The Pink List opens doors and minds

Elly Barnes, who topped last year's list, is on this year's panel of judges

Related Topics

Being awarded the No 1 spot on last year's Pink List was a massive shock and overwhelming on every level. It not only gave me the confidence I needed to take the Educate and Celebrate initiative forward nationally; it was also the wake-up call to move to be a full-time LGBT advocate. I will be for ever thankful to all who voted and to the judges.

The phone call in 2011 from The Independent on Sunday said that I was on the list and asked for a photo and a few words. It wasn't until the next day that another call told me I was top of The Pink List, and to expect a car to take me to the BBC, as I would be on the news. What a breath of fresh air that was, a chance to promote LGBT inclusivity in schools and get the word "lesbian" in as many times as possible.

I had no concept of how my work was reaching and affecting so many people. To have this recognised nationally was an eye-opener and took me a long time to digest. I've had the opportunity to write articles, be interviewed in newspapers and magazines and speak at numerous events. I am now an LGBT schools adviser in London and Birmingham and freelance with my teacher training course on how to make your school LGBT friendly. I advise and support leadership teams, train teachers, co-ordinate conferences, showcase students' LGBT work from the entire curriculum at all key stages and continue to campaign for LGBT equality.

The key points to creating an enlightened environment are to eradicate homophobic language by setting sanctions; to give students facts about LGBT people and definitions of the words lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender; and to implement an inclusive LGBT curriculum in all subject areas to make LGBT people visible – just as The Pink List does.

These things can happen only if we empower our teachers through statutory training. We can instil confidence by providing the legal back-up to support an inclusive curriculum. One teacher alone cannot do this; it has to be a whole-school approach. When students know that staff will follow up incidents, they are empowered to report bullying.

Creating an LGBT-friendly environment comes down to what we are teaching our young people in classrooms. If we are not being inclusive then we are not representing all of our learners. Therefore, to make a range of diverse people visible in the curriculum is an effective and successful strategy that counteracts bullying. Examples of projects are: Alan Turing in maths/ICT; James Baldwin in humanities, Frida Kahlo and Grayson Perry in art; Carol Ann Duffy in English. LGBT people can be black, white, disabled, have religious beliefs, are from different cultures, are queer and intersex. I am incredibly proud to be one of the eclectic mix of judges this year. My aim is to see this level of diversity reflected in our future Pink Lists, to signify our true LGBT community. This year, powerful and mighty Nicola Adams, a true role model in every sense, tops the list. What a woman!

The years of developing resources, working with numerous agencies to find the most effective ways to eradicate homophobia have been worth every second to know that we are saving young people's lives and creating cohesive and safe communities. The high profile of The Pink List has increased my ability to make positive changes in education in the two biggest cities in the UK and beyond: a direct result of being voted No 1!

For more information about Educate and Celebrate courses go to: For inclusive LGBT lesson plans and resources visit:

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

SThree: Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Do you want to get in...

Ashdown Group: Project Manager - Birmingham - up to £40,000 - 12 month FTC

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Manager - Birmingham - ...

Day In a Page

Read Next

Birth can be a dangerous business – even in the UK

Jane Merrick
Ed Miliband addresses an audience in the Brooks Building of Manchester Metropolitan University on April 21, 2015  

If socialism means building homes and getting the rich to pay their taxes, then bring on Red Ed

Kiran Moodley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before