Mentor honoured for supporting LGBT+ young people at Just Like Us 2023 charity awards
Louise Goux-Wirth has been named Mentor of the Year at the Just Like Us Awards 2023, after helping a LGBT+ young person to break down career barriers.
LGBT+ young people can face many disproportionate barriers in the workplace, with research showing that a quarter go back into the closet upon starting work, and that many earn less than their straight, cisgender peers. The Just Like Us mentoring programme, in partnership with Travers Smith, pairs LGBT+ young people with mentors to get support and help them thrive in their careers.
The award winner, Louise Goux-Wirth, was paired with a young Just Like Us ambassador, who said that “she went above and beyond to make me feel safe and comfortable and supported”.
Outside of volunteering as a Just Like Us mentor, Goux-Wirth works in the charity sector and is an award-winning equality specialist.
She supported her mentee to gain confidence and skills, helping her into a role in the charity sector, while also acting as a “great” and “encouraging” role model.
The Mentor of the Year award was presented by LGBT+ artists Lapsley and Keanan.
Lapsley said: “Having been a mentor myself to young people in the music industry, I know just how life-changing this programme can be. Mentors provide support, advice, helping them to gain skills, and giving them confidence to be their full authentic selves.”
Keanan added: “As artists, we both know how important it is to not hide our LGBT+ identities when we’re making music, performing or just being that representation that we never had growing up. Just Like Us often talks to young people about how being LGBT+ is nothing to be ashamed of, and I firmly believe that!”
Louise Goux-Wirth said: “I feel very excited to win Mentor of the Year because I know how important it is to have visible role models that are in your corner. Part of me thinks that LGBT+ young people today have it better, but in some ways they have it so much harder, and if I can do my bit to help then that makes me really happy.
“I would tell other individuals who want to be mentors to just go for it. You may think, ‘what have I got to offer?’ Or, ‘what difference will I make?’ But throughout the process you realise that you know more than you think you do, and even small pieces of advice can go a long way.”
Laura Mackay, Chief Executive of Just Like Us, the LGBT+ young people’s charity, said: “Louise is an amazing mentor, and embodies exactly why we offer our mentor programme to ambassadors. The comments from her mentee show just how impactful having an LGBT+ career mentor can be.
“We know that LGBT+ young people face barriers in entering the workplace, and struggle to access equal opportunities once there, but having a mentor and role model who has overcome those barriers is invaluable in ensuring they can have a happy and successful career.”
The Just Like Us Awards on 13 July featured a line-up of well-known and beloved awards presenters, including Heartstopper cast member Corinna Brown and West End star Layton Williams, in a celebration of the strides made by young people, school staff and mentors for LGBT+ inclusion.
The Just Like Us Awards 2023 were sponsored by JP Morgan Chase & Co, and Gay Times was the official media partner.