Merseyrail announced as headline sponsor as tickets for celebration of LGBT+ community’s bravest, brightest and best go on sale.
The LCR Pride Foundation has revealed the shortlist for its inaugural LCR Pride Awards, which will take place on Thursday 26 September at Hilton Liverpool City Centre.
The awards, in association with Merseyrail, will shine the spotlight on those working to make the Liverpool City Region the most LGBT+ friendly in the UK. They will celebrate the bravest, brightest and best of the region’s LGBT+ community and its allies, from grassroots campaigners and local performers, to businesses and organisations undertaking wider national work.
A panel of acclaimed judges, including Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram, LCR Pride Foundation Patron, Flt Lt Caroline Paige and Marie Causer, faced the task of selecting the shortlist from a staggering 600+ entries to 12 categories including LGBT+ Young Person, Ally of the Year and Campaigner of the Year (full list below).
There will also be two special awards presented on the evening, the Lifetime Achievement Award, which has been selected from public nominations and the LCR Pride Foundation Award. The winner of the latter will also receive a special honour as part of the 2020 ‘March with Pride’, details of which will be announced at the award ceremony.
Speaking of its sponsorship of the awards, Jane English, HR Director at Merseyrail, said: “Here at Merseyrail we are committed to eliminating discrimination and encouraging diversity amongst our workforce and beyond.
“Through our partnership with the LCR Pride Foundation we have taken part in a number of initiatives and will be setting up our own group internally focused on working together with the LGBTQ+ community.
“The LCR Pride Awards is a great way of showcasing the fantastic work the region’s LGBTQ+ community does to make the Liverpool City Region one of the most LGBTQ+ friendly in the UK.
“We are incredibly proud to be headline sponsors of the awards and can’t wait to hear about the wonderful individuals and projects that have been going on over the last twelve months.”
Andi Herring, Chair of the LCR Pride Foundation, said: “We have been absolutely overwhelmed by the response to our first ever LCR Pride Awards. The region is filled with so many individuals and organisations that do incredible work to support the LGBT+ community in the Liverpool City Region and beyond.
“Every single person who was nominated is a star in our eyes, but we were truly blown away by the inspirational work and achievements of those on our shortlist. The ceremony is set to be a glittering, empowering and uplifting evening for our community.”
Tickets for the event are now on sale at www.lcrpride.co.uk/awards/ with individual tickets starting at £60+VAT.
LGBT+ Young Person sponsored by Ripstone Games
Ben, who was named Stonewall Young Campaigner of the Year in 2019, has been working locally on a campaign to improve the support for transgender young people in school, following his own negative experience as a trans masculine young person in an all girls school. He has conducted individual research and interviews with trans young people and has made a short film to show why it is important that trans young people get appropriate support in school and what impact a lack of support has on not only education but also mental health.
Although only 11 years old, Emily is incredibly passionate about trans rights and is visible, out and proud. In her own words, “I do it for trans kids who are not as lucky as me”. Emily has appeared in ITVs Butterfly and on stage with Saara Aalto, constantly showing her support and visibility for the transgender community. She has marched with Pride, given a talk at the Transgender Day of Remembrance and even met with government members for a round table on the GRA. Above all, she wants the world to be a kinder and safer place.
Ben is a County Youth Commissioner for Merseyside Scouts, acting as a voice for young people, as well as a Trustee of the Michael Causer Foundation. A young trans man going through his personal journey, Ben cares deeply about others, working with groups such as Gyro, YPAS, Pride Trust and NCS while also studying at Salford University and making his stand-up debut at the Edinburgh Fringe. He always goes far beyond the call of duty and does it with a smile
Ally of the Year sponsored by Love Lane Bar & Kitchen
When John Boyd’s daughter announced that she wanted a sex change and was going to start living her life as a man, John set about discovering what life was like for a trans person. He attended and supported LGBT+ events and set up a Facebook page entitled ‘Flats to Stilettos’, using it to form a community, support and inform others and to gain important information. The ethos of the page is ‘changing the world one hug at a time’. John also decided to walk Edinburgh Pride in high heels and spent a year practicing, walking out in his heels around Liverpool, West Kirby and Chester and making new friends in the LGBT+ community along the way.
DCC Julie Cooke
Deputy Chief Constable of Cheshire police, Julie was previously an officer with Merseyside police for more than 26 years . Throughout her career she has been a visible ally to the police’s LGBT+ network, colleagues and communities. Since becoming the Police Chief’s Council Lead on LGBT+ Julie is not only a local, but also national and international ally for all LGBT+ people and she works tirelessly to progress rights across the board. Julie stood firm when challenged for wearing her rainbow lanyard, which was deemed ‘too political’ and encouraged other senior leaders to follow suit, making the statement that love is not political.
Eileen has run her LGBT+ venue, The Lisbon, for 20 years. It is a relaxed gay venue that holds many events supporting the community and Eileen welcomes everyone with open arms. She also actively supports Pride in Liverpool, the Vogue Ball and sponsors the Mersey Marauders gay football team, which helped bring the national summer football tournament to Liverpool. She is a true ally to our community and the embodiment of a fabulous person.
Business Person of the Year sponsored by Morecrofts Solicitors
Cyril has been general manager at NOVOTEL Liverpool and the Ropewalks Bar And Kitchen for over two years and has created a culture of diversity and inclusion. He was the first general manager to really embrace Pride in Liverpool, by allowing it to host its very first pride bottomless brunch, decorate the venue with Pride flags and letting members of the team to dress in drag. He makes his venues a safe place for his team to be free to express themselves however they wish not only during Pride but throughout the whole year.
Dr Tony Lloyd
Chief executive of Liverpool-based charity, ADHD Foundation, Dr Tony Lloyd, ensures that all staff at the Foundation are trained in cultural diversity and the Equalities Act and, as the largest patient-led service for ADHD in Europe, they have a proactive policy to recruit from minority population groups including LGBT+. He is passionate about workplace equality and actively promotes their service as LGBT+ friendly and participates in LGBT+ community activities, such as Pride in Liverpool. Liverpool is now seen as the national centre of excellence for ADHD solely because of the ADHD Foundation, who challenged an initially resistant NHS.
Paul is chief executive of full-service brand and communications agency, Agent and founding director of social enterprise, Agent Academy CIC. As a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community, Paul has demonstrated extraordinary business and leadership skills and represents the Liverpool City Region’s business community in his role as deputy chair of the Liverpool LEP and industry champion of the Policy and Evidence Centre for the creative industries, among other roles. Through this, he ensures the voice of the LGBTQ+ community is heard by businesses, cultural institutions and organisations that lead on national policies.
Campaigner of the Year
Davey is one of the original co-founders of the Liverpool Tritons RUFC and strives to ensure that he and his fellow Tritons play a major part in Liverpool’s LGBT+ community. He has widened the scope of the Tritons, introducing Touch Rugby, with the support of International Gay Rugby (IGR), England Rugby Federation (RFU) and O2, to ensure that the Tritons are open to all, regardless of sexuality, race, religion or gender. He has led the way to create a truly inclusive sports team that is currently unique in Merseyside.
Sue runs the Southport LGBTQ+ youth group New Beginnings, where young people go to be provided with a very safe place to confide in someone they trust and look up to as a fellow LGBTQ+ member of the community. Sue was once a victim of hate crime and openly shares her moving and inspirational story, volunteering her time to go into schools and workplaces to deliver a LGBTQ+ presentations on hate crime within not only the LGBTQ+ community but outside of the community too.
Imogen is a hard working campaigner for the trans community who is always seeking to gain awareness and acceptance for trans people. She organised Liverpool’s Transgender Day of Visibility (TDoV) and works collaboratively with a wide range of organisations to bring the LGBT+ community together. She works tirelessly to promote equality and acceptance for the trans community. As well as her work for TDoV, she has organised a pool tournament with The Lisbon and Jupiter’s to help promote and progress acceptance as well as creating a social platform for trans members of the community.
Community Event of the Year sponsored by Riverside Housing
St Helens Pride
St Helen’s first Pride happened in August 2019 and was a huge success. The event was led by Ron Helsby from World of Glass, Emma Cuerden from NHS Sexual Health, St Helen’s Council and MD productions, who worked together to make the event happen. Following promotion in St Helens town centre and social media St Helen’s Pride was well attended, with people taking part in a ‘Rainbow Walk’ through town, then enjoying music and other entertainment, children’s activities and accessing information from services in attendance.
House of Suarez Vogue Ball
The Vogue Ball brings people from all walks of life together to appreciate, learn and enjoy dancing and arts of all kinds in a safe space together. It provides people with a community that they can be a part of, helping all people, but particularly the LGBT+ community to belong. It is a positive event, full of positive people, positive light and love. The growth and increasing success of the Vogue Ball is testimony to the fact that more and more people are being helped by this event and its organisers.
TDoV 2019 was the second annual celebration of the International Transgender Day of Visibility in Liverpool and the first time a full programme of events was co-ordinated to take place across the city. The event managed to tap into and propel a current zeitgeist of contemporary trans issues and debates. The expansion of the day it has also seen further satellite events throughout the year such as ‘Liverpool Pool Together’ a trans/lesbian event, quiz fundraiser and The Blood Project, which has encouraged trans visibility to be celebrated year round.
Employee of the Year
Stephen, who is a bartender at The Lisbon, received multiple nominations describing him as “more than a bartender” and a “stalwart of the community” and praising him for his positive and caring nature. His nominations described how he has directly helped people from the LGBT+ community going through difficult times and recognised him as a continuous, constant and stable member of the LGBT+ community who goes above and beyond to ensure no one feels that they don’t belong.
Described in his nominations as “the best barman in and out of drag” Superstar Boudoir barman, Benjamin, was nominated for being a friendly face and warm personality on the scene for many years, throughout his career. His nominations praised him for being hardworking and dependable as well as kind, considerate and a joy to be around, even despite facing his own personal problems over the past year.
Superstar Boudoir employee, Terry, was nominated for his multi-skilled role at the bar, doing everything from PR to acting as Bar Supervisor with a smile. He was celebrated for treating every customer with the utmost respect.
Inclusive Sports Group of the Year sponsored by Jack All Productions
A free running group that welcomes runners of all abilities, regardless of how they identify. The organisation is truly inclusive and treat everyone equally. Discrimination has no place at DSR. In its nominations it was praised for being a great inspiring club for runners and those taking up runners for the first time. As well as its LBGT+ inclusivity the running group was also celebrated for its “family vibe” and disability inclusion.
Mersey Marauders FC
Mersey Marauders FC has been going for over a decade, providing an inclusive and diverse culture and atmosphere for people from all backgrounds, primarily aimed at – and run by – the LGBT+ community. It works with local and national initiatives around kicking out homophobia in sport and also supports the LGBT+ community on a general level, working alongside charities and community programmes.
Liverpool Tritons RUFC
Liverpool Tritons RUFC was formed three years ago to bring inclusive rugby to the city. This year in competed the Union Cup, the European Cup of Gay/Inclusive Rugby and they finished second in their division. They are about to expand and recruit to form a touch rugby team which allows mixed gender teams. Their nominations praised the club’s warm, welcoming and inclusive environment.
LGBT+ Community Group sponsored by Merseyrail
Comics Youth is the first organisation in the UK to provide holistic comics-based literacy and wellbeing projects for marginalised children and young people aged 8-25 and is based in the Liverpool City Region. The organisation is unique and is run by young people under 30 with the same lived experiences as its young people including LGBTQIA identities, mental ill- health, trauma and chronic illnesses.
GYRO / YPAS
A collection of youth groups for young people in the Liverpool City Region who identify themselves as LGBTQ+. Despite having limited resources and space they maintain a dedicated space for young people to feel safe, nurtured and part of a tribe. This was further supported this year by their involvement in the Youth Zone at Pride in Liverpool.
Over The Rainbow St Helens
Established around four years ago, Over the Rainbow was the first LGBT+ support group for young people in St Helens. It promotes social support and provides a safe space for young LGBT+ people via a closed group which protects them against discrimination. As well as being a social environment, advice information and guidance is given to them regarding relevant issues.
LGBT+ Friendly Business of the Year sponsored by Westminster Associates
Agent is an award-winning full-service brand and communications agency based in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle. The agency has been led since its inception in 2006 by Paul Corcoran, a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community. Inclusivity and diversity to take centre stage at Agent and it has specific policies in place to ensure a comfortable working environment for every single member of the team. The business actively supports the LGBTQ+ community and even celebrated the city region’s thriving LGBTQ+ business community with a special event ahead of this year’s Pride in Liverpool.
National Museums Liverpool
National Museums Liverpool held a series of events for Trans Day of Visibility (TDoV) on 31 March 2019 at the Museum of Liverpool, bringing the community and its allies together, celebrating the positives happening within our communities and working on ways to make things better for all trans people. It was the first time that a full day of events have taken place in the city to celebrate the lives of transgender people and raise awareness of the discrimination they face.
MSB is a full-service law firm, meeting the needs of its clients nationwide. It strives to be representative of its diverse community. It is committed to eliminating discrimination and promoting diversity and inclusion. Diversity and inclusion is top of MSB’s agenda and it will remain there until it no longer needs to be.
LGBT+ Friendly Venue sponsored by Hilton Liverpool City Centre
Billy and his team were nominated for their relentless work raising the awareness of the needs of everybody in the LGBT+ community and beyond. Kitty’s has helped raise the awareness of the community through its policy of EVERYBODY IS WELCOME. The venue provides excellent entertainment, hosts free pensioner’s lunch, a Trans Disco and it is always raising money for charity.
Described as “an establishment that brings everyone together” The Lisbon was nominated for its longevity and consistently inclusive and welcoming atmosphere. It is lauded as a safe place for LGBT+ to hang out and a relaxed space for anyone to come for a drink. One nomination described the experience of visiting The Lisbon as “always greeted with a smile, always leave with the best memories”.
GBar has been consistently providing a safe space for LGBT+ people for more than 22 years with its iconic club nights. GBar is known as a staple within Liverpool’s LGBT+ scene, renowned for its after-hours parties, amazing atmosphere, friendly staff and excellent Queens.
Michael Causer Award for work to tackle Hate Crime sponsored by Micheal Causer Foundation
Al is a police officer for Merseyside Police who will be retiring this year. One of his roles is educating communities on hate crime, supporting victims and letting them know they have a voice. Al provides regular training to any organisation that engages with people and regularly attends the Over the Rainbow group to help young people have a voice in expressing concerns, so they are empowered to report hate crimes. Approachable, accepting and respectful, Al is not only a credit to the police force but to the LGBT+ community and St Helens.
Aidan Bibby & Andrew Gun-Why
Nominated after an incident in the city, Aidan and Andrew both put their bodies on the line and were beaten heavily while standing up to bullies who were abusing a trans person. Their statements led to the conviction of these bullies who were straight and bigoted but often frequented the gay scene. They have not been on the scene since and the scene is safer for it.
Sheena has a passion for research that supports those targeted by hatred. Her masters dissertation was original research concerning homophobia and was the FIRST research ever to include the opinions/responses from heterosexual males. She runs a page for LGBT women with over 13.5k people, a UK group for the same with almost 4K and an international group with 76k women from all around the world. She has now joined the probation service where she is a local lead for Pride in prison and probation.
Performer / Personality of the Year
Lady Seanne has been involved within the LGBTQ+ community for years and in that time has done so much for the betterment of the community. A truly professional performer and champion for LGBT+ rights, she is a wonderful person with a big heart and an iconic character who is a positive influence and continues to be an inspiration to many.
Ruthie Adamson aka Wonky Wordsmith
Inspirational spoken word poet Ruthie Adamson a.k.a. ‘The Wonky Wordsmith’ is an artist and activist taking a stand and enabling the LGBT disabled community. Recently performing at the 2019 March with Pride muster, she is a voice to be heard amongst the masses.
The first and only UK ambassador of Rupaul’s Drag Race and current top ten competitor, The Vivienne is Liverpool-based drag Queen with international appeal and admiration. Nominated for her performance skills, personality, “heart of pure gold” and who willingness to stand up and fight for what is right, The Vivienne is an ambassador for the LGBT+ community as well as being a great role model and a scouse legend!
For more information visit www.lcrpride.co.uk/awards