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WorkPride Panel: LGBTQ+ support - What is out there and how can you access it?

As the threat and concern for the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many LGBTQ+ people are understandably concerned about how this virus may affect the communities, namely in terms of housing and employment. 

As the LGBTQ+ community is statistically at a higher risk of depression, stress and anxiety in comparison to its straight counterpart, support is more important than ever during the global pandemic. This panel will welcome a few support centres and charities sharing the work they are doing to help the LGBTQ+ community in this global pandemic.  

In Partnership With


  • Aritha Wickramasinghe
    Aritha Wickramasinghe
    Lawyer, policy expert, human rights activist.
    I am an international banking and real estate finance solicitor with substantial experience in providing premium advice and assistance on some of the largest international transactions in the market. I have always been a champion of diversity and equality in the workplace and lead and support a number of diversity and social mobility initiatives in the UK and Globally. I believe that people perform their best when they are free to be themselves. In order to encourage personal development and productivity growth, we need to create environments at work and elsewhere which encourages individuality and discourages prejudice. I believe in giving back to the community. I have initiated and contribute towards a variety of pro bono work across the world. I am a founding director of iProbono's Justice Programme, an organisation that connects civil society with pro bono legal help across the world and I am a founding trustee of THINK EQUAL - a new UN Human Rights Office endorsed education initiative that is working with countries to introduce a new subject into schools teaching children social and emotional intelligence. Over the next several years, I wish to continue my legal development. I want to develop a sound and niche knowledge of financial transactions with a projects and real estate focus while seeking exposure to emerging and frontier markets. Pro bono and diversity will remain a passion and I intend on continuing the development of my pro bono and diversity portfolio. Specialties: Finance, Real Estate Finance, Diversity networks, Pro bono iniatives, Human Rights and Public Policy
  • M
    Chloë Davies
    Chloë Davies
    Global LGBTQ+ Inclusion & Belonging Consultant
    Chloe Davies is a proud bisexual woman, mother of two, a creative, global inclusion & belonging consultant, chef and entrepreneur. Her work sees her campaigning for inclusion and equality in social spaces, corporate organisations and the wider community. She spent over 15 years working in retail, artist management and PR before starting her own catering company in 2015. Chloe’s most recent role was Head of Training & Engagement (Public & Community) for Mygwork - The global recruitment and networking hub for LGBT+ students, graduates, professionals and organisations who believe in true workplace equality. Overseeing the necessary internal and external conversations surrounding LGBT+ inclusion, training and external consultation. Chloe volunteers with UK Black Pride (UKBP) as the Head of Finance & Governance, working closely with the Executive Director and the Board of Trustees to help shape the future of UK Black Pride. She is the Community Lead for the London Queer Fashion Show - An annual showcase of fashion, identity, and expression, a Trustee for the London LGBTQ+ Community Centre and an Ambassador for Mental Health First Aid England. She describes herself as a mental health survivor, openly discussing her own journey with depression and mental health and advocates on usualising these conversations both in and outside of the workplace. In all of her work, which takes Chloe around the globe, she aims to further connect those within the community while educating allies to continue disrupting and push for increased visibility, understanding and appreciation of the communities she works to serve.
  • M
    Bawonga Richard
    Bawonga Richard
    Executive Director
    Pride For Youth Initiative
    Bawonga Richard is a highly adaptive, motivated, and results-oriented professional with hands-on experience in the NGOs sector and management interests. Bawonga Richard is a Transgender female sex worker, passionate feminist, and human rights champion for Trans Youth sex workers, Adolescent Girls, and Young Women at high risks and currently the Executive Director of Pride For Youth Initiative (PFYI). PFYI is a grassroots Trans Youth sex workers (TSWs) led organization. The organization was established to promote meaningful involvement and collective organizing of rural and peri-urban based Trans Youth sex workers, sex workers using drugs, their groups, and AGYW at high risk living in high burden areas such as slums, landing sites, transit routes, and border areas to strengthen a unified, vibrant, national, and sustainable TSW led movement in Uganda to strengthen a unified, vibrant, national, and sustainable TSW led the movement in Uganda. Bawonga’s focus is on challenging Trans Youth sex work criminalization of all forms, stigma and discrimination, integration of HIV & Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights in Trans Youth sex workers public health programming, including GBV, preventive biomedical innovations, post-abortion care services in Uganda. Before PFYI, Bawonga was a founding member of the Kuchu Shiners Uganda (KSU) and is also an award winner in recognition of her remarkable contribution in the founding and grounding of the Human Rights Awareness & Promotion Forum 20018-2020. Am I a leader pushing for the mainstreaming of sex work issues, with over 4 years of experience working on human rights with Trans women and female sex workers & other marginalized populations in Uganda?
  • Dane Buckley
    Dane Buckley
    Support Services Manager
    Rainbow Migration
    I am the Support Service Manager for Rainbow Migration (formerly UKLGIG). I lead on growing, developing and delivering services offering practical and emotional support to LGBTQI+ people seeking asylum. Our service includes emotional support, support groups, advocacy, legal referrals, support with housing, access to health and help navigating the asylum system. I previously worked for the Leaving Care Team at Medway Social Services and before that was the Wellbeing Service Manager for the London Irish Centre, overseeing a service for 200+ vulnerable adults. I have also freelanced for Local Authorities, contributing to parenting capacity assessments on behalf of L.A.C Teams and Child Protection Teams. I am from Harrow and am of Irish and Anglo-Indian heritage.
  • Shaan Knan
    Shaan Knan
    Project Manager
    Shaan Knan is a Diversity Consultant, LGBTQI+ Heritage Manager, Campaigner and Public Speaker based in London (UK). He is the author of 'A Roadmap to Inclusion: Supporting Trans People of Faith'. Download freely:
  • Jaime de Blas Lop
    Jaime de Blas Lop
    Associate Director, Project Delivery
    A nurse by background, I have spent the first 15 years of my career working in clinical research first based in different hospital settings in Spain and the United Kingdom and later in clinical research within clinical operations in China and the United Kingdom and more recently in project delivery. I currently lead a global study managers team within Functional Services Partnerships therapeutic unit of a large Contract Research Organisation (CRO). In 2019 I supported the launch of PPD's LGBT employee resource group "PPD Pride" and continued to support and develop the different opportunities to support our colleagues.
  • Alex Sparrowhawk
    Alex Sparrowhawk
    HIV Prevention England Programme Officer
    UK Community Advisory Board (HIV Treatment Advocates Network)
    Alex joined Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) in 2015, initially working in their Policy team before moving to work on the HIV Prevention England (HPE) national programme between May 2018 and March 2021. Alex leads on the programme’s sector learning and development workstream. Engaging with a variety of stakeholders including, commissioners, public health teams, clinicians, researchers and colleagues from community-based organisations, Alex ensures the HIV sector is kept updated with the latest HIV prevention news. Alex involves stakeholders in national campaigns, including the successful National HIV Testing Week annual event and produces resources for use in health promotion and sexual health outreach. Diagnosed with HIV in November 2009, Alex has always been passionate about people with HIV being meaningfully involved in their treatment and care, as well as the services they access within the HIV sector. In addition to working at THT, Alex Chairs the UK-CAB (HIV treatment advocates network), is a trustee for STOPAIDS, a UK-based a membership network of 70 organisations with a distinguished thirty year history of engagement on international development and HIV and AIDS. Alex is a member of the BASHH (British Association for Sexual Health and HIV) Public Panel, and has been involved in, and contributed to several research studies, writing groups and key conferences focusing on sexual health and HIV.
  • Maria Sjödin
    Maria Sjödin
    Deputy Executive Director
    Maria Sjödin is the Deputy Executive Director of OutRight Action International, based in New York. Maria has over 20 years of experience advocating for LGBTIQ equality. Between 2005-2014 she was Executive Director of RSFL, Sweden’s largest LGBTIQ organization. While in this position Maria established RFSL's international program, played a key role in ensuring that the human rights of LGBTIQ people become ingrained in the Swedish government's agenda for development and foreign affairs, advocated for marriage equality (won in 2009) and the abolishment of forced sterilization of trans people as a requirement for legal gender recognition (outlawed in 2013). Maria has led leadership trainings for over 200 LGBTIQ activists from around the world on topics including strength-based coaching and appreciative inquiry. At OutRight, she leads the development and communications team, where she has diversified and increased the organization's funding, pioneered engagement with international businesses, and provided expert opinions to governments, UN agencies, and corporations.
  • Ruth Burns
    Ruth Burns
    Living Well Services Manager
    Terrence Higgins Trust
    Over 10 years at Terrence Higgins Trust running a variety of services supporting people living with HIV to live well.
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