LGBTQ North East Awards: Annual Bash Recognises Regional Contributions

Tyne & Wear Fire & Rescue, Curious Arts, and Alphabetti Theatre were among the winners at this years LGBTQ North East Awards.

The annual bash, held last week celebrated the contributions made by organisations, individuals and community groups to the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, trans, and queer community across the region.

Tyne & Wear Fire & Rescue has been crowned the winner of the Inspirational Workplace award for their continued efforts to make their workplace inclusive.

Sam Dickinson, North-East singer (Left), presented the Inclusive Arts & Media award to Phil Douglas (Centre), alongside ceremony host, ex-Mr Gay UK, Joni Valadares (Right).

Ex-Mr Gay UK Joni Valadares hosted the annual ceremony event for this years awards, made possible thanks to sponsored; Tyne & Wear Fire & Rescue, Gentoo, University of Sunderland, Sunderland College, Up North Media & Team Tilly.

University of Sunderland lecturer Drew Dalton was awarded the Outstanding Contribution to LGBTQ Life award, for his continued development of LGBTQ projects across the region.

Charity project Hidayah picked up the award for Charity & Community Initiative award for their work with Queer muslims. Jay Anderson received the Ally of the Year award for his work creating activities which help Trans young people express themselves in safe spaces.

Arts were celebrated at this years event with regional organisation Curious Arts receiving the Inclusive Arts & Media award while, Benfield School in Newcastle received the Creating Safer Learning Spaces award.

Founder of Rainbow Foundation, the organisers of the LGBTQ North East Awards, Ryan Houston, said: “The awards are a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the contributions that are made throughout the region both by and for members of the LGBTQ community.

“It was, and will remain, a great pleasure for our organisation to award organisations, individuals, and community groups for their hard work.”

In his opening speech of this years awards, Ryan took time to address rising tensions for Trans people and took aim at the misrepresentation they face in the media “which is often toxic, and inaccurate.”

Louise Evan-Wong, best known for her work in the region with the LGBT Fed, received a Special Recognition award, presented by Hart Gables.

Louise Evan-Wong, a lesbian activist in the region, and Gary Short, best-known for his drag alter-ego also received awards on the evening in the form of a Special Recognition award for Louise presented by Hart Gables and a Lifetime Achievement award for Gary, which was presented by Pride Radio presenter, Peter Darrant.

This is the second time that the awards have taken place, having first launched in 2017. The awards were celebrated across the region, with Sunderland and Middlesbrough Council illuminating central locations to mark the occasion.

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