We are delighted to announce the launch of the inaugural LGBTQ+ Defence Awards: a brand new, flagship celebration of LGBTQ+ contributions to the UK defence ecosystem.
Visibility of LGBTQ+ role models across Defence is vital to empowering more LGBTQ+ people to feel safe, comfortable and supported in the sector, and able to completely be themselves among their colleagues. People who feel they can embrace their employer’s culture and values, and be accepted for who they are, are more likely to thrive in the workplace.
However, when 70% of LGBTQ+ professionals say they have no LGBTQ+ role models to look up to at work, clearly there is more work to be done. That’s where the LGBTQ+ Defence Awards come in – a high-profile, inspiring platform for uncovering and showcasing the achievements, success and innovation of LGBTQ+ professionals across the sector.
YOU CAN’T BE WHAT YOU CAN’T SEE
In our mission to increasing visibility of LGBTQ+ role models in UK Defence, the LGBTQ+ Defence Awards will go beyond recognising those that vocally trailblaze for the LGBTQ+ community, celebrating achievers who simply through feeling able to be open about who they are at work have maximised their value to their employer and UK Defence as a whole.
The LGBTQ+ Defence Awards will advance progress in this crucial area by promoting the fact that LGBTQ+ inclusive workplaces are not just right for equality, but imperative for Defence organisations to thrive in the future. LGBTQ+ inclusivity attracts and retains better talent and produces greater results for companies and our Armed Forces. We hope you join us as we launch this unique Awards programme in 2023.
BBC news anchor
In April 2023 Jane became one of the seven permanent anchors who present the BBC News at One, Six and Ten, making her the UK’s first out lesbian newsreader. When not in the newsroom you’ll find her in a theatre, cinema, art gallery or out running. She’s a big supporter of Park Run, both as a runner and a volunteer, having tried the sport as a new challenge after breast cancer treatment five years ago. She lives in London with her wife Sara and their border collie. She’s featured many times on the annual Pride Power List and Diva Power List, and is proud to support a number of charities in the fields of Diversity & Inclusion and health. She has a particularly long association with Parkinson’s UK as there is a history of the disease in her family.
COLONEL DAME KELLY HOLMES
Double Olympic Gold Medalist & Honorary Colonel
Dame Kelly joined the British Army aged 17, serving for nearly 10 years as a qualified HGV driver and Physical Training Instructor and in 1998 she was awarded an MBE in recognition of her services to the armed forces. During a 12-year international career, Kelly won multiple medals at Commonwealth, European, World and Olympic level, culminating in two Gold Medals at the 2004 Athens Olympics Games for the 800m and 1500m, the first British woman to win two gold medals at the same games. Today Kelly is a Global Inspirational Speaker, an award-winning author, as well as championing fitness, wellness and mental health. In 2018 she was appointed Honorary Colonel of the Royal Armoured Corps Training Regiment. In June 2022 Dame Kelly came out publicly as a gay woman, in the emotional and powerful documentary Kelly Holmes: Being Me.
THE RT HON DR ANDREW MURRISON MP
Minister for Defence People, Veterans and Service Families
Andrew served for 18 years as a medical officer in the Royal Navy, leaving in October 2000 as a Surgeon Commander. He was first elected as the Conservative MP for Westbury in 2001. In 2010 he was elected Conservative MP for South West Wiltshire. Andrew was appointed Minister for Defence People, Veterans and Service Families in October 2022, having previously been Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development. In 2011 Andrew was appointed as the Prime Minister’s special representative for the centenary commemoration of the First World War. Andrew remains an active reservist in the Royal Navy. He was recalled to serve in Iraq in 2003, and in 2021 he was mobilised to lead vaccination teams as part of Operation Rescript.
FIGHTING WITH PRIDE
Fighting With Pride is the LGBTQ+ military charity, created on the 20th anniversary of the complete lifting of the ban on LGBTQ+ service. The charity supports LGBTQ+ veterans, serving personnel and their families, particularly those who were affected by the ‘gay ban’ which saw thousands of LGBTQ+ service personnel removed or forced from service and abandoned, after serving with pride. Fighting With Pride is working with veteran supporting organisations to build capacity for LGBTQ+ veteran support, to recognise their service and help resolve challenges they face in their lives beyond military service.
Nominations for the LGBTQ+ Defence Awards 2023 are now CLOSED.
N.B. All of the awards are open to anybody who identifies as LGBTQ+. The exceptions are the Advocate of the Year and Ally of the Year awards, which are also open to anybody who identifies as a straight ally to the LGBTQ+ community, and LGBTQ+ Network or Initiative of the Year which is a company award.
Advocate of the Year
Someone who have gone out of their way to advance LGBTQ+ inclusion in the Armed Forces or wider defence sector, and advocate the overall value of creating an LGBTQ+-friendly culture and work environment. As well as examining the initiatives, campaigns or general efforts by the nominees in this area, the judges will also look at their impact on, and integration with, the business.
Ally of the Year
A straight ally to the LGBTQ+ community who has committed significant effort to advocating, promoting and supporting LGBTQ+ inclusion in the defence sector in the last 18 months. The judges will look at how the applicant has gone about making their company, the Armed Forces and/or the wider defence sector more LGBTQ+-inclusive. The judges will assess each applicant’s commitment to supporting their organisation’s LGBTQ+ workforce and the wider LGBTQ+ community, as well as the overall impact of their efforts.
ARMED FORCES LEADER OF THE YEAR
This award category recognises LGBTQ+ servicemen and women in the British Armed Forces who have gone out of their way to advance LGBTQ+ inclusion in the workplace and advocate the overall value of creating an LGBTQ+-friendly culture and work environment. As well as examining the initiatives, campaigns or general efforts by the nominees in this area, the judges will also look at their impact on, and integration with, the Armed Forces.
GRADUATE or apprentice OF THE YEAR
This category recognises LGBTQ+ professionals who have begun their career in the defence sector in the last three years as either a graduate or apprentice, and are already progressing quickly and demonstrating strong skills and results. The judges will examine each candidate’s accomplishments and progression since starting their career, with a particular emphasis on achievements in the last 18 months.
INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR
This category recognises LGBTQ+ professionals who have demonstrated outstanding innovation or vision that has contributed to their employer’s success or helped to disrupt an organisation, military or defence industry as a whole. This could be innovation on an operational or project level within an organisation or something that has impacted other people or organisations in the form of a new product or idea. Judges will examine how innovative and visionary each individual has been by looking at their achievements and how they’ve changed the way something is done.
INSPIRATION OF THE YEAR
An LGBTQ+ professional who has overcome adversity, discrimination or hostility during their life to achieve success in their professional career or to advance the LGBTQ+ cause in defence. Or, somebody who has inspired others through their commitment, dedication and support, or through exceptional behaviour, talent, conduct or perseverance.
LGBTQ+ NETWORK OR INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR
This category recognises an LGBTQ+ network or employee resource group (ERG), or a specific programme, network or initiative designed to advance LGBTQ+ inclusion in the workplace. If it is an initiative, it could be one designed to support members of the Armed Forces specifically, or a broader D&I initiative in which the Armed Forces community or wider defence sector is one beneficiary. The judges will assess the overall impact of the network or initiative.
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVER OF THE YEAR
This category recognises an outstanding achievement (or achievements) in the last 18 months from an LGBTQ+ professional in the Armed Forces or wider defence sector. This could be somebody who has demonstrated outstanding results in the Armed Forces, commercial success, transformed an organisation or culture, significantly improved the way an organisation is run, achieved something outstanding for the LGBTQ+ community, or inspired others to achieve.
lgbtq+ Trailblazer of the Year
This award category recognises people who have trailblazed for the LGBTQ+ community in defence, sought to create a culture that actively supports LGBTQ+ people and fought to advance the overall LGBTQ+ cause within defence environments. As well as examining the activities, campaigns, programmes or general communications initiated and advanced by the nominees, the judges will also look at the overall impact of their efforts.
Rising Star of the Year
This category recognises LGBTQ+ professionals in the Armed Forces or wider defence industry who began their career in the last six years and have already progressed quickly through an organisation or the wider industry, demonstrating strong results and leadership. The judges will examine each candidate’s accomplishments and progression with a particular emphasis on achievements in the last 18 months.
Role Model of the Year
This category recognises LGBTQ+ professionals who have been strong, visible and effective role models to other LGBTQ+ people in their organisation and the wider defence industry. The judges will examine not only their general commitment to being an LGBTQ+ role model in their workplace, but also specific examples of how they’ve acted as a role model or mentor, and the impact on others of doing so.
Dress code: Fabulously formal / military dress (with miniature medals)
Welcome & guest speakers