Dale Taylor-Gentles is a community activist that works for The Love Tank CIC, a non-profit promoting the health and wellbeing of underserved communities.

LGBT HERO: How do you define or describe the work you do for the LGBTQ+ community?

Dale: My activism for queer communities focuses on creating space and platforms for community building, connection and the development of leaders. We all deserve to feel the joy and warmth that comes with community and a sense of belonging, so I always aim to help foster that in all the work I do.
What would you say are the main goals and outcomes of the work you do?

I currently manage the MAUREEN project at The Love Tank CIC. This project takes a holistic approach to addressing the health and wellbeing needs of queer migrant men and queer men of colour living in London. It does so through community-based research that leads to developing resources, events and interventions with these communities. The project also builds the capacity, skills and confidence of the participants and volunteers, and gives them the opportunity to take leadership roles to nurture their community.

Why do you do what you do?

I would describe my activism as one of my key callings in my life. Activism gives me a strong sense of purpose and I have always felt drawn to helping create a better world than the one I entered and making the journeys of others like me, much easier than my own journey. 
What is something you’ve done or been involved with that you are most proud of?

I am incredibly proud of my Queer Roots and Routes podcast, that I produced with the participants of the MAUREEN project, winning the Sexuality and Relationships Independent Podcast Award. The series focuses on sharing the stories of queer migrants and queer people of colour with a focus on centering joy and finding your community. Working alongside the Aunt Nell podcast production company, we built the skills of participants to produce podcasts and tell their stories for a wider audience.

I am also proud of myself for presenting for the first time at a conference, this year. This was the LGBTI+ Health Conference in Brussels and I presented on the MAUREEN project and how we have successfully connected and collaborated with queer migrants and queer people of colour to address their needs.

Can you tell me a little bit about what activism and advocacy means to you?

Activism to me is acting from a place of love and empathy to look past our personal lives and immediate circles to aid in creating a better future for all. This can be through creating, advocating, campaigning for positive social, structural and political changes on both the small and large scale for the benefit of the most marginalised and ultimately for all. At its core, for me activism is transformative healing work and it was one of my purposes in life.

What do you think is a key issue that the LGBTQ+ community is currently facing? 

I think a key issue that queer communities across this country and the wider world is facing is the continued erosion of our rights and freedoms. Our rights to love, our rights to live in our truths, our rights to joy and freedom, our very right to exist. Rights that our elders and those passed fought and we now collectively continue to fight so hard for.

It is heartbreaking and terrifying how those in power will treat our lives as political talking points rather than seeing us and our siblings as full people with lives, histories, dreams and futures. Whether it's denying queer migrants asylum or not banning conversion therapy or openly vilifying trans people or inciting violence against our communities plus so much more in this country and the other places across the world, time and time again a hateful message that we are less than is being repeated.

But we must not give in to this hateful rhetoric. As queer communities it is imperative that we hold each other tightly during these difficult times, we must be radical in our love and care for each other and ourselves. We must use our voices, our platforms and all and any social and political power we have to make a change. We must look to the knowledge, teachings and campaign work of those that were at the forefront and behind the scenes in the activist work we now inherit. And finally we must look beyond just queer social justice issues and champion the human rights of all wherever and whoever they may be. True liberation can only be achieved once we are all free.

Who is your LGBTQ+ hero?

My LGBTQ+ hero is Marc Thompson. Marc is a founder of Prepster and The Love Tank CIC and has worked within the HIV sexual health sector and on other social justice issues impacting marginalised communities for decades. Marc's commitment, creativity and caring nature have been a constant source of inspiration for me as an activist. I am lucky to have Marc as a really good mentor, manager, friend and Uncle for many years now, I am truly blessed and honoured to know him.

What else would you love to achieve in the LGBTQ+ community? 

I want to continue the great work I am doing in bringing queer people together to build community and cultivate spaces of love and joy. My goal is to eventually create my own physical community space for Black queer people.

You can listen to the Queer Roots and Routes podcast HERE

Found out more about the work of The Love Tank CIC HERE