An amazing thing happened to me last night… I won the Burberry British Diversity Awards 2023 “Boots Hero of the Year Award” for all the stuff I get up to as a gobby trans woman!
My jaw nearly hit the floor when they started reading my bio and I realised that I had won, but I didn’t quite believe it until my name was read out. There was really stiff competition too, as they had over 25,000 entries, so I am both amazed and honoured to have won.
My acceptance speech was deliberately hard-hitting, as it was a great opportunity to highlight how trans people are getting such a kicking in the UK at the moment. I fear it will only get worse on the run-up to the general election as the Conservative Party has already said that they will fight on the subjects of (anti) trans rights and on (anti) immigration. I would like to have said a lot more, but we were all limited to just one minute for our acceptance speeches. It seemed to be well-received though, as lots of people complimented me on my speech afterwards. That was a relief, as I had drunk quite a lot of wine by the time the awards were announced – oops!
I was so pleased that my great friend, Karen Packwood was with me to share the moment, as she has given me so much help and support all the way through my transition. I really couldn’t have done it without her.
The glittering event was founded by the incredible Linda Riley and it was held at the very glamorous Grosvenor House in London, attended by over 1,000 people. It was expertly hosted by TV presenters June Sarpong MBE and Dr Ranj Singh and we were treated to a keynote speech by Dawn Butler MP and stunning performance by Emeli Sande MBE, accompanied by her vey talented pianist.
A whole host of celebrities were in attendance, including Claire Sweeney, Alison Hammond, Sinitta, Paloma Faith, Sally Lindsay, Dame Kelly Holmes and very many more. It was great to have a chat with Kelly as she has been on quite a journey from previously being outspoken about excluding trans women in sport (due to a lack of education on the subject) to a point of inclusion now. I applaud her for being open to being educated about the subject, for listening and then publicly changing her view on it.
I am hoping that winning this prestigious award will help me to spread my message of trans-inclusion further and to show that trans people are just ordinary people who want to be happy. I am feeling shocked, honoured and grateful at the moment, as well as more than a little hungover!
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