Our commitment to LGBTQ+ inclusion and support

Ruth Coustick-Deal

External Affairs Lead

28th June 2022



Image description: Adé Adeniji and Sonny Thaker from the Quest CIC sit together smiling, looking at an iPad screen. They are wearing t-shirts, glasses and Sonny wears a necklace and a rainbow stud earring. 

A core part of our strategy is to lead with thought and action to break down the barriers that social entrepreneurs face. Alongside social entrepreneurs we are working hard and speaking out to make the sector more equitable. In 2020 we made a public commitment - “We want UnLtd to be actively anti-oppression, and inclusive for all, in everything we do”, and we have continued to grow, learn and act on this promise since then.

Recently we have witnessed organisations and events within the social sector, dropping the T&Q (Trans and Queer) from LGBTQ+. Sadly, this is part of a bigger trend in the UK of rolling back and resisting trans rights, alongside frequent transphobic content in the media. In the UK transphobic hate crime reports have been rising every year for the past five years. The Government's' LGBT conference was recently cancelled, due to more than eighty groups pulling out in response to reverting on their promise for a trans-inclusive ban on conversion therapy.

We want to make it clear that at UnLtd that when we support LGBTQ+ organisations, we welcome and support trans people, non-binary, gender diverse, genderqueer and gender questioning people. When we support organisations focusing on women’s issues and rights, we include trans women. When we support organisations focusing on men’s issues, we include trans men. We are committed to using an intersectional lens on social issues, and our own learning.

Our approach to backing social entrepreneurs has always been about more than the financial grant-making and investment: we believe in a personal approach which includes coaching, mentoring, campaigning and business training. We build long lasting relationships with those we’ve funded.

If you are an aspiring or current LGBTQ+ social entrepreneur, we are committed to ensuring that you receive gender and sexuality affirming high-quality support in all the interactions you have with our staff, creating the space for you to be your authentic self. 

We understand how important those connections and interactions with our team and mentors are to help make your vision of social change a reality.

Pride month particularly is a time of celebration and recognition and support. So, we’d like to use this opportunity to celebrate some incredible people and organisations we’ve had the privilege of working with over the years:

  • Learnest CIC, founded by Louie Stafford, is a trans-led social enterprise creating jobs and opportunities that celebrate the talents of the LGBTQI+ community, while tackling discrimination in the workplace. Learnest employ LGBTQ+ talent to deliver a range of commercial services including equalities training, design and consultancy work. Income from these services enables the venture to offer mentoring, workshops and peer support to LGBTQ+ communities across the UK.
  • Kathryn Pierce, Founder/Co-Director of Somewhere EDI CIC provides a platform for positive LGBTQ+ culture, learning and activism. The venture’s quarterly magazine, Somewhere: For Us, co-founded in 2020 with Somewhere co-Director Thomas Anderson-Thatcher, showcases Scottish queer arts, culture, heritage and enterprise.
  • The Quest, founded by Darren Brady and Ade Adeniji, is on a mission to help gay, bisexual and Queer men to be their authentic selves and live their best lives. Since 2020 they have organised the Quest Mosaic gatherings - where Black, Asian and other Racialised Minority gay, bi and Queer men are invited to connect, share experiences and build community.
  • Broken Spoke Bike Co-op offers cycle and mechanics training, information and support for people who cycle (or really want to!). They run mechanics sessions specifically for women, trans and non-binary people, and have recently launched a training pathway to enable women, trans and gender variant folk to become qualified bicycle mechanics.  
  • It’s All About Me, founded by photographer and trans inclusion activist Fiona Wood, uses film, photography and art to drive positive change in North Staffordshire. The venture supports local young people to talk about issues that are affecting them and their ideas for change through creative forms of communication.  Fiona is also part of the Camerados movement and opened up Potteries Camerados in Stoke-on-Trent, which creates and curates public ‘living rooms’ to support mental health.
  • Tony Ereira founded Come Play With Me CIC - a music development social venture specialising in supporting people from marginalised communities. This includes a series of activities to develop and support a group of gender minority and LGBTQIA+ musicians and promoters, Trans and LGBTQIA+ Inclusion training, alongside the venture’s podcast Connected Sounds: a series of informal conversations with Queer musicians; episodes explore the intersectionality of Queer identity, covering topics such as gender, race, class, mental health, climate change and more.
  • Little Living Room is a women and Queer-led social enterprise founded in 2020 by artist Rebecca Gallacher. The venture is dedicated to supporting career growth and independence for those facing obstacles in pursuing creative careers. Little Living Room’s creative collective and publishing house are platforms for artists in Scotland and beyond to grow their practices, develop their skills, and gain financial independence.

If you would like to learn more about what you can do to stand up for LGBTQ+ rights, there’s some really simple actions we can all make for a better world:

  • Don’t make assumptions about people’s gender or sexuality.
  • Use the pronouns they ask you to use.
  • Don’t impose expectations of how someone should present themselves based on their gender or sexuality.
  • Recognise the complexity of the world, and learn about the history of the continued struggle for LGBTQ+ rights

We encourage you to check out the social ventures linked to above. And we also recommend other work that can provide more information, support and advice on this topic:

Hide this Message

To provide you with the best browsing experience, this site uses cookies. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.