With all that is going on in the political world at the moment, I am proud to live and run a business in York, a city so full of history, which manages at the same time to be so progressive at it’s heart.
The annual York Pride Parade is set to take place this weekend and our city will make history on Saturday 10 June, as every single one of its state secondary schools is set to take part for the first time in the march from the Minster to the Knavesmire.
According to Pride’s organisers, this is thought to be the first time anywhere in the world that an LGBT Pride event has achieved the full inclusion of all of its local state funded schools, which is an amazing achievement and one that I think we should all be very proud of. It’s a far cry from the days of my youth in the late 80's and early 90's, when ‘Section 28’ of the Local Government Act banned local authorities from promoting homosexuality or gay lifestyles at all in schools and funding of educational materials and projects of this kind was strictly forbidden.
It demonstrates such great progress that now across York, secondary schools have adopted policies firmly aimed at tackling LGBT-phobia and are openly supporting the celebration of diversity and inclusion. Schools and education in general play such a vital role in influencing the attitudes of young people about their own sexuality and their views and opinions on the sexuality of their peers.
I am passionate about ensuring that Ingenues plays a key role in promoting inspiring female role models across the whole diversity spectrum. We simply don’t celebrate powerful women in society enough in general, but powerful women from the LGBTQIA community feel even further away from our field of vision. It’s great to hear for example, that a sculpture of suffragist Millicent Fawcett, is set to be the first statue of a woman to be unveiled in London’s Parliament Square. But how long will we have to wait to see statues of awesome women from history who would or do identify themselves as part of the LGBTQIA community today, popping up across our major cities?
Women like Nicola Adams OBE, British Professional Boxer and Olympic Gold Medallist, who is an exceptional sporting role model for all. Known affectionately as ‘The Lioness’, this black British woman, born just down the road in Leeds, was named the most influential LGBT person in Britain by the Independent newspaper, after becoming the first openly LGBT person to win Gold at the London Olympics in 2012. She went on to be recognised in the New Year’s Honours List.
In April this year, the Yorkshire Evening Post named Nicola as one of a host of high achieving women that their readers would most like to see honoured with a statue in Leeds City Centre. Local politicians and council members have rallied in support of this and sponsors and funding for the project are being sought. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Nicola Adams was finally selected as the subject for such an important work of art? I will certainly be keeping a close eye on the outcome.
In the meantime, to mark this year’s York Pride, I am starting a list of amazing LGBTQIA women that I could look to include in future Ingenues collections. Nicola Adams is already firmly on my list, but who else would you like to see included? Please let me have your thoughts and ideas via email to firstname.lastname@example.org - I would love to hear from you.