Trans journalist painfully ‘grabbed’ by security guard at British LGBT Awards condemns event for ‘pinkwashing’

Shivani Dave protested the British LGBT Awards 2023

A trans journalist has denounced the British LGBT Awards for ‘pinkwashing’ after they were “yanked” by a security guard for handing out flyers protesting the event’s sponsorship deals with oil giants Shell and BP.

Shivani Dave, who was nominated for an award last year, told PinkNews they were “grabbed with force” by security at the event on Friday (23 June) while protesting its sponsors. 

The British LGBT Awards 2023 sparked controversy over sponsorship from Shell and BP, with various queer and environmental organisations such as Fossil Free Pride and Queer House Party calling the event out for its choice of partnerships.

Following the backlash, the awards dropped sponsorship deals with Shell and BP after host Sue Perkins and nominees including comedian Joe Lycett, Drag Race UK alumni Divina de Campo and Cheddar Gorgeous, and trans artist and activist Fox Fisher pulled out of the event.

‘I screamed because I was in pain’

Dave, who came out as non-binary while presenting their first show on BBC Radio Wiltshire in 2022, said a security guard came up behind them and yanked from the side.

“It hurt and I screamed because I was in pain. All I wanted was an apology,” they told PinkNews, emphasising that they are only five foot two and a half inches tall.

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Instead, they said the security team “denied anything even happened”, despite witnesses and photographers having seen the incident.

Dave described themselves as “visibly queer and visually trans” as they had their shirt off with top surgery scars on show while protesting outside the event with around 200 activists from various groups on Friday night.

The 27-year-old journalist said: “We might be protesting because we disagree with the sponsors, but at the end of the day we are all part of the same LGBTQ+ community.

“We sort of did fake awards with different drag artist presenting awards to the organisations that are sponsors of the awards and we highlighted exactly what they had done and why that constituted pinkwashing,” Dave continued.

“It was all a bit of fun. We had music and we were dancing. On the flip side, across the road, people queuing up to get into the awards were very stony-faced and it looked quite boring.” 

Dave said protestors called the award attendees over to the party in bid to educate them about the event. 

Flyers handed out by the protestors stated that what should be an evening for “queer celebration, solidarity, and hope has been tarnished by the awards’ choice of sponsorship”. 

In their speech at the event last year, Dave said they made sure to state that the ceremony wouldn’t be possible if people hadn’t of protested for the LGBTQ+ rights that are present today.

“In that way, Pride is always going to be linked to protest. We have to remember that history that we come from.” 

PinkNews has contacted the British LGBT Awards and the security company for comment.

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