Toon trans woman up for diversity award

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A transgender woman from Peterhead has been nominated for a National Diversity Award in the Positive Role Model category.

Justine Smithies has been recognised for the national award after she raised money for the LGBT charity Stonewall and was invited to be their key note speaker last year.

Justine said: “An unintentional role model is what I’ve become but it’s a good thing.

“I’m just a normal person but people say to me that I’m saving lives just by being open and being myself.”

Justine, who is a wife and mother of three children, believes that everything has snowballed from that first keynote speech for Stonewall.

Now the “accidental spokesperson” has spoken to bank chiefs and also been invited to be the keynote speaker at the University of Sunderland.

Justine said: “I just can’t get my head around it.”

The National Diversity Awards, which celebrate unity in society, nomination came as another surprise to Justine.

She said: “There’s lots of people who have been nominating me and saying I deserve the award so I just do what they say.

“It’s an honour just to be even considered.”

Justine is also currently in the process of setting up a support froup for the LGBT people of Aberdeenshire called Just Be Your Self.

She has written for the YWCA Scotland, The Glass Closet and the online LGBTI publication KaleidoScot

You can vote for Justine via the National Diversity Awards homepage.