People in a ‘privileged’ and ‘progressive’ society should help others be themselves

Trans activist Munroe Bergdorf has said Londoners should use their “privileged” position living in a “progressive” society to help others feel as though they can be themselves.

The campaigner and model, 33, said while British society was not “perfect” in terms of acceptance, it was seen as a “privilege” to be a part of the “queer community” in Britain.

The Essex-born campaigner said: “We need to think of ourselves as a global queer community. Just because things are better in this country – they are not perfect – but they are better than it is in most of the world. 

“We have an opportunity to exercise our privilege because it is a privilege to be queer in the UK even though there are things that need to be done and improved. We need to use that privilege to help people who don’t have that access or safety.”

She added: “We have progressed as a society and we have evolved. Transgender people are campaigning for everyone’s freedom from oppressive [gender] roles and stereotypes. We are fighting for everyone.”

Bergdorf will tonight receive the Hero Award at the Virgin Atlantic Attitude Awards, powered by Jaguar. The two-hour pre-recorded event, filmed at the Roundhouse in Camden where the ceremony usually takes place, will see 14 people awarded for their work within the LGBTQ+ community. 

graphical user interface: Munroe on the red carpetGetty Images

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Munroe on the red carpet

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She said the magazine was a “window into the queer community” when she was growing up, but revealed: “I was too scared to buy it — so on a couple of occasions, I did swipe it. I have told the editor and he found it funny.”

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She added: “It was my window in to the queer life. When you live in London and you are immersed in to this progressive bubble, we forget about other people – you know queer kids in the middle of nowhere who have no way of being themselves truely. Gay publising is a lifeline.”

Her award was given to her by British Vogue editor Edward Enninful.

He said of Bergdorf’s achievements: “Sometimes when the world feels overwhelming, the hardest thing to do is speak up and use your voice. So, I could not be more impressed by the winner of Attitude’s 2020 Hero award. A person who constantly challenges prejudice and injustice at every turn. 

a close up of Beyonce: Munroe Bergdorf - winner of the Hero award at the Attitude AwardsWireImage for Vogue

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Munroe Bergdorf – winner of the Hero award at the Attitude Awards

WireImage for Vogue

“Through her work as a model, presenter and activist – in just a few short years, she has broken more barriers and crushed though more glass ceilings than most of us will in our lifetime. Always putting herself in the firing line to stand up for what’s right… and looking fierce as hell while doing it! 

“As a transgender woman, she stands up and demands not only acceptance, but respect.  She dares to be outspoken and she inspires all of us to do the same and her community will be forever grateful for her courage.”

The Attitude Awards takes place tonight — on World Aids Day — from 9pm on the magazine’s YouTube channel. 

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