LGBTQ RightsPoliticsSports

Trans activist and rugby player Verity Smith nominated for National Diversity Award

Trans rugby player and Sports Inclusion Officer for Mermaids Charity in the United Kingdom, Verity Smith, is being nominated for the Positive Role Model Award (LGBT) at Britain’s National Diversity Awards 2021.

For 26 years, Verity Smith played on both union and League female rugby teams in the United Kingdom. After enduring much discrimination and hate during his transition, Verity was outed as trans. 

Before he was able to transition to playing on a men’s rugby team, Verity suffered an unfortunate injury from a transphobic attack on the field. Now, he has found a few new calling, not only as a Wheelchair Rugby player, but also as an LGBTQ activist. 

Recently, Verity made an appearance on Steph’s Packed Lunch to discuss Caitlyn Jenner’s recent comments in which she states that she opposes transgender girls competing in female sports at school. Verity appeared on the show to discuss his belief that there should be no discrimination when it comes to sports alongside transgender newscaster and reality TV personality, India Willoughby, who supports Caitlyn Jenner’s statements.  

Verity Smith as a guest on Steph’s Packed Lunch

In response to his nomination, Verity Smith stated: “It is a great privilege to be nominated for the Diversity Awards role model LGBT, to give trans and gender diverse kids a voice and a platform to be heard and support inclusion within sport. Please take some time to vote for me and give others a voice!”

Nominations/Voting is now open through June 4! To vote/nominate Verity Smith, visit

The Breath taking Liverpool Anglican Cathedral will play host to the 2021 awards, to be held on February 4, 2022. Britain’s most inspirational and selfless people will come together to honor the rich tapestry of the nation, recognizing individuals and groups from grass roots communities.

The prestigious black tie event recognizes nominees in their respective fields of diversity including age, disability, gender, race, faith, religion and sexual orientation. ITV News will be working in association with The National Diversity Awards to highlight role models and community organizations on regional and national news channels.

Rachel Corp, Acting Editor, ITV News said: “We are pleased that ITV News will once again be supporting the National Diversity Awards. ITV News remains committed to telling the stories of those, who through their work and dedication to helping others have made a difference; enhancing equality, diversity and inclusion in our society.”

The UK’s largest diversity awards have attracted a growing list of supporters including Adam Hills, Graham Norton and Katie Piper. Sir Lenny Henry CBE, last year’s winner of the Celebrity of the Year gong said: “Diversity to me means involving everybody without any discrimination; its means having integrated groups in society, it means fairness and total inclusion and that’s what the National Diversity Awards are about. Congratulations to everyone who has been nominated, you’re all doing a fantastic job, rock on!”

The National Diversity Awards receives over 60,000 nominations and votes annually. Founder & CEO Paul Sesay said, “As we enter our 10th awards season, The National Diversity Awards prepare to welcome a host of outstanding role models and charities to our family. We look to those who represent progress, spirit and resilience, and I cannot wait to learn about the wonderful work being carried out this year”.

Nominations are now open and close June 4th 2021, so don’t miss out on your chance to get involved! Shortlisted nominees will be announced shortly after this date.

For more information about the National Diversity Awards and to view other nominees, visit

To nominate/vote for Verity Smith for the Positive Role Model Award (LGBT), visit

Kyle Jackson

Kyle Jackson (He/Him) is Senior Staff Writer at Gray Jones Media, and additionally works as a writer, editor and theatre artist/actor. A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, he studied at Dillard University, received a BA in Theatre from Morgan State University, an MS in Arts Administration from Drexel University, and completed the British American Drama Academy’s Midsummer in Oxford Programme in 2017. Having lived in Baltimore, the Washington, DC area, Philadelphia and New York City, he now resides and works in London, United Kingdom.