LGBTI awards mark ‘historic year’ for gay rights

Scottish Conservative leader and award nominee Ruth Davidson. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Scottish Conservative leader and award nominee Ruth Davidson. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

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THE first Scottish LGBTI Awards will take place in September to mark what organisers have called a “historic year” for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex ­(LGBTI) rights in Scotland.

The Equality Network, Scotland’s national LGBTI equality and human rights charity, has launched the event to recognise and celebrate the campaigners, politicians, public bodies, businesses, community groups and individuals that have made a contribution towards securing greater equality in the past year.

The event – which is to be held in Glasgow’s Grand Central Hotel on Thursday 10 Septem­ber – will be hosted by Scottish comedian Karen Dunbar.

Scotland on Sunday has agreed to be the official media partner for the event and today can reveal the shortlists of those nominated for awards.

Among the most competitive of the categories will be the Politician of the Year award, sponsored by Scotland on Sunday, whose nominees include First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Conservative Party leader Ruth Davidson, Green Party leader Patrick Harvie, Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie, Labour’s Margaret McCulloch, and the SNP’s Alex Neil, who led on Scotland’s same-sex marriage ­legislation.

The ceremony comes on the 35th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1980 and will also mark the first year of equal marriage in Scotland. It is expected to be attended by hundreds of ­LGBTI people and equality supporters from across Scotland, including leading politicians, businesses and celebrities as well as dedicated activists. LGBTI equality supporters, including Pop Idol winner Michelle McManus and the lesbian singer-songwriter Horse McDonald, will provide entertainment on the night.

The Equality Network, which released a report last week revealing that LGBTI people still face widespread prejudice and discrimination in Scotland, said it hopes the event reflects on advances made in recent years while encouraging future equality.

Scotland on Sunday editor Ian Stewart said: “Scotland on Sunday is delighted to be the media partner and to support the work of the Equality ­Network.”

The charity has received hundreds of public nominations for the 15 award categories, some of which will be decided by public vote while others will be decided by an independent judging panel.

The shortlist for Event of the Year will include the Commonwealth Games, whose televised opening ceremony saw actor John Barrowman kiss a male dancer in what was widely seen as sending a message to the 41 Commonwealth countries that still criminalise homosexuality.

The Games will compete for the award alongside Scotland’s two main gay pride events, Pride Glasgow and Pride Edinburgh, and the passing of Scotland’s same-sex marriage legislation.

NOMINEES:

• Event of the Year: The Commonwealth Games; The legalisation of same-sex marriage; LGBT Youth Scotland – The National Youth Summit; Pride Edinburgh; Pride Glasgow; STUC LGBT Workers Conference

• Staff Network of the Year: Balfour Beatty LGBT Network; Barclays Spectrum LGBT Colleague Network; Gay Police Association Scotland Group; RBS Rainbow Network; SWAN LGBT Scottish Workplace Networking; University of Aberdeen Staff LGBT Network Group.

• The Culture Award: Jo Clifford; The Glasgay! Festival; Horse; LGBT History Month Scotland; Loud & Proud Choir; Our Story Scotland

• The Diversity Award: Asifa Siraj; BiCon UK; Dive Queer Party; The Glitch Film Festival; LGBT Health and Wellbeing; LGBT Unity Scotland

• The Sports Award: Auld Reekie Roller Girls; Glasgow Front Runners; LEAP Sports Scotland; LGBT Youth Scotland - TRANSport residential; Saltire Thistle; United Glasgow Football Club

• Venue of the Year; Café Habana, Edinburgh; Cheerz Bar, Aberdeen; The Flying Duck, Glasgow; Mareel, Lerwick; Rusty Nail, Ayr; The Waterloo Bar, Glasgow.

• Outstanding Campaigner: Katherine Burrows; Alex Gardiner; John Naples-Campbell; Alastair Smith; Mridul Wadhwa; Dr Matthew Waites.

See Scotland on Sunday website for nominees for all 15 awards

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