“I was completely taken by surprise,” Jacques told us. “I felt a combination of shock and joy. I just did not expect to receive the award. I was honoured to be nominated and to have made the finalists was amazing!”
Inspirational Leader Award winner Steve Jacques is the board director of the National LGBT Federation (NXF) and is known for his work with young people as group CEO of Key Assets Consulting and founding director of Fostering First.
He has also been named in OUTstanding’s leading LGBT+ Executives list three years in a row.
When asked about the inspiration behind his great work, he said, “For me, every LGBT+ person is an inspiration. I don’t mean that glibly but I see a story in each person, usually a story that started in shame but develops into resilience, overcoming and pride.
“I am inspired by those tireless activists who work so hard to improve things for others, and our community is full of such individuals. Ultimately, wanting young people to not have to go through what we, the older generation, had to go through motivates me. The bravery and strength of our trans siblings inspires me too.”
— British LGBT Awards (@BritLGBTAwards) August 27, 2021
Jacques uses his platform to speak out on many issues that face the LGBTQ+ community, but he is particularly vocal about the dangers of conversion therapy.
“It’s an important issue for me because I have direct experience of this,” he tells us.
“I have experienced efforts to change my sexual orientation from exorcism experiences to group and individual therapy, 12-step programmes to residential retreats! The experiences were harmful and can have serious negative consequences on one’s mental health and self-esteem.
“All it does is reinforce shame and encourage repression. Conversion therapy is rooted in belief systems that say that LGBT+ people are disorientated or sick and therefore need curing. It should be banned because it is abusive and serves no positive purpose.”
Jacques’ Inspirational Leader Award was bestowed upon him for his great work with both young people and the queer community. When asked if he had a message he wanted to share with the Irish LGBTQ+ youth, the Inspirational Leader had this to say:
“You are outstanding. You’re a beautiful human being and that you deserve to be happy, to be safe, to be loved and to give love and anyone who tells you differently is lying … Never doubt your potential. Surround yourself with people who affirm you and don’t put you down. Life can be tough and will be tough, but you are stronger than you might think you are!”
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