A Cumbrian journalist who became the first transgender woman to present an all-female TV talk show has been short-listed for a prestigious award.

India Willoughby, 51, who has always been determined to ensure her transition was not a reason to end her career in the media, said she was “gobsmacked” to have been nominated for an event that has become the Oscars of the LGBT world.

She was nominated by ITV in London.

The broadcaster – which employed India before her transition - has stood by her and gave her the chance to return to TV reporting.

Her shortlisting followed two much talked about appearances on ITV's Loose Women.

The nomination states: “Fans of the ITV panel show were thrilled by the journalist’s performance on the show and tweeted their hopes that she would become a permanent fixture, saying 'Loving India. Breaking barriers, addressing stigmas, making way for a new era of acceptance and inclusion in society'."

The British LGBT Awards have become a star-studded trailblazer event that has sought to promote equality and diversity and previous winners include the likes of broadcasters Stephen Fry and Clare Balding and actor Sir Ian McKellen.

Commenting on her nomination, India said: “I've never won anything in my life – apart from an art competition when I was 10 and a prize for being a top footballer and a trial with Carlisle United. Since finding out I was short-listed, I've had a big grin on my face.

“I'm surprised and delighted – gobsmacked.”

Since going public with her story, India's public profile has been steadily rising and last year reached new heights when she made her historic appearance on ITV's Loose Women, alongside regulars Janet Street-Porter, Martine McCutcheon and Ruth Langsford.

Viewers were impressed by her honesty and courage.

She remains well aware that many people in the transgender community have faced intolerance and prejudice and hopes that her story will help combat that.

“It still takes a lot of guts to be yourself,” she said.

“I've got to say a big thank you to ITV Border. They were actually the first people to put me back on the telly after my transition. They were the first broadcaster in Britain to have a transgender news reporter.

“I know that in many respects I have been lucky: I'm a confident individual but I appreciate that it's not always easy for people in this situation. It's not by choice but I seem to have become a role model and I have to say I feel more comfortable now with that.”

The British LGBT Awards final will be held in London on Friday May 12.

Winners are chosen by popular vote. If you want to vote for India, you can find out more by logging on to the Awards website at www.britishlgbtawards.com

She is nominated in the Top 10 LGBT Media Moments category.