First LGBTI awards mark ‘historic year’ for equality in Scotland

Gary Hart July 26, 2015

Top politicians among those in the Scottish LGBTI Awards’ shortlist.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Patrick Harvie witness the first same sex marriage just after midnight in Glasgow, on December 31, 2014
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Patrick Harvie witness the first same sex marriage just after midnight in Glasgow, on December 31, 2014

The first Scottish LGBTI Awards will take place at Glasgow’s iconic Grand Central Hotel on Thursday, September 10 2015, to mark what organisers are calling an ‘historic year’ for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) rights in Scotland.

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

The inaugural event which will be hosted by one of Scotland’s best-loved comedians, openly-gay Karen Dunbar, comes on the 35th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1980, 20 years after Scotland’s first Pride March and 15 years after the furore over the repeal of Section 28 during the first term of the Scottish Parliament. It will also mark the first year of equal marriage in Scotland, after the country became the 17th in the world to pass same-sex marriage legislation in February last year.

The glittering red-carpet awards ceremony will be attended by 350 LGBTI people and equality supporters from across Scotland, including leading politicians, businesses and celebrities as well as dedicated activists.

Michelle McManus
Michelle McManus

Well-known LGBTI equality supporters including Pop Idol winner Michelle McManus, lesbian singer-songwriter Horse McDonald, and West of Scotland celebrities Robert and May Miller will be among acts providing entertainment on the night.

The Equality Network, who launched a major new report earlier this week revealing that LGBTI people still face widespread prejudice and discrimination in Scotland, say that they hope the event will provide an opportunity to recognise the significant advances made in recent years, while also encouraging further efforts for equality in the future.

To read a copy of the report, click here:

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.

Among the most competitive of the categories will be the prestigious ‘Politician of the Year’ award 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.

Lorraine Kelly
Lorraine Kelly

Queen of daytime TV, Lorraine Kelly, is nominated for the ‘Journalist of the Year’ award in recognition of her efforts to raise awareness of transgender equality through several high-profile interviews with trans activists, and because of her longstanding support for LGBTI equality, including during the equal marriage campaign in Scotland. Speaking this week Lorraine Kelly said she was “very honoured and delighted to be shortlisted for such a prestigious award”. She will be up against former Scotland on Sunday Deputy Editor Kenny Farquharson, a long-standing ally of LGBTI equality, STV’s openly-gay reporter Alan Jenkins, and Katherine O’Donnell, the openly-transgender Night Editor of The Times, among others.

STV News, BBC Reporting Scotland, and charity sector newspaper Third Force News are up for the ‘Media Outlet of the Year’ award alongside LGBTI-specific outlets Kaleidoscot, Scotsgay, and Gaia Magazine.

Public bodies including the Scottish Prison Service, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, the Judicial Institute of Scotland, and the Scottish Government’s One Scotland campaign are among those shortlisted for the ‘Public Body Initiative of the Year’, for their efforts promoting equality. While major organisations including Barclays, RBS, and the Gay Police Association are among those shortlisted for ‘Staff Network of the Year’ for their work advancing equality in the workplace.

John Barrowman
John Barrowman

The shortlist for ‘Event of the Year’ will include the Commonwealth Games, whose televised opening ceremony saw openly gay 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 milestone event that was the passage of Scotland’s same-sex marriage legislation.

The ‘Student Group of the Year’ award shortlist includes three of Scotland’s ancient universities, Glasgow, Edinburgh and St. Andrews, among others, while nominees for the Culture Award will include Scotland’s only LGBTI arts festival, Glasgay!, the LGBTI history project Our Story Scotland, and the respected openly transgender playwright Jo Clifford, who will perform her acclaimed play ‘The Gospel According to Jesus Queen of Heaven’ at this summer’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Recognition will also be given to youth groups, sports groups, venues, community groups, charities, volunteers and dedicated LGBTI campaigners from across the country, from Shetland to Ayr.

Two special awards, chosen by the Equality Network, will also be presented on the night, including a ‘Lifetime Achievement’ award and a ‘Friend for Life’ award which will recognise some of those activists and supporters that have made a particularly significant contribution towards LGBTI equality in Scotland.

The event is being sponsored by UNISON Scotland and Humanist Society Scotland. It will include a celebratory champagne reception, a three-course dinner, entertainment, and a fundraising auction. All money raised will go towards the Equality Network’s campaigns for LGBTI equality.

Scott Cuthbertson
Scott Cuthbertson

 Scott Cuthbertson, Development Coordinator for the Equality Network, said: “This has been an historic year for equality in Scotland and the Scottish LGBTI Awards will provide an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the important advances we have made, and the inspiring work of those that make a positive difference to the lives of LGBTI people. We know that there is still much more to do before LGBTI people will have full equality in their day-to-day lives so we hope that the recognition these awards provide will encourage further progress in the future.”

Karen Dunbar
Karen Dunbar

Karen Dunbar, who will host the awards, added: “I’m chuffed to bits and really looking forward to hosting the first ever Equality Network Scottish LGBTI Awards. It’s vital that we celebrate the people who have made a difference to the lives of LGBTI people here in Scotland, and great that the event will support the work of the Equality Network, Scotland’s National LGBTI Equality Charity!”

To purchase tickets for the event costing £45 (£400 for table of 10): click here:

The Scottish LGBTI Awards – shortlisted nominees:

Politician of the Year

Ruth Davidson MSP

Patrick Harvie MSP

Margaret McCulloch MSP

Alex Neil MSP

Willie Rennie MSP

Nicola Sturgeon MSP

Journalist of the Year

Stuart Duffy

Kenny Farquarson

Alan Jenkins

Lorraine Kelly

Katherine O’Donnell

Jonny Stone

Media Outlet of the Year

BBC Reporting Scotland

Gaia Magazine



STV News

Third Force News

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

Public Body Initiative of the Year

Judicial Institute of Scotland – Development of transgender inclusive training and review of Equal Treatment Bench Book

National Gender Identity Clinical Network for Scotland – foundation of new body to coordinate gender reassignment activity in Scotland

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde – Development of LGBT inclusive new training for GG&C staff

Scottish Government – One Scotland Campaign

Scottish Prison Service – New inclusive policies around transgender prisoners and development of training DVD for Staff

Travel & International Team NHS National Services Scotland – First government funded online resource aimed specifically at keeping LGBT travellers safe abroad.

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

Student Group of the Year

BLOGS (University of Edinburgh)

Dundee & Angus College

Glasgow University LGBTQ+

Saints LGBT (University of St Andrews)

SAUWS LGBT+ Society (University West of Scotland)

Vale of Leven Academy LGBT Committee

The Culture Award

Jo Clifford

The Glasgay! Festival


LGBT History Month Scotland

Loud & Proud Choir

Our Story Scotland

Equality Initiative of the Year

Ayrshire College SU & Ayrshire College – #JoinTheConversation

The Ayrshire LGBT Development Group – Engaging LGBT people across Ayrshire

LGBT Health & Wellbeing – Age Capacity Building Project

LGBT Youth Scotland – The Schools Charter

Scottish Refugee Council & LGBTI Partners – Information campaign for LGBTI Asylum Seekers

Scout Scotland – Working to include LGBT in the Scouts in face of US ban

Community Group of the Year

Ayrshire LGBTQ

Bi & Beyond

Highland LGBT Forum

Grampian T Folk

Shetland LGBT


Youth Group of the Year

Beyond Gender

Fusion LGBT Youth Group Clydebank

The Glitter Cannons & West Lothian LGBT Youth Forum

The LGBT Inclusion Alliance

Open Ayrshire

Sexual Health and Relationships Youth Team SHRYT

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

LGBT Youth Scotland – TRANSport residential

Pride House (Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games)

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 Award

Katherine Burrows

Alex Gardner

John Naples-Campbell

Alastair Smith

Mridul Wadhwa

Dr Matthew Waites

Lifetime Achievement Award


Friend for Life