Gerard Wainwright, FLM at Heatherstones is awarded Stonewall Ally of the Year for the Yorkshire and Humber Region
We are absolutely delighted to share that Stonewall have recognised our colleague Gerard Wainwright as the WINNER of the ‘Ally of the Year’ Award for the Yorkshire and the Humber Region. This is an award which Eleanor (Equality, Diversity and Client Involvement) nominated Gerard for in September of last year, so we are incredibly proud that he has been chosen.
Gerard received his award at a ceremony at the University of Sheffield last month, accompanied by Eleanor and Andrew Mason.
Mark Lambert, Client Account Manager said;
I am writing to share some good news: Gerard Wainwright has won Stonewall’s Ally of the Year Award in Yorkshire & the Humber region! We were particularly impressed by Gerard coordinating St Anne’s attendance at Happy Valley Pride, engaging with clients, families and medical professionals on LGBT inclusion and Gerard’s commitment to the inclusion of LGBT people with disabilities. The planning and delivery of the trip to Shibden Hall and the creation of resources to assist in learning on the day was fantastic. This is really well deserved and a testament to Gerard’s commitment to progressing LGBT equality, diversity and inclusion both at St Anne’s and beyond
Gerard Wainwright said:
I am extremely proud and honoured to have been recognised at the Stonewall Yorkshire & the Humber Regional Awards at Sheffield University on 13th February.
I attended the ceremony with Eleanor Broadbent, Andrew Mason and colleagues from Leeds City Council who were also recognised for their contribution to creating workplace environments where LGBT+ colleagues feel they belong and can flourish and reach their potential.
It was a fantastic opportunity to network as well as listen to a seminar on being black Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) and LGBT+ in the workplace, and reflect on the difficulties that many minority people and groups can still face, and what we can do to challenge this and make positive changes. The seminar highlighted that we all have many different elements to our identities, which for some can lead to facing multiple levels of discrimination. We also heard about using our privilege to support others, which is an important aspect of being an LGBT+ ally.
As winner of the Ally Award I was asked to make a short speech about supporting people with profound and multiple learning disabilities to be part of their local LGBT+ communities. We often hear the phrase that if diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance. But for many people there continue to be barriers to inclusion – they are not being asked to dance! People with profound and multiple learning disabilities are reliant on their family or paid carers to access opportunities and are often invisible in many aspects of life that we may take for granted. We frequently fail to recognise the sexuality of the people we support or assume that they are straight if they’re unable to tell us otherwise. By doing this we can be at risk of not only denying their true identity but also suppressing it.
Being an ally is about standing up for people rights and creating workplaces, and communities where people feel accepted and can be themselves. It’s about challenging homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and racism when we see it amongst our communities. If we want to live in a world where people are accepted without exception, we all need to stand up and be part of the solution.
Read more about being an LGBT+ ally at https://www.stonewall.org.uk/comeoutforLGBT/ally