In alphabetical order
This category is for a charity or community initiative that has changed or continues to change the lives of LGBT+ people.
BAN CONVERSION THERAPY
Conversion therapy, a practice which focuses around trying to forcefully change someone’s sexuality or gender identity under the guise of religion, is a topic close to a lot of people in the UK’s hearts. In both the press and in government policy the topic has been brought up frequently, yet still no law has been passed to ban the barbaric practice. With 1 in 5 trans people in the UK having experienced pressure to try conversion therapy when accessing healthcare services, this is an issue that needs to be solved now. The ban conversion therapy movement has been especially vocal on social media recently, and hopefully with this increased pressure, the practice will come to an end.
DRAG QUEEN STORY HOUR (UK)
Drag Queen Story Hour UK provides a unique and interactive service through children’s shows up and down the country, reading to and interacting with young people. By providing this opportunity for children to be introduced to drag, whilst promoting creativity and communication. The mission of Drag Queen Story Hour UK is important, especially when considering the statistics- 65% of LGBT+ secondary school pupils experience homophobia and bulling whilst at school, and a shocking 97% report to regularly hearing homophobic language at school. This kind of positive exposure helps to prevent this happening for future generations.
FRINGE! QUEER FILM & ARTS FESTIVAL
Starting in 2011, the Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Fest has been providing an invaluable experience to London’s queer art scene. Beginning as a response to cuts in the arts field, Fringe! Features everything from films to installations to workshops to help provide a platform to LGBT+ artists through their volunteer run initiatives, in a welcoming and creative environment.
IT GETS BETTER
This non-profit organisation has been empowering and communicating internationally with members of the LGBT+ community since 2010. Beginning as a highly successful social media campaign in response to the discrimination LGBT+ youths were experiencing, the initiative has published essays, and consistently provided educational and supportive content via their youtube channel. The original Youtube campaign featured a series of viral videos from everyone from those in tech industries, to some of the biggest celebrities, sharing their stories of acceptance and growth, to empower the youth in the LGBT+ community.
JUST LIKE US
Just like Us, a charity focused around championing LGBT+ equality in schools up and down the country through their initiatives, School Diversity Week (which helps provide educations within schools to tackle homophobic and transphobic bullying), The Ambassador Programme (which trains LGBT+ youth in a wide range of categories) and Pride Groups (which helps create safe spaces in schools to discuss LGBT+ issues).
Mindline Trans+ acts as an invaluable helpline for those who identify as transgender, non-binary, or gender fluid, and those close to them. Open Mondays and Fridays form 8pm to midnight, Mindline Trans+ provides an easily accessible safe space for those in the community, with trained volunteers, many of whom are in the LBGT+ community. In 2020, Mindline Trans+ set up a community fund to raise money to provide the service for three days a week.
OPENING DOORS LONDON
As the largest UK charity for the LGBTQ+ community over 50, Opening Doors London has provided activities, events and information for the over 50s, with monthly newsletters sent out to its members. The group also offers specialist training for places such as care homes and hospitals to help them better support older LGBTQ+ people. In November of 2020, Opening Doors London released a report on the effects of lockdown on older LGBTQ+ people, which highlighted the increased loneliness and isolation of these members of the community.
Holding its first festival in 2004, Reading Pride has continued to drive diversity, equity and inclusion. Partnering with organisations like the Reading Caribbean Carnival and taking on corporate America (and winning), we are a small volunteer led organisation that has a made big impact for the LGBT+ community. Launching in 2017, MyUmbrella was formed to raise awareness of the lesser-known identities. In 2020, we sadly lost David Wails, James Furlong and Joe Ritchie-Bennett in the Reading terror attack, and while our volunteers were grieving they were still there for the community to help them in their collective grief. The volunteers work tirelessly throughout the year to make things more accepting for the LGBT+ community which includes staging the Love Unites festival.
UK BLACK PRIDE
Beginning in 2005, UK Black Pride provides a safe space for LGBT+ Black, Asian and Minority Ethnics annually, drawing up to 8,000 attendees. The event began in response to the lack of representation in mainstream Pride events, as discussed in the June 2019 issue of British Vogue, in an interview with the UK Black Pride co-founder. This year, UK Black Pride has announced a 3-day online event with the theme of ‘Love and Rage.’ UK Black Pride has truly created a place of inclusivity for many that were marginalised at Pride events previously.