Stonewall 100: University chaplain named gay role model of the year

Ray Vincent Image copyright University of South Wales
Image caption Ray Vincent says he wants to "help people to be who they are"

A university chaplain has thanked other Christians for "loving me just as I am" after being named Stonewall's gay role model of the year.

Ray Vincent, associate chaplain at the University of South Wales, received the award for championing LGBT equality within the workplace.

Twelve Welsh employers made it into the charity's list of the UK's Top 100 LGBT inclusive employers.

The National Assembly for Wales was fifth overall and first in Wales.

It was followed by Lloyds Banking Group which came seventh and the Welsh Government which came eighth.

International law firm Pinsent Masons was named the most inclusive employer in the UK.

Mr Vincent said he felt "challenged to be more visible and to work harder to encourage and help people to be who they are".

Image copyright PA
Image caption The National Assembly for Wales is the fifth most inclusive employer in the UK, according to Stonewall

He added: "As a Christian minister, I am very much aware of the pain caused to LGBT people by the attitude of many people in the churches - I have felt it keenly myself, and I deeply regret that this is still the experience of many today.

"But the Christian community is very diverse, and I am thankful for all those Christians who have supported me and who go on loving me just as I am."

The 12 Welsh LGBT-inclusive employers featured in the top 100:

  • National Assembly for Wales (5)
  • Lloyds Banking Group (7)
  • Welsh Government (8)
  • Cardiff University (11)
  • Intellectual Property Office (13)
  • Victim Support (27)
  • Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (37)
  • University of South Wales (43)
  • Swansea University (47)
  • Eversheds Sutherland LLP (66)
  • Aberystwyth University (79)
  • Cardiff Metropolitan University (95)

Last year, Stonewall released research that showed 35% of LGBT people had hidden their identity at work and 18% had been the target of negative comments from colleagues because of their identity.

Elin Jones AM, presiding officer of the Welsh assembly, said it was proud to maintain a top five place for the fifth year running.

She said: "Promoting LGBT equality is an important part of who we are and is exemplified throughout the organisation - from our vibrant LGBT staff network, the training, resources and policies we have in place and the celebration of equality which is actively led by senior management."

Andrew White, Stonewall Cymru's director, said: "Stonewall was set up 30 years ago to fight against Section 28 - a vicious law that aimed to ban the 'promotion of homosexuality' in educational settings.

"To now see higher education institutions dominating the Top 100, including five from Wales for the first time, shows not just how far we've come, but gives a real positive message for the future.

"Equality is not just the right thing to do - it makes real business sense and results in a happier, healthier and more productive workforce."

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