An equality and human rights advocacy group has announced the shortlisted nominees for its inaugural LGBTI awards event.
The Equality Network established the Scottish LGBTI Awards to recognise and celebrate the campaigners, politicians, journalists, public bodies, businesses, community groups and individuals that have made a contribution towards securing greater equality in the past year.
The event is being sponsored by UNISON Scotland and Humanist Society Scotland, and the official media partners are The Scotsman and London-based Pink News.
The award ceremony is set to take place at Glasgow’s iconic Grand Central Hotel on Thursday 10th September 2015, and will be hosted by one of Scotland’s best-loved comedians, openly-gay Karen Dunbar. The event coincides with the 35th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1980, in addition to coming exactly 20 years after Scotland’s first Pride March and 15 years after the furore over the repeal of Section 28.
Organisers are also using the event to mark the first year of equal marriage in Scotland.
Ms Dunbar said: “I’m chuffed to bits and really looking forward to hosting the first ever Equality Network Scottish LGBTI Awards. It’s vital that we celebrate the people who have made a difference to the lives of LGBTI people here in Scotland.”
The red-carpet awards ceremony will be attended by 350 LGBTI people and equality supporters from across Scotland, including leading politicians, businesses and celebrities as well as dedicated activists. Well-known LGBTI equality supporters including Pop Idol winner Michelle McManus, lesbian singer-songwriter Horse McDonald, and West of Scotland celebrities Robert and May Miller will be among acts providing entertainment on the night.
Ms McDonald said it was an “honour” to be performing at the event: “In my lifetime, I have seen dramatic change – change I never ever thought possible. In recognising those people who stand up for and fight for all of us, The Scottish LGBTI awards are an essential platform. They give everyone the opportunity to focus on the issues that affect us all and also to celebrate those who tirelessly give of themselves.
“However, for all of the people who have stood up and had to fight for or even die for who they were, we need to remember how we got to this point and that until we truly have equality, the fight goes on.
“In the music industry being female and gay did not garner respect or support – I only ever wanted to be heard, me, my music but also to be recognised for being good at what I do. If I have inspired or supported anyone in my journey for standing up and being who I am, then it is an honour.”
Jo Clifford, one of Scotland’s foremost playwrights and an openly transgender woman, has been nominated for the Culture Award. She said: “I feel really happy and proud to be shortlisted. But I feel happier still that our society has so fundamentally changed for the better and made it possible for this event to happen.”
The Equality Network, who launched a major new report earlier this week revealing that LGBTI people still face widespread prejudice and discrimination in Scotland, say that they hope the event will provide an opportunity to recognise the significant advances made in recent years, while also encouraging further efforts for equality in the future.
However, there are those who have questioned the purpose of award ceremonies. One KaleidoScot reader asked: “while it’s good that many people are getting recognition for their work, do awards actually change anything? Or are they just a self-congratulatory gathering of the most upwardly-mobile activists?”
Hundreds of public nominations were received for the 15 award categories – some will be decided by a simple public vote while others will be determined by a panel of judges commissioned by the Equality Network.
The shortlist revealed today contained a mixture of the famous and the not so well known.
The “Politician of the Year” award includes the leaders of the SNP, Green Party, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in Holyrood, as well as Labour’s Margaret McCulloch and the SNP’s Alex Neil, who played a leading role in creating Scotland’s same-sex marriage legislation. There is an absence of any Westminster MPs among the nominees and surprisingly no local politicians found their way onto the shortlist.
Lorraine Kelly is nominated for the “Journalist of the Year” award in recognition of her efforts to raise awareness of transgender equality through several high-profile interviews with trans activists, and because of her longstanding support for LGBTI equality. She said she was “very honoured and delighted to be shortlisted for such a prestigious award”. She will be up against former Scotland on Sunday Deputy Editor Kenny Farquharson, a long-standing ally of LGBTI equality, STV’s openly-gay reporter Alan Jenkins, and Katherine O’Donnell, the openly-transgender Night Editor of The Times, among others.
In the “Media Outlet of the Year” category, KaleidoScot are up against BBC Reporting Scotland, STV News, Scotsgay, Third Force News and Gaia Magazine.
A full list of all the nominees can be found below.
Politician of the Year
Ruth Davidson MSP
Patrick Harvie MSP
Margaret McCulloch MSP
Alex Neil MSP
Willie Rennie MSP
Nicola Sturgeon MSP
Journalist of the Year
Media Outlet of the Year
BBC Reporting Scotland
Third Force News
Event of the Year
The Commonwealth Games
The legalisation of same-sex marriage
LGBT Youth Scotland – The National Youth Summit
STUC LGBT Workers Conference
Public Body Initiative of the Year
Judicial Institute of Scotland – Development of transgender inclusive training and review of Equal Treatment Bench Book
National Gender Identity Clinical Network for Scotland – foundation of new body to coordinate gender reassignment activity in Scotland
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde – Development of LGBT inclusive new training for GG&C staff
Scottish Government – One Scotland Campaign
Scottish Prison Service – New inclusive policies around transgender prisoners and development of training DVD for Staff
Travel & International Team NHS National Services Scotland – First government funded online resource aimed specifically at keeping LGBT travellers safe abroad.
Staff Network of the Year
Balfour Beatty LGBT Network
Barclays Spectrum LGBT Colleague Network
Gay Police Association Scotland Group
RBS Rainbow Network
SWAN LGBT Scottish Workplace Networking
University of Aberdeen Staff LGBT Network Group
Student Group of the Year
BLOGS (University of Edinburgh)
Dundee & Angus College
Glasgow University LGBTQ+
Saints LGBT (University of St Andrews)
SAUWS LGBT+ Society (University West of Scotland)
Vale of Leven Academy LGBT Committee
The Culture Award
The Glasgay! Festival
LGBT History Month Scotland
Loud & Proud Choir
Our Story Scotland
Equality Initiative of the Year
Ayrshire College SU & Ayrshire College – #JoinTheConversation
The Ayrshire LGBT Development Group – Engaging LGBT people across Ayrshire
LGBT Health & Wellbeing – Age Capacity Building Project
LGBT Youth Scotland – The Schools Charter
Scottish Refugee Council & LGBTI Partners – Information campaign for LGBTI Asylum Seekers
Scout Scotland – Working to include LGBT in the Scouts in face of US ban
Community Group of the Year
Bi & Beyond
Highland LGBT Forum
Grampian T Folk
Youth Group of the Year
Fusion LGBT Youth Group Clydebank
The Glitter Cannons & West Lothian LGBT Youth Forum
The LGBT Inclusion Alliance
Sexual Health and Relationships Youth Team SHRYT
The Diversity Award
Dive Queer Party
The Glitch Film Festival
LGBT Health and Wellbeing
LGBT Unity Scotland
The Sports Award
Auld Reekie Roller Girls
Glasgow Front Runners
LGBT Youth Scotland – TRANSport residential
Pride House (Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games)
United Glasgow Football Club
Venue of the Year
Café Habana, Edinburgh
Cheerz Bar, Aberdeen
The Flying Duck, Glasgow
Rusty Nail, Ayr
The Waterloo Bar, Glasgow
Outstanding Campaigner Award
Dr Matthew Waites
Two special awards, chosen by the Equality Network, will also be presented on the night, including a “Lifetime Achievement” award and a “Friend for Life” award which will recognise some of those activists and supporters that have made a particularly significant contribution towards LGBTI equality in Scotland.
Tickets for the event are now available online at £45 each, and will include a celebratory champagne reception, a three-course dinner, entertainment, and a fundraising auction. All money raised will go towards the Equality Network’s campaigns for LGBTI equality.
The public vote opens on 30th July. You know how to vote in the media category!