Proud and Humbled But Totally Amazing – Sparkle The LGBT Foundation Heroes

I have finally caught up on sleep after a world-wind few days – I feel like a teenager after getting up after 12pm this Saturday morning after 16 hours of sleep… let me take you back as it actually started out last weekend in Birmingham when I went to the LGBT Consortium Conference for two days (that was an amazing event). But in-between then and now I’ve had 3 job interviews, visited the dentist, had a Sparkle Community meeting, seen some amazing comedy, had my face plucked and pulled, had a voice coaching session, a trip to the job centre, had three lunch meetings, over 10 ‘coffee meetings’ – and then on Thursday evening attended the LGBT Foundation Heroes Award Event.

Sparkle Awards Jan 2015
SPARKLE – THE NATIONAL TRANSGENDER CHARITY TRUSTEES

The LGBT Foundation Heroes awards are really amazing – not least because Sparkle (the charity I am chair of and I care so much about), Via (a fellow trustee’s venue and massive trans ally) and myself where all nominated for various awards.

I was so proud when Sparkle were announced as the LGBT Foundation’s “Community Group or Organisation of the Year Award”. Along with the other Trustees and our volunteers I worked so hard to ensure this event was bigger, better and brighter – and more inclusive to everyone who identify as trans or non-binary, trans allies, families and friends. The Sparkle Weekend changes lives for trans people and with over 10,000 people visiting the weekend in 2015 – it was the largest free to attend trans event in the world. It was amazing for Sparkle to be recognised with this award by the public.

Carl Austin-Behan and Tony Cooper
CARL AUSTIN-BEHAN AND TONY COOPER

I have a very good friend called Tony Cooper – he is my ultimate “gay hero”. He speaks his mind and fights for what is right. His venue Via was awarded the “LGBT Venue of the Year”. Tony who is also Sparkle Trustee was also recognised for his many, many years of dedicated work for the LGBT community with “Alan Turing Memorial Award”. Tony is also part of the Manchester Pride Community Collective and has plays a major role in ensuring the LGBT communities needs are heard and met.

Beckie Fox and Tony Llyod (Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner and interim Mayor of Greater Manchester)
BECKIE FOX AND TONY LLYOD

I was nominated in “Community Champion of the Year” – I have seriously never won anything in my life.

AND I WON. AMAZING!

It was a proud and humbling experience to simply receive a nomination, but to actually win the award for Community Champion of the Year was simply amazing.

I also need to congratulate all the other winners and nominees – everyone has done something amazing for the LGBT community. A special note should also be given to the other trans people who took home awards – trans people, trans allies and organisations making up over half the awards successes. Truly breathtaking!

I have to remember these awards are voted for by you the public – so thank-you everyone that voted for Sparkle, Via and me! What I find even more amazing is these where votes from the LGBTQI and allies – and trans is such a small part of that.

So after all that excitement this week I shall take a little moment to be very proud of being me and think of all the people who support what I do to make a small difference in this big scary world.

The full list of winners are:

Volunteer of the Year – Jen Yockney

Public Sector Partner of the Year – Police With Pride

Community Group or Organisation of the Year – Sparkle

LGBT Role Model of the Year – Kate O’Donnell

LGBT Venue of the Year – Via

Community Champion of the Year – Beckie Fox

Business of the Year – Serenity Security

Barclays Ally Award – Andrew Rhodes

Alan Turing Memorial Award – Tony Cooper

Outstanding Achievement Award – Martin Wells

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