Backstage: Why we need Intersectional Representation more than ever before

Pictured: Chloe Davies, Sarah Garrett (founder), Tom Read-Wilson, Lady Phyll, Dawn Butler MP, Nicola Adams (lt to rt)

It is well known that those from marginalised communities face additional challenges when it comes to LGBT+ representation. Individuals from Black, Asian or Ethnic Minority backgrounds often have to work twice has hard to have their voices heard. Alongside this, we see a severe lack of representation and discussion around LGBT+ people with disability or neurodiversity.

Thankfully, due to the outstanding work done by many to raise awareness of these discrepancies, this is slowly but surely changing. Through our youth survey we have seen young people state that this is an area they want to see change in.

With a backdrop of the Black Lives Matter movement, the 2021 awards celebrated the work done by organisations and individuals who work to promote change in these areas.

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT WINNER
LADY PHYLL

Previous to events such as UK Black Pride, like many other segments of the LGBT+ community, there was little awareness of this area of intersectionality.

The work that UK Black Pride and Lady Phyll have done over the past 16 years, against the odds, has created phenomenal change in this area.

CHARITY OR COMMUNITY INITIATIVE WINNER
UK BLACK PRIDE

Co-founder and Lifetime Achievement winner, Lady Phyll, spoke after UK Black Pride’s win of our Charity or Community Initiative Award about how important it is to understand the lived experience of different communities. UK Black Pride has been a space that not only celebrates intersectionality but helps build awareness for allies to engage and understand.

ROLE MODEL WINNER
NICOLA ADAMS OBE

The need for visibility, for people to be able to see themselves and know they aren’t alone is vital.  Nicola Adams OBE, scooped this year’s Role Model award. Nicola said her biggest hope is that she can inspire “more people can be themselves.” The twice Olympic gold medalist urges the next generation to “keep doing you and being you and you’ll achieve great things.”

ONLINE INFLUENCER CATEGORY WINNER
JESSICA KELLGREN-FOZARD

Award winner Jessica Kellgren-Fozard has used TikTok and YouTube to engage young people, and helped educate them on LGBT+ people living with disabilities.  Our Online Influencer winner, said: “online spaces are a place to tell our stories, help people who didn’t know there were people like them out there.”

EXCEPTIONAL INCLUSION CATEGORY WINNER
GURCHATEN SANDHU

One aspect of intersectionality that doesn’t always get the attention that it needs is around faith, and the hurdles LGBT+ people face being out within their religious communities. Alongside this, they often face discrimination and underrepresentation within the wider LGBT+ community. Gurchaten Sandhu was awarded the Exceptional Inclusion award by our judging panel this year.

A Word From Gurchaten Sandhu, Exception Inclusion Winner:
Throughout my life as a queer person of colour and faith belonging to a migrant working class diaspora community I have struggled on the various aspects of my identity that make me whom I am. Shrinking aspects of myself, camouflaging through code-switching, just to be included and accepted came at a cost.

Andre Lorde reminds us ‘There is no thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.’ So why should I leave parts of whom I am at the door just to be included? It’s therefore essential that I when I occupy space, not just for myself but on behalf of the many communities I belong to and represent, – as Chloe Davis once told me: ‘I do it with the fullness of myself‘.”

DIVERSITY HERO CATEGORY WINNER
DEON PILLAY

Gurchatan wasn’t the only person of colour who the judges felt had gone above and beyond within the workplace. Deon Pillay from Legal and General also picked up the Diversity Hero award. He commented that it has been challenging being from a marginalised community and having different lived experiences, but also not being championed. However it’s encouraging that workplaces are starting to do more through network groups to represent less homogenised groups.

The British LGBT Awards will continue to strive to represent and tell the stories from our blended spectum of the LGBT+ community. We are keen to help drive change, if you have any feedback, please email feedback@britishlgbtawards.co.uk