18 Dec 2020

A message from Benjamin Cohen, CEO of PinkNews

As 2020 draws to a close, I’ve found it pretty astonishing to look back at my notes from the end of last year and compare where I thought we’d be as we ended 2020 to where we actually are. It’s probably the same for all of you too.

Covid has changed the way we live and the way we work. The pandemic also delivered unique challenges for many in the LGBT+ community. Earlier in the year, we saw many LGBT+ college and university students forced to stay at home with family members who they hadn’t come out to or who don’t support them, separating many young LGBT+ people from their chosen families. During this time, I was really proud that PinkNews was able to serve our audience, particularly the tens of millions of young people, particularly in the US who watch our content on Snapchat. During the pandemic, we more than doubled our output on Snapchat, particularly focusing this year on a diverse range of real-life stories from a teenage drag queen to transgender identical twins.

This period also saw many LGBT+ health workers, including my husband, on the front line, serving our wider community. I was happy that during the virtual PinkNews Awards, we were able to recognise two outstanding frontline heroes: trans NHS GP Kamilla Kamaruddin and fellow trans doctor Rachel Levine, who as health secretary of Pennsylvania has been coordinating the response while dealing with transphobic abuse online and in the mainstream media every day.

As I said in my speech to the virtual PinkNews Awards, during 2020, we’ve seen LGBT+ people and our values come under attack. On social media, just like Dr Levine has found, and I see in my own notifications, LGBT+ people are facing harassment daily. 

In the mainstream media from The Times to the Economist to Newsnight, there has been a campaign of misinformation on LGBT+, particularly transgender topics.

In politics – In the UK, we’ve seen the abandonment of long-promised reforms such as the Gender Recognition Act and as we saw just yesterday, a new approach by the Minister for Equalities which is hostile to ‘fashionable’ issues such as race, gender and sexuality. I’m pleased that for the PinkNews Awards 2020, former Minister for Equalities and Prime Minister Theresa May eloquently spelt out why LGBT+ rights matter and why she tried to reform the Gender Recognition Act.  Thankfully, there is also hope in the US with the new administration taking office soon. 

As the puberty blockers and many other upcoming cases demonstrate, in the British courts, our rights are at risk too. 

While the situation in the UK and the US has been fractious this year, there are still many LGBT+ people around the world who face discrimination for who they are or who they love. That’s why I’m so pleased that this year we have worked with charities including the Kaleidoscope Trust, Mermaids, the Black LGBTQIA+ Therapy Fund and many more.

During 2020, we’ve celebrated 15 years of PinkNews and our campaigning journalism, and I think that what we do has never been more important. I’m pleased that during this challenging year, we’ve significantly grown our team, with more to join soon, a team that is dedicated to ensuring accurate coverage of LGBT+ issues, at a time when so much of the media has become hostile to our community. We wouldn’t have been able to have grown the team so much if it wasn’t for remote working, because we would have run out of office space a few months ago, so that’s one positive from this year anyway.

We’ve also launched MyPinkNews, and I want to thank you for being a member. During 2021, we will be significantly expanding the member benefits, with many new features coming to our app, which will be exclusive for MyPinkNews members. If you haven’t downloaded our iPhone app, do try today. We will be adding an Android version in the next few months also. Do also tell your friends: If they value LGBT+ reporting, now is the time to be funding our coverage.

Thanks so much for supporting PinkNews this year and look forward to seeing you at our virtual events in 2021. 


Season’s greetings and Happy Holigays!

Benjamin Cohen

CEO of PinkNews