In late October, PinkNews will hold a Parliamentary retrospective and awards, celebrating the contributions of politicians, businesses and community groups towards what has been a truly historic year for LGBT equality in our country.
The event, held in the State Rooms at the Speaker’s House, will be introduced by the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow. Mr Bercow is a well known supporter of LGBT rights and his coat of arms features a rainbow flag together with the pink triangle; both symbols of gay rights, around the words “All Are Equal”. Among the speakers at the event will be the Deputy Prime Minister and occasional PinkNews columnist Nick Clegg
While some of the awards are being decided by a panel of expert judges, we are inviting our readers to vote for a number of our awards winners. After Prime Minister David Cameron publicised the awards, more than a thousand readers have already voted for our Parliamentary Speech of the Year category. Now it is time to select the Community Group of the Year Award.
With this category, we have steered clear of some of the larger community charities to concentrate on the smaller organisations that have made a real difference in two important areas over the past year – the campaign for equal marriage and tackling homophobic bullying in schools. Below is a summary of the reasons why the PinkNews team felt that these five groups each deserved a nomination. At the end of the summaries is the form to register your vote.
The Coalition for Equal Marriage (C4EM)/ Out4Marriage/ LobbyALord
These three grass root organisations, without any donations or corporate funding (beyond PinkNews resources for Out4Marriage), worked to fight for same-sex marriage in England and Wales. The Coalition for Equal Marriage (C4EM) has entirely been the work of gay couple Conor Marron and James Lattimore who created the campaign in response to the anti-gay Coalition for Marriage. Through its interactive campaign, C4EM inspired thousands to care about the issue of same-sex marriage. Out4Marriage run by PinkNews publisher Benjamin Cohen, Mike Buonaiuto, Joseph Musgrave and James-J Walsh solicited videos in support of same-sex marriage from politicians including Nick Clegg, Theresa May and Ed Miliband in addition to celebrities including Sir Richard Branson and Hugh Grant. Finally, LobbyALord from Christopher Ward, James-J Walsh and Benjamin Cohen among others enabled tens of thousands of people to lobby members of the House of Lords to vote for same-sex marriage.
We are jointly nominating these three groups to recognise the role of grassroots, internet based organisations to help secure equality in England and Wales.
Diversity Role Models
Founded by former teacher Suran Dickson, Diversity Role Models has grown significantly in strength and influence over the past year. The charity, that has picked up some major corporate partners including one of our sponsors, BNP Parabas, takes role models into schools to speak to classes of young people about being either LGBT or being a straight ally. The charity boasts over 100 fully trained role models from a variety of backgrounds and has worked with thousands of students across the country.
We have nominated Diversity Role Models because of the impressive way that Suran has quickly built support across industry and the education sector for a new approach to changing the life chances for LGBT+ youth in Britain today.
Equal Marriage (from the Equality Network, Scotland)
Launched in 2008, the Equality Network’s Equal Marriage campaign has been campaigning for same-sex marriage in Scotland long before English politicians started the moves toward equality south of the border. This year, as the Scottish Parliament moves towards voting on equal marriage, the campaign has been running ‘It’s Time’, a series of videos recorded by celebrities and politicians advocating equality. The videos from the campaign, modeled on Out4Marriage have all premiered on PinkNews.
We have nominated the Equality Network’s Equal Marriage campaign to recognise the phenomenal work that this charity is doing in Scotland, long before many in England and Wales began to campaign for equal marriage.
Peter Tatchell Foundation
Peter Tatchell continues to fight for equality around the world, with bounds of energy and very little monetary or administrative resources. Peter has been fighting for equal marriage in the UK for over twenty years and his Equal Love campaign is credited with significantly advancing the legal arguments for same-sex marriage to become law. Peter and his foundation have led a number of high profile vigils in the run-up to same-sex marriage becoming the law in England and Wales.
We have nominated the Peter Tatchell Foundation to recognise the phenomenal contribution of Peter and his team towards the equal marriage campaign.
Schools Out/ LGBT History Month
Schools Out began life as the Gay Teachers Association way back in 1974, making it one of the oldest LGBT community organisations in the country. Without corporate funding and entirely through the work of volunteers, Schools Out builds content packages to help teachers better educate young people about issues relating to LGBT life and to combat homophobic bullying. Schools Out also runs the hugely successful and widely observed LGBT History month, held every February.
We have nominated Schools Out and its LGBT History Month project to recognise how much a group of dedicated volunteers can achieve without the the funds that many in this sector rely on to deliver their own excellent work.
All of those nominated for awards will be offered complimentary advertising on PinkNews to assist with fundraising and awareness raising efforts*.
Voting in this category has now closed. The winner will be announced following the awards on 23 October
The PinkNews Awards event will be generously supported by:-
In association with:-
We have disabled comments on this article because we can only count votes made through the form above. Further categories will be announced in the coming days.
*PinkNews already donated significant advertising space to the Coalition for Equal Marriage, Out4Marriage and LobbyALord during the equal marriage campaign.