Reacting to the news today that she has received an OBE in the 2023 New Year’s Honours, Helen Belcher, Chair of TransActual UK, said:
“I was very surprised to hear that I was to receive this award and it still doesn’t feel quite real.
“I’m also acutely aware that everything I’ve done has been accomplished with the assistance of fantastic teams of people, so I hope they will appreciate that this award is partly for them too. There’s still a lot of work to do, but hopefully this honour will make some of that slightly easier.”
In addition, the directors of TransActual (Chay Brown, Rico Jacob Chace, Maryam Din, jane fae) issued the following statement:
“We are delighted. Not just for the impact that this announcement will have on the UK trans community, which is desperately in need of some positive news right now. Also, because it is richly deserved.
“Helen has worked tirelessly, often behind the scenes, to educate and to blunt some of the worst effects of the wave of transphobia now sweeping the UK.
“Without her, many important initiatives would not have got off the ground.
“Recognition was never sought – but we are very happy that it has been given.
- Born and educated in Reading before going to Leeds University
- Trained as a maths teacher and taught in Leeds for 2 years
- Worked in IT as a systems analyst then consultant then senior manager before starting her own company (Aurum Solutions Ltd) in 2004
- Grew Aurum for 15 years before selling it in 2019 as a going and profitable concern
- Involved with GIRES in 2008, helping deliver courses, building first TranzWiki, and computerising logo
- Helped incorporate Trans Media Watch (TMW) as a charity in 2009
- Gave TMW’s evidence to the Leveson Inquiry into press standards and ethics in 2012. Became involved with Hacked Off as a result
- Gave evidence to two parliamentary inquiries in 2015 and 2017
- Member of Stonewall’s Trans Advisory Group 2015-2020
- Helped incorporate TransActual UK in 2020 and has been Chair since then
- Joined Lib Dems in 2015
- Stood for election to Wokingham Town Council then Wokingham Borough Council in 2016
- Selected for target parliamentary seat of Chippenham in 2016; retained second place in 2017 general election; improved on it in the 2019 general election
- Joined Corsham Town Council in 2020 – now deputy chair
- Elected to Wiltshire Council in 2021, and appointed to shadow cabinet
For further information, contact TransActual’s press office: firstname.lastname@example.org.