Judge Rinder: We need more recognition for those who champion diversity
He was speaking at the Attitude Pride Awards.
TV judge Robert Rinder has called for more celebration of those who champion diversity.
The former Strictly Come Dancing star made the remarks as he attended the Attitude Pride Awards in central London on Friday to present a trophy to Bernard and Terry Reed, who founded the Gender Identity Research Education Society in support of their trans daughter who experienced mental health issues due to gender discrimination and bullying.
He said: “It’s always urgent to celebrate people like this who step out of the box to champion diversity, especially those who do it against a difficult backdrop and have to be very brave to make changes.
“If you live in a city you can become complacent about LGBT issues, but there are still huge swathes of our country and around the world that have the veneer of being forward-thinking, but still young people face prejudice every day.
“Lots of award ceremonies give prizes to people who really don’t need shots in the arm or pats on the back – if you’re on telly you’re perfectly well paid and don’t need an award – but this is to celebrate people who go out into their communities to really improve the lives of others who are minorities and subjugated. Those are the real game-changers.”
The ceremony at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Knightsbridge was also a particularly emotional event for Bloc Party frontman Kele Okereke, who presented an award to African Rainbow Family founder Aderonke Apata.
Apata has campaigned relentlessly for equal asylum seeker rights since her life-saving move from Nigeria to the UK, a journey which at one point saw her forced to provide authorities with video proof that she was a lesbian.
“I feel really honoured to be here,” he said.
“But this touches me personally because my parents come from the same place, so the struggles Aderonke has gone through have resonated with me.
“It makes me emotional and slightly sad that people are still dealing with prejudice every day.
“Being gay in the UK you are sheltered from certain realities, that in some parts of the world it is a matter of life and death.
“We have a responsibility to look out for our gay brothers and sisters around the world and as a community we could be doing more.”