Stonewall CEO Ruth Hunt to step down

Ruth Hunt of Stonewall

Stonewall CEO Ruth Hunt has announced that she will be stepping down, after five years in the role.

Hunt will step down from the role  in six months’ time, according to her statement published on Thursday (February 21) on the Stonewall website.

“I have decided it’s time for someone else to lead this fantastic organisation and take it into the next chapter,” she wrote, without further explaining the reasons for her decision.

Hunt took over as head of the British gay rights charity in 2014, leading an overhaul that saw the body begin to campaign on transgender rights for the first time, and embrace LGBT+ diversity.

Stonewall CEO Ruth Hunt

Stonewall CEO Ruth Hunt

The chief executive, who is a lesbian, has become an outspoken proponent of transgender rights, in the face of criticism from anti-transgender campaigners.

Hunt’s predecessor as Stonewall CEO Ben Summerskill had faced repeated protests from the LGBT+ community over the charity’s trans-exclusive stance, and initial refusal to support same-sex marriage.

A replacement for Hunt is yet to be announced.

“I have no doubt in my mind that the board will find an exceptional new CEO to champion, develop and expand all of these streams of work,” Hunt wrote.

Ruth Hunt: ‘I’m proud to have transformed Stonewall’

In the statement, the outgoing CEO reflected on the changes she has overseen during her tenure.

Hunt wrote: “Since 2015, we have been a proudly trans-inclusive organisation, and our work with trans communities to tackle the discrimination they face on a daily basis has been one of the major focuses for myself and our board of trustees over the past five years.

“We are now a serious voice working to stamp out homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in sport, and our ambitions to support the work of human rights defenders internationally is growing at a pace.”

She added: “I know that there are great things to come for Stonewall, and great things we as a wider equality movement will achieve together in the coming years.

“That is something I will continue being a vocal and passionate part of, as I hope you will too.”

Tributes paid to Ruth Hunt’s work at Stonewall

Friends and activists have paid tribute to Hunt’s work to expand Stonewall’s remit and champion LGBT+ issues.

Columnist Owen Jones wrote: “Really sad to hear this. Ruth Hunt has been an inspiring, courageous voice and fighter for LGBTQ people, and an incredible ally to trans people at a time when they’re under siege. Huge love to her and best wishes for whatever is next.”

Transgender campaigner Jennie Kermode tweeted: “Sorry to hear that you’re going. I’ve been grateful for the presence of your voice in the context of the recent unpleasantness, and hope that your successor will speak as strongly. I hope you find a satisfying role elsewhere.”