BY ELEANOR NOYCE, IMAGES BY BRITISH DIVERSITY AWARDS
Last night’s inaugural Burberry British Diversity Awards took London by storm. Hosted by June Sarpong OBE and held at the esteemed De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms, awards were given out in 18 categories. Attendance was star-studded, with LGBTQI ally and singer Sinitta, Westlife’s Mark Feehily and football pundit Jamie Carragher all present. With a performance from queens of lovers rock Janet Kay and Caroll Thompson and a keynote speech from Rabina Khan, Liberal Democrat Councillor for Shadwell, the evening celebrated champions of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion across the board.
For the Media Champion in the Public Eye Award, sponsored by Sedulo, Marcus Rashford MBE, footballer and campaigner against food poverty, was Highly Commended. The talent in this category was so high that the judges crowned two winners: Little Mix’s Leigh-Anne Pinnock, a staunch LGBTQI ally, and Jamie Carragher, the football pundit and former footballer for Liverpool FC behind the social mobility initiative Football For Change.
Westlife’s Mark Feehily was given the Global Recognition Award for Diversity. Coming out in 2005, he has consistently campaigned for LGBTQI rights, particularly in his native Ireland. Commenting on his win, he stated: “This is an incredible honour and the most meaningful award I have collected in my career. I mean, I’ve won awards for my music and awards with Westlife but this is something very special. I am proud and I hope it goes some way towards highlighting the issues still faced by LGBT+ families who want to start families of their own. There is still a lot to do and our work will not stop until we have achieved full equality.”
Importantly, the Burberry British Diversity Awards celebrated astounding LGBTQI activists and charities alike. LGBTQI rights campaigner Peter Tatchell was crowned the Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Attest, having dedicated his life’s work to furthering LGBTQI and human rights across the globe. Attempting a citizen’s arrest of Robert Mugabe; organising the UK’s first ever Pride March in 1972, and campaigning against the war in Iraq, Peter is a trailblazer of activism. He received a standing ovation.
LGBTQI anti-abuse charity, Galop, was awarded the coveted Charity of the Year Award, supported by headline sponsor, Burberry. Gifted £10,000 towards their cause, Galop has been at the forefront of the campaign to ban “conversion therapy” in the UK. Sophia Moreau of Little Village was crowned the Campaigner of the Year with trans activist and model Munroe Bergdorf receiving Highly Commended. This category’s shortlist featured an impressive array of talent, including climate change activist and artist Daniel Lismore, Ozanne Foundation CEO Jayne Ozanne, Sarah O’Connell of The Sarah O’Connell Show, Chronically Brown’s Sukhjeen Kaur, intersex activist Valentino Vecchietti and asexual activist Yasmin Benoit.
Commenting on the evening, Linda Riley, Founder and CEO of the Burberry British Diversity Awards and publisher of DIVA Magazine, stated: “I’d like to congratulate all of the deserving winners at this year’s Burberry British Diversity Awards. The awards shine a light on the individuals, organisations, charities and unsung heroes who help to make the world and workplaces a better place for others across all strands of diversity. In a world where hate and division is being sown in some quarters, we believe that by continuing to celebrate Equality, Diversity and Inclusion we can help make the UK and indeed the universe a better place to live and work for everyone.”
To read more about the Burberry British Diversity Awards, visit their website. Follow them on Twitter and Instagram. Nominations for its sister event, Rainbow Honours, are open until 17 March. If you have an LGBTQI hero to celebrate, nominate today!
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