far, they’ve held a series of fun online classes for members, including Hip Hop, Yoga, and Mindfulness workshops, with many more planned for the foreseeable future. Plus, they’re all free, too.
iv. City Bike Rides
A recent bicycle ride across London has become the new social network’s most memorable event to date. “We cycled from Kings Cross, right along the Regent Canal, over to Greenwich and back,” they told us. So much fun was had by everyone, the fellows are keenly looking forward to making these cycling trips a regular feature.
Black Connection is a UK-wide social network set up by and for Black queer men aged 50+ to support and befriend other UK-based Black gay/bi/queer men. Find the group on Instagram at BlackConnection50 or scan this QR code to join in the fun.
Donations welcome: Black Connection, Triodos Bank, Sort-Code: 16-58-10, Account 2142476.
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