Gay and trans activists and business people, including veteran campaigner Peter Tatchell, are in the finals to win Britain’s National Diversity Awards.
And the shortlist includes Gay Star News editor Tris Reid-Smith for the LGBT Entrepreneur of Excellence Award for his part in starting GSN.
The awards, sponsored by Microsoft, are designed to promote ‘unity in society’ and will be presented at a ceremony in Manchester on 21 September hosted by openly gay TV presenter Brian Dowling.
After a tough nominations round, the list has now been whittled down to the final three in each category.
LGBT and human rights activist Peter Tatchell is nominated for a Lifetime Achievement Award having celebrated his 60th birthday this year.
He said: ‘My shortlisting is not only a tribute to my 45 years of human rights campaigning but also to the many wonderful people who've worked with me over the decades. Without their help and support, I'd never have done even half the things I've achieved.’
And a new organization, Trans Media Watch is down to the last three to win the LGBT Community Organization prize. Run by a small volunteer team, it is working with the media to see transgender (trans) and intersex people treated with accuracy, dignity and respect.
‘We are thrilled to be shortlisted for this prestigious award, which could make a real difference to a small charity like ours,’ said Trans Media Watch chair Jennie Kermode.
Also nominated are trans campaigners Paris Lees and Christine Burns.
Lees said: ‘I particularly respect Christine so I it wonderful to be shortlisted in the same category as her. I think I have a strong message to share so it is really nice to be recognized for what I am trying to achieve.’
LGBT Youth Scotland is also in the running for the Community Organization award.
Mhairi Mcmillan: ‘I think we were shortlisted because we are quite a dynamic organization which provides a range of opportunities for young people around Scotland.
‘We deliver youth services but we also do a lot of policy work. We support young people to engage with politicians, we work on domestic abuse and we have been campaigning around equal marriage.’
GSN’s editor Tris said he felt his place on the final three for his category was shared with the whole Gay Star News team.
‘Everyone has been entrepreneurial to get GSN started including our investors, staff, clients and many more. I’m just so pleased it’s paid off for all of them with our incredible growth.
‘And that’s thanks to the wonderful support we’ve had from our readers and friends – who have believed in what we’re doing. So I’m pleased for everyone that we’ve got through to the final.’
Another person to be nominated as a Positive Role Model in the age category is Nathan Popple, a 14-year-old with cerebral palsy who has been working to make the north-east English city of Leeds more accessible to disabled people.
He’s been supported in his work by his two lesbian mums.
Popple told GSN: ‘I am so, so happy and excited to be a finalist. Lots of people have helped me with my campaign – my two mums Beryl and Sarah, my support worker Tilly were all there at the start.
‘My local Member of Parliament Greg Mulholland has been great and so have the people at the Yorkshire Evening Post for writing about what I am doing. This is all so incredible so thank you to everyone who put me in the finals.’
The National Diversity Awards rewards all aspects of diversity within one ceremony including age, disability, gender, race and LGBT. This has attracted endorsements from celebrities including Stephen Fry, Brian Blessed, Ade Adepitan and the stars from TV show My Transsexual Summer along with several Paralympians such as Jody Cundy, Claire Hardy, and Danny Crates.