A group of volunteers who give up their Friday nights to ensure that people in Leeds’ Freedom Quarter can have a safe and enjoyable night have recognised for their selfless efforts.
The Angels of Freedom walk around the bars and clubs near Lower Briggate from 7pm until 11pm every single Friday, come rain or shine.
Led by founder Rob Wilson, the team of volunteers offer advice and support to people who might find themselves in vulnerable situations on a night out.
Their tireless efforts have seen the Angels of Freedom shortlisted for the 2019 National Diversity Awards, which highlight the work individuals and groups who go above and beyond.
There are a number of different awards in categories ranging from disability rights to race, religion and faith.
Among those shortlisted are England international Raheem Sterling, former Liverpool winger John Barnes and TV host Stephen Fry.
The famous trio are in the Celebrity of the Year category, while the Angels of Freedom find themselves up against a host of other trend-setting organisations who work within the LGBT+ community.
Andy’s Man Club, a mental health support group for men, are also nominated. They have more than 20 clubs across the country, including one right here in Leeds.
The winners will be announced on Friday, September 20 at an awards ceremony in Liverpool. For more information visit the 2019 National Diversity Awards website.
Source – www . Leeds – Live . co . uk
A Cumbrian charity has been nominated for a national award for its work in supporting the local LGBT community.
OutREACH Cumbria, an LGBT+ charity based in Carlisle, has been nominated for the Community Organisation (LGBT) gong in the National Diversity Awards.
The organisation runs community and professional projects, along with a well-received bi-monthly magazine that empowers LGBT+ voices within the community.
Laura Cairns, chairperson of OutREACH Cumbria, said: “It’s fantastic to be nominated for a national award.
“We are run entirely by volunteers so getting recognition for what we do on a national level is a real honour and a testament to the hard work of our committee and volunteers who work so hard for the needs of the LGBT+ community right across Cumbria.”
In the 25 years the type of projects run by OutREACH has been helping people in Cumbria, it has been part of various schemes that better the lives of the local LGBT community.
They have helped to set up a rapid HIV testing space, established an exhibition celebrating the history of the Cumbrian LGBT community, and given advice and training to the public bodies such as the NHS, police, local councils and educational institutions.
The bi-monthly magazine, called Alphabet Soup, features LGBT+ authors lending their voices to highlight news and issues occurring within the community.
It also acts as an education point on sexuality and gender while showcasing local businesses that are safe spaces for LGBT+ people.
Louise Askew, Alphabet Soup editor, said: “When I first realised we had been nominated for the award I was so proud.
“OutREACH Cumbria has been working tirelessly for the LGBT+ community for 25 years and for us to get national recognition for the work we do is fantastic.”
Voting for the National Diversity Awards closes on May 31.
The winners will be announced in September at a ceremony in London.
Source – www . News and Star . co . uk
Gill Springgay has been nominated in the Positive Role Model category at the National Diversity Awards 2019 for her work in styling and providing makeup for transgender women.
Helping transgender women with their transition was not something Gill Springgay had initially intended to do when she launched her image consultancy service.
But when a male friend unexpectedly asked her to do his makeup, she realised there was no image consultancy service for a person who was transgender. She changed her client focus and launched Makeover Girl Reinvent Yourself, working with males who are transitioning or have already transitioned.
Now, following 10 years of helping male clients make the first steps towards transitioning into a female, she has been nominated in the Positive Role Model category at the National Diversity Awards 2019.
Gill, who works from her studio at her Eccleston home, says: “I used to be a housing officer for Chorley Council and I got made redundant. I always had a vision to set up a makeover and image consultancy business as I have always been interested in hair and makeup ever since I was a little girl.
“I studied at night school and set up a website.“A male friend came to me and asked if I could do his makeup and make him look female. He came to my home and we had a talk about how he would looking terms of clothes, hair and makeup and. I was completely amazed at how feminine I could make him look. He was happy and I thought I had a talent for it. I saw the possibility of what I could do.”
Gill began seeking out transgender support groups and visited the Manchester Concord social group, offering demonstrations every month. She adds: “I have never had any female clients. I decided to focus on transgender women. There are a lot of people who need my help and I have lots of clients in transition.”
Gill’s work reaches beyond teaching about hair and makeup, as she helps her clients become more confident in their new look and accept who they are. She adds: “I go out shopping with my clients and quite often it is their first step out. “I give them the ability to see themselves as females, rather than a man in drag. They never thought they could look feminine until I teach them how. “I give my clients makeup tutorials and look at their body shape so I can tell them what clothes suit them. I do a colour analysis and as I stock wigs to suit their face shape and skin tone.”
Gill develops strong friendships with her clients and supports them through their transitional journey.She adds: “I am not a trained counsellor but I can support my clients as I listen to them and help them feel relaxed. In some cases, I am the first person they have told about transitioning.
“I have a few links with gender clinics and counsellors where I can signpost people to.
“Not everyone is in transition. Quite a lot of clients seem to be the same age – in their 40s, 50s and 60s – who are married and have had children. “They have struggled to keep their identity in and are scared to make the first step. “It is hard enough dealing with their image as they thought they were male and they are now presenting themselves as female. Even though the concept is more accepted in society, it is still terrifying for the person. But when they are fully dressed they feel more relaxed as their brain is telling them they are a woman.”
Gill has more than 100 clients from all over the UK and has people coming from as far as London, Ireland and Scotland. She has also written various magazine articles on the subject and was poised to take part in a Channel Four documentary until her client no longer wished to take part.
Gill, who has two daughters aged 14 and 12, says: “I was the first image consultant exclusively for transgender women and I offer a specialist service so I have clients from quite far. I have links to a local B&B so people can stay overnight. I had Channel Four filming in my home as part of The Making Of Me. I was supposed to be on episode four but my client pulled out so we didn’t get aired.
“I have been lucky enough to have been invited several times to judge Miss Transliving in Eastbourne and Miss Rose Pageant in Scarborough, donating prizes and offering my sponsorship. I also attended the Beaumont Society Harrogate events for several years offering my services and sponsorship. I also voluntarily wrote regular fashion and beauty articles for their magazine. My service has grown and grown, so much so I have been mentored by Virgin, who is helping me upgrade my website and promote my business. I have been asked to represent them via theirwebsite, as they are big advocates of diversity.”
Part of Gill’s aim is to educate people about transgender and make the notion more accepted.
She adds: “My aim is to break down barriers and show it is normal. People who are transgender are no different to anybody else.”
Gill now needs your votes to be shortlisted for the next stage of the National Diversity Awards 2019, which take place at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral on September 20.
To vote, visit www.nationaldiversityawards.co.uk/nominate. Voting closes May 31 and the shortlisted nominees will be announced soon after that.
Source – Written by Natalie Walker as featured in The Lancashire Post – https://www.lep.co.uk/news/people/how-eccleston-mum-has-been-helping-to-style-and-inspire-transgender-women-through-her-makeover-girl-reinvent-yourself-image-consultancy-1-9786731
Even if young LGBT+ people can’t see themselves represented in history, they will see themselves in the people fighting for their rights now. Their efforts should be celebrated.
For the youth of today to see young transgender characters on shows like Butterfly, a mainstream TV show with famous actors, is monumental. Not only does it serve as a powerful representation for trans youth fighting against the hostility towards their identities, but it also works as an important source of knowledge for the general public who might be unfamiliar with the trials and tribulations of the LGBT+ community.
It’s easy to forget that it’s taken years of campaigners working for better representation to bring a story like Butterfly to mainstream television.
Up until the 1990s and mid-2000s, transgender issues weren’t often seen on screen, and when they were, it was through portrayals by straight, cisgender actors like Hilary Swank in Boys Don’t Cry, or Felicity Huffman in Transamerica. It wasnˆt until Netflix’s Orange is the New Black launched in 2013 that we saw a real breakthrough for transgender culture, with Laverne Cox in the role of transgender prisoner Sophia Burset.
It’s been just over 50 years since same-sex activity between men was decriminalised in the UK, led by John Wolfenden; it’s been almost 50 years since the first Pride march in London, with campaigners like Peter Tatchell; 20 years since television shows with regular LGBT+ characters like Ellen, Friends and Will & Grace first appeared on our screens; 14 years since civil partnerships were introduced in the UK and six years since same-sex marriage became legal.
The UK is now one of the best countries in the world for LGBT+ equality.
However, despite our community’s progress and rich LGBT+ history, there are still many people who don’t see themselves represented in daily life.
Civil rights organisation The Human Rights Campaign recently awarded The Hunger Games’ actor Amandla Stenberg with a visibility award. Stenberg hit the nail on the head when she said in her acceptance speech that if she “had more representations of black gay women growing up” that she would have had more idea of what was possible and acceptable, and therefore would have “come to conclusions” around her sexuality earlier.
It’s clear that despite the many strides that have been made in the past, many young LGBT+ people are still struggling to come out today – especially people of colour, who are often marginalised from the mainstream discourses of LGBT+ equality.
That’s why celebrations like LGBT+ History Month, Pride Month, or queer-focused awards allow us to promote LGBT+ causes and raise awareness about the modern issues that affect the community, while celebrating our achievements and increasing the visibility of LGBT+ trailblazers who inspire the next generation of change-makers.
I’m proud that the nominees of the British LGBT Awards reflect that, with a wealth of intersectional role models to be found in this year’s shortlist for the 17 May ceremony.
Some of the diverse and groundbreaking stars nominated by the British public this year include: pansexual singer Janelle Monáe; gender fluid drag star Courtney Act; Amazon Prime series The Bold Type’s interracial lesbian couple featuring two women of colour; gender fluid model Cara Delevingne; “lesbian Jesus” singer Hayley Kiyoko; actress and political campaigner Cynthia Nixon; drag icon RuPaul; and trans activist Munroe Bergdorf.
While it’s clear that times are changing, it’s important that young LGBT+ people today and the generations to come know our community’s past, and use it as a foundation to give a voice to all of the beautiful intersectionalities within the LGBT+ community.
My hope is that even if LGBT+ youth can’t see themselves represented in history, they will see themselves in the people fighting for their rights today, and grow up knowing that they aren’t alone.
Source – The Independent . co . uk
Top clubs have been encouraged to follow the example of Altrincham after the club wore a rainbow-coloured kit in a competitive fixture in support of football’s fight against homophobia.
In a move Altrincham say is the first of its kind, the National League North side’s usual red and white stripes were replaced with the colours of the LGBT pride flag for their fixture at home to Bradford (Park Avenue) on Saturday.
The kit features the logo of Football v Homophobia and has attracted global attention.
Campaign director Lou Englefield said: “It’s fantastic for us and has had amazing support.
“You could not believe the debate and talk it’s caused across the world. Obviously it’s also been met with some homophobic and derogatory comments on social media over the last week too, but that happens when people stick their heads over the parapet and Altrincham have done that today.”
Englefield said other non-league clubs have contacted the campaign about making similar statements of support, but she would also like to see clubs from the top end of English football taking part.
“It would be amazing to see one of the big clubs follow Altrincham’s lead,” she said.
“Let’s get that message out as far and as wide as possible.
“But, to be fair, the coverage Altrincham have had has reached Australia, New Zealand, Canada and America, it’s been amazing.”
Before the game kicked off, Altrincham chairman Bill Waterson told the club’s website: “We believe it will be the first time anywhere in the world that a senior football club has worn a kit solely modelled on the LGBT pride flag.
“And Altrincham will, therefore, be creating a small moment of football history.”
The match at the J Davidson Stadium ended 1-1, with Altrincham midfielder Josh Hancock’s first-half finish cancelled out by a scrambled late equaliser from the visitors’ Danny East.
The shirts worn by Altrincham FC players on Saturday will be auctioned off to raise money for The Proud Trust. For more information, click here.
Source – Sky Sports . com / Football
The Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, released plans last week to provide relationships education in primary schools, alongside relationships and sex education in secondary schools.
The new guidance is intended to help schools prepare young people ‘for life in the modern world’ and will include discussions of LGBT issues, mental health and staying safe online for the first time.
As a mum of two primary school children, I warmly welcome the planned focus on the virtues of kindness, generosity, honesty, and the importance of respecting others, including those who are different.
Awareness and understanding of diversity is a critical life-skill in 2018. Schools can and do play an important role in helping children understand that different doesn’t equal wrong. Children benefit from learning that every person is unique, every individual has worth, everyone has a right to be treated with kindness, dignity and respect.
That families are diverse, and that difference makes the world a beautiful and vibrant place. It’s also important because representation matters – children need to see that their identity, their family, their way of life, is visible at school – to help them feel that they belong.
Research has shown that ‘belonging’ is a key factor in children’s wellbeing and ability to thrive. This representation is especially important for LGBT pupils, who may otherwise be given explicit or subtle messages that they do not belong.
A lack of belonging is known to contribute to low self-worth, depression, and self-harm. My daughter, who is transgender, has been met with love, kindness and respect throughout her school and surrounding community. Her friends and classmates stand up for each other, regardless of difference.
Her teachers welcome and celebrate diversity. But not all transgender children are so fortunate and the statistics from a 2017 survey of 3,713 secondary school age LGBT pupils are shocking. Stonewall found that 9% of trans youth have received death threats at school, 84% of trans youth have self-harmed and 45% have tried to take their own lives.
Too often the UK is not a safe and welcoming place for trans children. Schools must be safe places for every child, where children learn to respect and love their friends regardless of difference. Where every child feels valued. Where every child feels that they belong.
What’s more, LGBT people are an integral part of our society, they are our sisters, brothers, mums, dads, grandparents. They are our neighbours, our colleagues, our teachers. They are our children, our children’s classmates, our children’s friends.
Creating a sense of belonging through representation is not hard or complex. It can be achieved through simple steps: ensuring school books represent the diversity in our children’s lives and in our communities; displaying posters that send a clear message that everyone is welcome; providing opportunities for children to talk about and celebrate difference.
Research has shown that efforts to support and celebrate diversity in schools doesn’t just help children from minority groups – it benefits all children. Kindness, tolerance and respect builds resilience and improves mental health.
The new guidance was shaped by a consultation earlier in the year, which found extensive public support for a focus on celebrating diversity and tackling discrimination. Young people who responded to the government consultation highlighted their expectation that education about gender identity and sexual orientation in Sex and Relationships Education ‘would contribute to raising awareness and acceptance of LGBT young people’.
This inclusion can only be a good thing. We need to let pupils know that the world is diverse, with space for everyone, regardless of who they are, or who they love. Children and young people today already accept and embrace diversity.
Society has moved so far since the dark days of Section 28, when children were given a clear message that difference was wrong. That being LGBT was taboo and shameful.
But we could do more, and embracing difference enriches our lives, and builds a better world for all of our children.
Source: Metro Newspaper
An inspirational man born with brittle bone disease has been shortlisted for a prestigious award.
Stuart Thompson, from Mersea, is one of eight finalists in with a chance of winning the Positive Role Model Award for Disability at the National Diversity Awards.
Community organisations and role models from across the country will head to Liverpool Anglican Cathedral on September 14 to see the winners crowned.
Mr Thompson, 42, said: “I am immensely flattered to have been shortlisted for this award, in particular for the work I do with young people and adults with anxiety.
“As a person who has faced many physical challenges who has grown up looking very different to those around me, I know how hard it can be to feel confident and not be afraid.
“I hope this nomination allows me to reach more people and demonstrate how it’s possible to live with confidence.”
Stuart was born with brittle bone disease, a life-limiting disability which has caused him to break almost every bone in his body at some point.
He is three and a half feet tall and uses a wheelchair.
He said: “As a child something would break simply by being picked up by my parents or when I was sitting on the floor.
“Now as an adult I probably break a bone about five times a year.
“As a child it was fine as I didn’t know I was any different, but as an adult I had to learn to find my own voice.”
Stuart started his career as a social worker and now works as a hypnotherapist and anxiety specialist.
He chooses to work mostly with children and young people experiencing anxiety or confidence issues.
He said: “You find confidence within yourself when you realise you have something worth saying.
“We can overcome how we look and how we feel.”
He received more than 40 nominations for the award, all from clients.
He added: “A lot of parents wrote nice things about work I have done with their children, the youngest being six.
“I don’t believe children need endless therapy, and most anxieties can be overcome with a few techniques.”
Johnson & Johnson have recently been announced as headline sponsors of the pioneering awards.
Designed to highlight the country’s most inspirational and selfless people, the NDA’s continue to gain endorsements from high profile figures such as Stephen Fry, Sir Lenny Henry CBE and Graham Norton.
Radio 2 presenter and Scissor Sister favourite Ana Matronic will host this year’s ceremony alongside television presenter Brian Dowling.
To view a full list of nominees visit www.nationaldiversityawards.co.uk/shortlist.
Source: Gazette News
LGBT groups have called on the new minister for women and equalities to set a date for when key gender legislation will be reformed.
Currently, under the Gender Recognition Act 2004, transgender people can have their gender identity recognised and legally changed on their birth certificates.
But it means that people must go through what campaigners call ‘intrusive’ medical assessments, and long and bureaucratic interviews with psychiatrists.
Some 34 groups have now come together and written a letter to Penny Mordaunt, the new minister, calling for the act to be revised. In 2017, the then-equalities minister, Justine Greening, announced plans to launch the review, reports Pink News.
But since then, multiple departures from the position has meant the review has yet to materialise.
The current process requires trans people to have a formal diagnosis of gender dysphoria, and live in their ‘acquired gender’ for at least two years.
If their spouse vetoes the law, then they may be forced to delay or completely annul their applications.
And non-binary people are not recognised under the law. In the letter, they say that the consultation being delayed ‘is having a massively detrimental effect on one of the UK’s most marginalised groups’.
Source – Written by Kate Buck, Featured in The Metro – http://metro.co.uk/2018/05/07/government-under-pressure-to-reform-vital-transgender-laws-7528227/
Liverpool Football Club has been asked to introduce a pilot scheme which would allow supporters from the LGBT community to sit together at selected home games.
The suggestion, put forward at the first meeting of the club’s equality and diversity forum which took place ahead of Liverpool’s home fixture against Chelsea, was supported in principle by all present.
Summarising the proposal, forum member Paul Amann explained that the intention was not to seek extra match tickets for the LGBT community but to better accommodate those who are already entitled to tickets.
“What I am talking about is having the ability to book a block of seats, not at every home game, to allow transgender people to sit together with fans from the LGBT community,” he said.
“Things have moved on immeasurably but there is still some way to go. Transgender people regularly come to me and talk about their love for Liverpool and then talk about their fear of coming to a game.
“The vast majority of Liverpool fans would stand behind us but I am not a transgender person so I cannot imagine their worries and concerns so it is vital that we listen to them.”
Liverpool chief executive Peter Moore outlined the lengths that the club had gone to recently to assist a transgender person who had wanted to attend a game at Anfield.
Welcoming that show of support for an individual, Paul Amann said the club should build on its work with the LGBT community by looking to implement this proposal.
“We have over 100 registered members of Kop Outs and thousands following us on Twitter but it is about having the ability to come and watch a game together,” he added.
“It is about safety in numbers. It is about being together. It is about raising the confidence of an individual who is afraid to go to the match. It is about congregation. It is about raising awareness within the fan base as a whole. It is about all of these things.
“The Football Association has facilitated a similar scheme at Wembley for last couple of England games and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea all allow bookings to be in a group.”
Peter Moore confirmed that the club will look into the proposal, saying: “This is an action that would be relatively easy for us to do.”
Forum member Mahesh Hathi then added that he would be willing to facilitate the proposal. “There are fifteen or sixteen of us, all season ticket holders, who come to the match together and we would all be willing to give up our seats to accommodate this idea,” he said.
Peter Moore suggested that one way forward could be an exchange system which would allow season ticket holders to take general admission tickets in exchange for giving up their own seats. He added that such an initiative, if practical, could be extended to help younger fans to sit together.
The proposal was preceded by a presentation by Simon Thornton, Liverpool’s diversity and inclusion officer, who summarised the club’s objectives in his field.
“Our aim is to become one of the most inclusive football clubs and businesses in the UK,” he said. “We have a real opportunity to drive inclusion into everything we do.
“Becoming the first club to achieve the Premier League Equality Standard Advanced Level since the Standard transferred to the Premier League in 2015 underlined our commitment to this ambition and also highlighted the values that underpin our work.
“Our key goals are to maintain the Premier League equality standard, to raise the LFC profile in wider equality and diversity space and to achieve recognition for the work that we are doing. Also, our long term ambition to become a Stonewall Top 100 employer.”
Yunus Lunat then welcomed the recent introduction of a multi faith prayer room at Anfield and said the resource has been well received by those who use it but he has also been asked by supporters to make a request to the club to see if it is possible to facilitate washing facilities.
Simon Thornton said an expert on prayer rooms had recommended that the club should provide storage for prayer mats and religious literature but not wash facilities because that could lead to the prayer room being almost exclusive to the Muslim faith.
Yunus Lunat said: “If a supporter needs to wash and cannot access a washroom, the supporter cannot offer a prayer, and if this isn’t possible then the facility, as good as it is in so many other ways, is rendered useless, which is a shame. For the supporters who access the facility this is a priority rather than storage for prayer mats or literature, which have never been raised by any fan.”
Yunus Lunat also cautioned on literature. “Firstly, there has been no request or demand as supporters simply use the facility for a short prayer before vacating and secondly, it risks opening up to issues of policing, what is appropriate to some may not be to others and who is leaving the material?,” he added.
“I do not know any stadiums in this country which offer washing facilities and such an initiative would generate a lot of goodwill and positive publicity for LFC. All that is required for wudu (the Islamic procedure for washing parts of the body) is a tap and a sink coming out of the wall.”
Simon Thornton accepted the point and said he would look into the proposal. “It would be easy to do and it would also be cheap so there are no barriers in these respects so the next step for me would be to have a discussion with the ops team,” he said.
Riaz Ravat suggested a change in name for the facility, saying it would be better to call it a reflection room rather than a prayer room “because in that way it is more welcoming to everyone whether you have a faith or have none.”
Simon Thornton then made a second presentation, outlining the progress that Liverpool have made in making Anfield accessible to supporters with disabilities.
“The total number of wheelchair spaces now 263, plus more than 250 amenity and easy access seats,” he said. “There are also new access routes including adapted lifts. This is in keeping with our commitment to ensuring the club is as inclusive and as accessible as possible.”
Welcoming the progress that has been made, Steve Evans from Liverpool Disabled Supporters Association (LDSA) said: “It is really good what we are doing and I know it is something that is really appreciated.
“The situation now is massively different to what it has been in the past. When I became disabled in 2009 I thought I would not be able to come to Anfield again because that’s how little awareness there was about disability at the time but that situation has changed massively.”
At the end of the meeting, Tony Barrett, Liverpool’s head of club and supporter liaison, thanked all involved for their contributions. “As with the ticket availability forum, which was held a week earlier, the equality and diversity forum has made a really positive start,” he said.
“Once again, the suggestions were considered and realistic and the willingness of all forum members to work together and in collaboration with the club was clear throughout.”
Yunus Lunat added: “I would like to place on record how refreshing and encouraging it was that the CEO and senior club executives were in attendance and still committed to the forums as a follow on to the Supporters’ Committee, which sends all the right messages out about how important this area of work is to LFC.”