The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work done in their own communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the anniversary of The Queen's coronation. It is the MBE for volunteer groups.
This award is a testament to the years of hard work put in by every single person who has volunteered to support Link: from all those who have been committee members, to those who have supported our events. Whether you have given your valuable time to speak, or welcome and register attendees as they enter, we couldn’t do what we do without you. Thank you!
Whether you are a member of the LGBT+ community or an ally, advocate, family member or friend, together we are changing the culture of the insurance industry. Bit by bit, as we become more visible and confident, we run events that educate and make us think, share our experience and support each other; we normalise the LGBT+ community. The more visible role models that we have throughout our organisations, the easier it is for new talent to recognise that they are in an inclusive organisation, where their unique talents, perspectives and experiences will be valued.
2019 is a milestone year for our community: 50 years ago, in the early hours of 28 Jun 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighbourhood of Manhattan, New York City, a spontaneous demonstration took place. The Stonewall Riots were a reaction against sustained police raids. They are widely considered to constitute the most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBT rights.
Twenty years later, on 24 May 1989, Stonewall (UK) was formed in response to Section 28 of the Local Government Act. It stated that a local authority "shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality" or "promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship". It was not repealed until 2003.
Today, as much as we see progress, with many countries continuing to recognise same sex marriage, we have also seen backward steps, from the application of Sharia law in Brunei to the slow erosion of LGBT rights in the USA.
So when people ask if there is still a need for organisations such as the LGBT Insurance Network, we should remember that not only is there still work to be done in the UK, but also with our colleagues based across the world. We can only achieve this with the continued support of volunteers. So let’s revel in this award and let it inspire us to keep pushing the envelope of “acceptance without exception” (tagline borrowed from Stonewall).