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The LGBTQ North East awards are organised by Rainbow Foundation Sunderland, a charitable project supporting LGBTQ life in Wearside.

The LGBTQ North East Awards annual event was held last week (Thursday 16th May) and celebrated the contributions made by organisations, individuals and community groups to the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, trans, and queer community across the region.

The event was held at The New Sundial in South Shields, which North Star Equality & Diversity team attended as we were one of the six finalists in the category for Inspirational Workplace award for continued efforts to make their workplaces inclusive.

The event was very vibrant and colourful with plenty of fun individuals. Unfortunately, North Star just missed out on the awards but we were up against some tough finalists including Gentoo, Tyne & Wear Fire & Rescue, Barclays, Sunderland Council and Northumbrian Water.

Left, ceremony host, Joni Valadares, Centre, Tess Tickle, Right, Chair of Sunderland LGBT Equality Forum, Shelley Izaks.

Other awards and finalists are listed below:

Inclusive Arts & Media Award

Highly Commended – Pride Radio

Winner – Curious Arts

Creating Safer Learning Spaces Award

Highly Commended – Alphabetti Theatre

Winner – Benfield School, Newcastle

Charity & Community Initiative

Highly Commended – Northumberland Pride

Winner – Hidayah

Outstanding Contribution to LGBTQ Life Award

Highly Commended – Tess Tickle

Winner – Drew Dalton

Ally of the Year Award

Highly Commended – Lucy Malarkey

Winner – Jay Anderson

Inspirational Workplace Award

Highly Commended – Gentoo

Winner – Tyne & Wear Fire & Rescue

Louise Evan-Wong, a lesbian activist in the region, and Gary Short, best-known for his drag alter-ego also received awards on the evening in the form of a Special Recognition award and a Lifetime Achievement award for Gary.

On behalf of the Equality and Diversity group, we would just like to thank everyone for your hard work and ask everyone to keep it up as we would like to be winners next year.

North East Drag Artist, Tess Tickle