Beloved TV presenter Sandi Toksvig has come out swinging in defence of the LGBTI community saying that although we’ve come a long way in terms of rights there ‘was still a long way to go’.
The lesbian presenter of The Great British Bake Off and QI made the comments at an event celebrating the first global LGBTI Founders Day.
Hosted in conjunction with Barclays, Gay Star News launched the LGBTI Founders’ Day this year. It wanted to celebrate contributions of LGBTI elders to the rainbow community around the world.
‘As LGBTI people, it’s difficult to find our legacy… it’s difficult to find your heritage,’ Toksvig told the rapt crowd.
‘We look to those who have gone before us.’
Watch Sandi’s powerful and emotional speech here:
John and Roger’s story
Toksvig cried during her speech when she told the story of a gay couple she knew. John and Roger had been together for more than 20 years, when Roger was in a serious car accident.
When it looked Roger was likely to die, John contacted his estranged family to give them a chance to say goodbye. But then they cruelly locked John out of seeing Roger at the hospital. He didn’t go to his funeral and John doesn’t even know where Roger is buried.
Not one to shy away from standing up for what she believes in, Toksvig also founded the Women’s Equality Party in 2015.
‘A fire was lit in me that day and has never gone out,’ Toksvig said in her speech.
‘He made me in many ways, the activist I’ve always been.’
Death by a thousand cuts
Toksvig said that even though LGBTI rights have come a long way, the community are still not totally equal.
‘If you think about what young people are suffering through; the homophobic bullying, people are afraid to hold hands, and they way we get judged everyday, it’s like death by a thousand cuts,’ she said.
‘We need to keep fighting,’ she said.
Even though GSN and Barclays honored Toksvig as an LGBTI founder, she said she did not feel old. Toksvig resolved to keep fighting for LGBTI people.
‘I don’t feel old, I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me,’ she told the crowd.
LGBTI Founders’ Day
About 100 people attended the special event at Barclay bank’s headquarters in London. Other notable attendees included Linda Wilkinson, Jason Jones and Robyn Ochs.
Legendary dancer, Wayne Sleep, who famously danced with Princess Diana was also in attendance. He held a dance class for attendees to show you can learn new skills and remain active at any age.
Toksvig, Sleep, Jones, Ochs and Wilkinson all received inaugural LGBTI Founders awards.
GSN launched the LGBTI Founder’s Day to celebrate older LGBTI people but to also combat ageism in the community.
>‘Tonight’s reception was a great way to kick-start our special week on Gay Star News around our Founders. We will be celebrating the generation who organised and founded the modern LGBTI community we are all part of today,’ said GSN’s editor-in-chief, Tris Reid-Smith.
‘And we’ll be releasing more data to show how LGBTI people of all ages feel about getting older and propose solutions so our community can support our Founders better in future.’