A Hitchin woman has been named as "one to watch" in politics following her work as director of North Herts Pride.

Kerrie Portman, 24, has been named in MHP and Mischief's '30 To Watch Politics Awards 2022'.

The Cambridge University student describes herself as an "autistic, queer Care Leaver" who has been homeless twice in the past year.


Along with directing North Herts Pride, Kerrie now campaigns against Care Leaver homelessness.

She told the Comet: "Hitchin is the first place that's ever felt like home to me.

"My college in Cambridge, Girton College, actually originated in Hitchin, which was why I chose it, as well as the inspirational feminist history."

On being named as "one to watch" in politics, she continued: "I felt shocked; I couldn't believe it!

Herts Advertiser: Kerrie is currently undergoing year-long course at Cambridge University for disadvantaged students.Kerrie is currently undergoing year-long course at Cambridge University for disadvantaged students. (Image: North Herts Pride)

"The award is for my work as Director for North Herts Pride and my campaigning against Care Leaver homelessness.

"When I became involved in both I was homeless with no support.

"Within less than a year of campaigning against Care Leaver homelessness, I've been to Parliament to speak to MPs, written two research reports, attended all-party Parliamentary groups, met with the Department for Education, vice-chaired Hertfordshire's recent scrutiny in the council chambers and been invited to join the Board of Trustees for a new Hertfordshire Care Leaver charity.

"Within less than a year of being a director of North Herts Pride, we made queer history by hosting North Hertfordshire's first-ever pride, which, funnily enough, was the day before I started Cambridge!

"I'm unbelievably grateful to the judges for awarding me such prestigious honour and I'm also incredibly grateful to be able to help Care Leavers and those in the LGBTQIA+ community.

"I've seen first-hand how cruel the world can be; I was just left on the street last winter and I'm more accustomed to people hurting me than caring for me, and I want to do everything I can to help."

Herts Advertiser: Kerrie has been homeless twice over the past year, after leaving care.Kerrie has been homeless twice over the past year, after leaving care. (Image: North Herts Pride)

Asked why these issues are so important to her, Kerrie added: "One of the reasons these issues are so important to me is because they are not inevitable.

"They do not have to be a part of life, nor life's troubles, like a flood or earthquake.

"An already vulnerable Care Leaver becoming homeless with no one to turn to, being afraid to be yourself, hearing politicians you've never met discuss whether you should have the protection of the law when expressing your real gender, being attacked for the gender of the person you love, being bullied, rejected, afraid, alone.... people literally dying, they're evitable.

"They are human-made, and it doesn't have to be this way."

Kerrie and North Herts Pride will be hosting a 'Pride in the Cafe' event, at Baldock's Cafe Luna from 1.30pm this Saturday (November 19).

This week also marks Transgender Awareness Week, a time in which Kerrie affirms "We need to be kind to each other, we need to be here for each other.

"The world can be hard enough already."