THE BLOG

The British LGBT Awards: Pride and Prejudice

09/04/2015 10:14 BST | Updated 08/06/2015 10:59 BST

The British LGBT Awards provide an important opportunity to celebrate and highlight the achievements of LGBT people throughout the UK and beyond. The glitzy awards ceremony, taking place at London's Landmark Hotel on 24th April, will pay tribute to the individuals and organisations who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to promoting equality and diversity.

So, what is the point of LGBT lists and awards?

They often attract weary cynicism, 'Why do they (LGBT) need their own awards, cant there just be one event?' and 'Here we go again, another list, another ceremony.'

This statement in itself validates the need for the British LGBT Awards, however, questions are worth discussing. Every day is a day to praise the strength of our community and campaigning for equality takes place all year round.

So why is this event important? Doesn't it just reinforce stereotype? With the equal marriage bill being passed through parliament, haven't we all secured equal rights?

For those that are seen as part of the 'norm' in terms of sexuality and gender, they can confidently go about their lives without fear of reprisal. Whether it's being who they are at work and within their families, expecting and receiving equality on a daily basis and living with those they love.

Yet for many of us that identify with being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, that's simply not the case. Arguably, as a direct result of homophobia, we have not achieved full acceptance here in the UK, or indeed, many, many countries throughout the world.

Awards mean different things to different people. For most, even being nominated is a recognition of the work they've done, and are especially important for those minorities that more often than not, are ignored by mainstream media for critical acclaim.

My particular favourite is the Lifetime Achievement Award - for the trailblazers whose lives and livelihood were literally at risk. If it wasn't for those brave men and women who went before us, being true to themselves, others would not be able to be who they are living their lives openly today.

So for those who have stood up to be counted and to remind those of us who have become complacent, this event is an opportunity to celebrate human sexuality and gender in all its difference. To create positive visibility for a community that has suffered greatly under a cloak of invisibility.

I am proud far beyond one day of the year. Proud to be fighting for a better future. I will never forget where we have come from and hope for the day when separate events are no longer required.

And this is why the award ceremony is so necessary. Things have come a long way, but try telling that to the bullied kid in Glasgow growing up in the east end where "gay" means "disgusting". Tell the young lesbian who fell in love with another girl but is afraid her classmates will reject and humiliate her if they find out. Tell the trans man who's on the verge of suicide because he can't find the words to tell his religious parents who he really is.

Let's honour those who inspire us. Encourage them, and delight in the talent, passion and success of our community. It's important that we recognise and celebrate diversity - only then will we all be winners.

http://www.britishlgbtawards.co.uk