Uche (he/him) is a Nigerian-born organizer, trainer, abolitionist, and movement strategist who fled his home country due to the repression and persecution he faced as a gay man. He has over 10 years of experience working in community outreach, public health, and human rights. He is a high-impact voice for the LGBTQ+ community and a social justice advocate. Uche is the co-director of QDEP. His work has been featured in Windy City Times, Shondaland, Advocate Magazine, Gay City News, Plus Magazine, Buzzfeed, and more.
What is your favorite Pride Month event or celebration?
Pride month attracts sponsorship dollars from some of the biggest corporations in the world, but what gets lost in the festivities? How do we celebrate the progress of the LGBTQIA+ movement when so many LGBTQ+ immigrants are still not free and are denied human rights, and the notion of freedom seems so far out of their reach?
So any event that highlights the struggles, continued detention, and the existence of queer and trans immigrants, events that speak on strategies to create a future where Pride focuses on revolution, and not mere inclusion.
What LGBTQ+ icons or activists have inspired you?
I am my own inspiration. I get inspired by seeing the outcome of the work I do, seeing how LGBTQ+ immigrants are thriving and empowered through the work I do, creating safe space for the most marginalized communities to freely live and support each other and knowing that my contribution to the society is yielding fruit — that is my inspiration.
What can people and corporations do to support the LGBTQ+ community year-round, not just during Pride Month?
People and corporations should continue to support LGBTQ+ organizations not just during Pride Month, especially through small organizations like QDEP that have limited funding and low capacity.
Donations and funding will go a long way to helping LGBTQ+ immigrants who simply want to freely live their sexuality.
Continue to uplift the stories of LGBTQ+ immigrants and center us in your conversation, stop tokenizing us, and stop profiting off our stories.
Give us Dollars! Give us Dollars!! Give us Dollars!!!
How can businesses create more inclusive environments for their employees and patrons?
Employ more LGBTQ+ people — especially trans people, who most times don’t get corporate jobs due to their sexuality — put us in leadership positions, and center our existence and voices. White employees should recognize their power and privileges and step back to allow black people, black LGBTQ+ people, and especially LGBTQ+ immigrants to be seen.