Hart Gables celebrate diversity ensuring the Tees Valley is a place where LGBT+ members of society feel valued, have equal rights and are empowered to reach their optimum potential.

On the 26th of March, Hart Gables will be announcing the winners of six awards to celebrate the hard work and achievements over the past year for the LGBT community. Presented by the charity and community representatives, the awards will be revealed on social media platforms including Twitter, Instagram and Facebook from 18:15 until 20:00.

The awards are for continuous commitment to tackling hate crime, creating LGBT inclusion and accessibility in the workplace, providing a safer learning environment for LGBT students and staff, positive impact on LGBT health, positive impact on underrepresented people within the LGBT communities and local authority commitment to LGBT communities.

We spoke with Sarah Lewis from Hart Gables about the importance of the awards. “There is some fantastic work being delivered in the Teesside area that recognises the importance of LGBT+ inclusion being embedded into organisations and workforces. The LGBT Alliance Awards celebrates that work and the achievements of local services and individuals – the aim of the event is to bring communities together and recognise those who are making a difference.

When a person’s sexuality or gender identity is validated with kindness and acceptance by someone else, it can be the reason someone goes home from school or work with a smile on their face. Imagine what could happen if LGBT+ inclusion was standardised into more workspaces? A bit of understanding can go a long way in combatting many things, including poor mental health.”

Recently rebranded in 2005, Hart Gables are a local Teesside support service that works to ensure all LGBT+ individuals are supported for their needs and provided with equal life opportunities. By working with the local community and organisations, Sarah says, “the finalists have gone above and beyond to encourage and implement an inclusive and accessible environment for LGBT+ people whatever their setting.

From schools and universities to local authorities and larger corporations, we really should be proud of our area and the work that’s been delivered to create progressive and safer working environments.”

Like everywhere, COVID-19 has affected the LGBT Alliance Awards. Originally, the awards were due to take place in April 2020 at the Crypt in Middlesbrough. However, this was pushed back and is now being delivered virtually.

Despite this, the support service has plans for the future post-COVID-19, Sarah explains, “we are working on a project funded by Children in Need that supports young LGBT+ people on their journey to better mental health.

With Transgender Day of Visibility taking place on the 31st of March, we will be showcasing the work of the LGBT Tees Valley Forum on our social media platforms with a focus on combating the spread of misinformation and putting a halt to common myths and scaremongering tactics aimed at trans+ people and communities.”

For more information on Hart Gables and the LGBT Alliance Awards, find their website or social media.

Photo credit – Hart Gables

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