Meet the community leaders, role models and trailblazing groups nominated in PinkNews Awards 2022

PinkNews Awards 2022

The PinkNews Awards is back with a bang in 2022 with a live and in-person ceremony for the first time since before the COVID pandemic.

The annual ceremony recognises the incredible contributions of the people, organisations and companies that campaign for LGBTQ+ people and equality worldwide. Each year, the community comes together to celebrate the unprecedented achievements of businesses, organisations and individuals alike.

The last in-person PinkNews Awards in 2019 saw awards presented by political heavyweights like Labour MP Diane Abbott, then-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi.

Since then, the ceremony has remained a virtual event due to COVID-19 restrictions and safety precautions, but it takes more than a pandemic to stop the celebrations. In 2020, the PinkNews Awards saw Labour leader Keir Starmer call for greater unity against homophobia and transphobia, while mayor of London Sadiq Khan kicked off the ceremony by thanking activists and frontline heroes for going “above and beyond” in support of LGBTQ+ minorities.

Dawn butler, Jeremy Corbyn and Baga Chipz

Drag Race UK queen Baga Chipz met Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and shadow equalities minister Dawn Butler at the PInkNews Awards 2019. (PinkNews)

“I speak from the heart when I say that I’ll always stand in solidarity with our LGBTQ+ communities,” he said in his opening statement. “No one should have to endure hatred, discrimination, or violence simply because of who they are and who they love.”

Winners in 2020 including trailblazing trans doctor, US health secretary and four-star admiral Dr Rachel Levine, who called for greater acceptance unity to help defeat coronavirus, and the cast and crew of groundbreaking trans Netflix documentary Disclosure, accepted by Laverne Cox.

This year’s PinkNews Awards takes place on 19 October in Central London, and we are proud to announce the first-round of nominations across seven categories, including awards for Business Equality, Public Sector Equality, Third Sector Equality, Community Group of the Year, Business Role Model, Community Role Model and Local Leader.

And for more information on the PinkNews Awards 2022, click here.

PinkNews Awards 2022 nominees

Business Equality

The Business Equality award is dedicated to businesses both large and small that go above and beyond in their support for the LGBTQ+ community – whether that’s through representation, education, inclusion, or any other activity supporting the community. The nominations for Business Equality are:

British public TV network known for its vehemently pro-LGBTQ+ programmes like It’s a Sin and Big Boys.

British mass media and network telecommunications company which notably advocates for pro-LGBTQ+ inclusions in business, such as the inclusion of pronouns in company documents.

US multinational law firm committed to LGBTQ-inclusion in business, with almost 400 members worldwide.

Multinational consumer goods producers known for a wide variety of products across the world, as well as support for nondiscrimination legislation.

Research-based biopharmaceutical company responsible for research and development of antiviral drugs used in the treatment of HIV/AIDS.

Public Sector Equality

Representation in the public sector is paramount to creating a better future for minorities. That’s why the Public Sector Equality award celebrates those exceptional parts of our country’s governmental or other public bodies that are making a change for the better. The nominations for Public Sector Equality are:

NHS Foundation Trust ambulance service serving in the North East of England.

The amphibious arm of the UK’s armed forces dedicated to inclusion and diversity among the marines.

The government’s international development department dedicated to pursuing interests and safeguards for UK citizens.

The Labour-led, metropolitan district council for the unitary authority of Nottingham, England.

A partnership of local councils in South Wales – made up of Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Cardiff, Caerphilly, Merthyr, Newport, RCT, Swansea and Torfaen – aiming to support and advance LGBTQ+ rights in the area.

Third Sector Equality

Non-profits can have some of the most profound effects when it comes to social and economical activism. While some lead the charge for wider societal shifts towards acceptance, others help in ways that are more personal and really count. The nominations for Third Sector Equality are:

A social work charity whose mission is to create social change for children who do not have a safe or stable home.

An independent charity in England specialising in emotional support to victims or witnesses of crimes.

A housing association for Greater London, South East, East Anglia and part of the North West developing better places to live through affordable, high-quality homes.

A charitable organisation providing support for people suffering from a terminal illness, as well as those affected by them.

A charity dedicated to helping men and non-binary people who have experienced domestic or sexual violence.

Community Group of the Year

Your community counts, especially in reference to personal well-being. It doesn’t matter how many national, international, and global drives towards a different tomorrow there are, if the safety of the soil on your front doorstep isn’t up to snuff, then something needs to change. These organisations and groups strive to make their own patch a better place. The nominations for Community Group of the Year are:

A group working with schools across the UK to help support and empower young LGBTQ+ people.

A rugby union team based in Leeds dedicated to the inclusion of LGBTQ+ people in sport.

An LGBTQ+ emotional support helpline in the UK that provides a lifeline and supportive ear for struggling queer people.

A health organisation located in Belfast that aims to improve the physical, mental and emotional well-being of LGBTQ+ people.

A mutual aid organisation for transgender, non-binary and intersex people in Wales.

Business Role Model

The Business Role Model award emphasises the tireless efforts of experts and workers to break the mould and change how corporations treat LGBTQ+ employees. These purveyors of progressive political thinking are some of the leaders in their field. The nominations for the Business Role Model award are:

Award-winning CEO and founder of The Inclusion Imperative.

  • Melanie Woolfenden

Senior consultant at Inoapps and co-chair of the Shine LGBT+ network, which helped Fujitsu climb 66 places on Stonewall’s Top 100 employers list.

  • Tom Wilkins

Customer ambassador and staff network co-chair at Great Western Railway.

  • Mike Hill

Surgeon lieutenant commander for the Royal Navy who works as part of armed forces charity Fighting with Pride.

Leading national expert in local government, public and administrative law and a contract lawyer, as well as the Chair of Trustees at Stonewall Housing.

Community Role Model

While the figureheads leading the equality-driven charge at the top are certainly worth writing home about, the Community Role Model award is for those unsung heroes who aim to tackle the roots of a certain issue. Whether it’s through on the ground political activism or advocating for a societal shift in their respective fields, these industry professionals are worth awarding. The nominations for the Community Role Model award are:

  • Liz Kippax

A volunteer at LGBTQ+ youth homelessness charity akt who has been welcoming vulnerable young people into her home since February 2017.

  • Gurchaten Sandhu

Director of programmes at ILGA WORLD, an association to support LGBTQ+ people and rights internationally.

  • Ramses Oliva

Transgender inclusion specialist and ambassador for LGBTQ+ young people’s group Just Like Us.

  • Tate Smith

Legal secretary and passionate trans activist advocating for trans inclusion in the charity sector, education, recruitment, law and banking, among others.

  • Vaughan King

Passionate volunteer and advocate for LGBTQ+ inclusion, having spearheaded numerous diversity initiatives in his previous role as AV Manager at Hearts & Science.

Local Leader

The Local Leader award is for members of the public that are exactly that. They have done extraordinary work in a regional area or niche field that makes all the difference for future generations to come. The nominations for the Local Leader award are:

  • Yvonne Owino-Wamari

Africa program officer for OutRight Action International who advocates for the end of so-called conversion therapy in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.

  • Sab Samuel AKA Aida H Dee

Runs Drag Queen Story Hour UK  and uses his platform and alter-ego Aida to speak on important and otherwise disregarded issues, such as the intersection of autism, gender identity and queerness.

  • Lianna Newman

Non-binary software engineer at Booz Allen Hamilton who works tirelessly to improve the lives of other Black LGBTQ+ people in the tech industry.

  • Berkeley Wilde

Director and founder of the Diversity Trust which aims to improve corporate treatment and understanding of LGBTQ+ rights.

  • Alex Feis-Bryce

CEO of Transform Drug Policy Foundation, looking to make safer drug policies a reality, and former CEO of SurvivorsUK.