Trailblazing figures who have made a difference in the fight for LGBT+ equality are among the nominees for the Role Model Award at the PinkNews Awards 2020.
The Role Model Award (won in 2019 by Andrew Moffatt, the creator of the pioneering No Outsiders programme) highlights those working to improve life for LGBT+ people across the world.
The five nominees have made meaningful contributions to LGBT+ life and have worked tirelessly to advance queer people’s rights to live their lives openly and to be accepted for who they are.
The winner will be revealed at the PinkNews Awards 2020, which will take place virtually 2-4 December. The nominees are listed below.
Al Skilton is a senior hearing officer at the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and co-chair of its LGBT+ network, iPride. Their work has been crucial in fostering understanding and acceptance of non-binary and trans rights in the workplace.
Skilton has shared their own experiences with colleagues and has spoken about being non-binary on podcasts. They have also called on the IPO to introduce Mx and No Title honorifics across all of its IT systems.
And Skilton’s hard work has paid off. The results of the 2019 annual People Survey showed a notable shift in attitudes to LGBT+ inclusion and diversity, as well as a six per cent increase in how fairly LGBT+ people feel they are treated at work.
Skilton has made a significant difference within their own organisation, as well as in the wider civil service.
Annie Newman joined GSK’s LGBT+ employee network group leadership team three years ago, and became its leader last year. She has worked towards building a culture of acceptance without exception within the organisation.
Newman has strived to create an environment where LGBT+ employees feel able to be their authentic selves. She spearheaded GSK’s involvement in the Google & Vodafone LGBT+ Leadership Programme, which gave leaders time to reflect on their own impact.
Outside of work, Newman has been a member of the Proud Science Alliance steering team since early 2019. This is a collective of healthcare and life sciences sector LGBT+ networks who work together to promote LGBT+ equality in the scientific community.
Brishan Turner is chairperson of the LGBT+ network at Wellcome, and she has worked tirelessly to promote LGBT+ equality within her organisation.
Under her leadership, the LGBT+ network at Wellcome has prioritised the development of a trans inclusion policy, and the group has also developed guidance around transitioning at work. Turner also devised the idea for LGBT+ history month at Wellcome.
Externally, Turner arranged Wellcome’s first LGBT+ network volunteering day for Pride 2019 with Opening Doors London, a charity dedicated to LGBT+ people over 50. She promoted the opportunity amongst LGBT+ colleagues and allies so that people were able to spend a day supporting the work of the charity.
Founder of beauty brand Jecca Blac, makeup artist Jessica Blackler has dedicated her talent to offering makeup lessons to trans women. The lessons, held in a studio, gave trans women a space in which they could feel safe and accepted.
Blacker has also worked with clients who are in prison, including trans women incarcerated in men’s prisons. She has petitioned to bring wigs and makeup inside prisons to make transitioning easier for these women.
Today, Jecca Blac is a gender free makeup brand that focuses on client individuality, and Blacker has collaborated with the LGBT Switchboard charity and trans youth charity Mermaids.
She also created Trans Festival, an event devoted to bringing the trans community together, which took place in February in London.
As leader of the Latham & Watkins LGBT+ Lawyers Group, Matt Brown has played a critical role in building a culture where everyone feels comfortable to show their authentic selves at work.
Brown has spearheaded the firm’s first-ever LGBT+ retreat, where lawyers from Latham’s European offices heard from inspirational guest speakers over a two day period in London.
He was also a key influence in Latham’s first application for the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index, and has been instrumental in the firm’s decision to take on pro-bono LGBT+ cases.
Outside of work Brown is a mentor through OUTstanding/INvolve’s cross-industry mentoring programme, where he facilitates discussion about LGBT+ issues across various sectors.
The winner will be revealed at the PinkNews Awards, which will take place virtually 2-4 December