Alexa Rusakoff was named Ambassador of the Year at the Just Like Us Awards 2023.
Hosted by Char Bailey and Megan Crabb, the awards recognised heroes in five categories: LGBT+ Inclusive Teacher of the Year, Ambassador of the Year, Corporate Volunteer of the Year, Mentor of the Year and Pride Group of the Year (sponsored by JP Morgan Chase & Co).
Just Like Us is the LGBTQ+ young people’s charity. The organisation is known for School Diversity Week, their annual UK-wide celebration of LGBTQ+ equality in schools and colleges.
The ceremony, which took place on 13 July, featured appearances from stars such as presenter and DJ Harriet Rose, Heartstopper’s Corinna Brown and Tobie Donovan, Everyone’s Talking About Jamie alum Layton Williams, singer-songwriter Låpsley, Paralympian gold-medalist Lauren Rowles, swimmer Michael Gunning, dancer and film director Shiva Raichandani, writer and activist Eva Echo, and the cast of I Kissed a Boy – the UK’s first-ever same-sex dating series.
Rising rapper Keanan also delivered a medley of his most beloved tracks including Obstacle, Exhale, Inhale, Country Boy and Ooh La La, as well as new single Butterscotch, which is due for release on 4 August.
Ambassador of the Year was presented by Gunning and Rowles, with the latter telling the crowd: “As LGBT+ athletes, we know how important it is that you can be yourself and also feel represented. This award goes to someone who has shown outstanding commitment to helping LGBT+ young people feel seen and represented by volunteering to give school talks.”
Rusakoff joined Just Like Us as an ambassador in 2020. Through their work with the charity, they have shown tireless commitment to ensuring that students have access to the positive LGBTQ+ representation they need and are empowered to take a stand for equality.
In the past three years, Rusakoff has delivered 86 school talks – reaching a staggering 21,000 young people in the process – and featured in Just Like Us’ school resources about being an LGBTQ+ person of faith.
“It’s absolutely amazing to win Ambassador of the Year,” they said.
“The giving aspect of volunteering as an ambassador, from going into schools, to helping to create resources for young people has been incredibly rewarding. But for me, it has been meeting the other ambassadors that has really changed my life.
“We all share so many experiences, and there are so many other people to learn from, to gather around you and become your best friends.”
Laura Mackay, Chief Executive of Just Like Us, said: “Alexa’s commitment to volunteering with Just Like Us has been astonishing.
“They have put an incredible amount of time and effort into ensuring that LGBT+ school pupils receive the inclusive education and positive representation that they wish they could have had at school, and every member of the Just Like Us team is incredibly grateful.
“As Alexa comes to the end of her time as an ambassador, I hope this award shows just how valued she has been. The changes that she has made will not only stay with the thousands of young people she spoke to, but also with everyone who worked alongside her.”
The Just Like Us Awards were sponsored by JP Morgan Chase & Co.
GAY TIMES was the official media partner.