In alphabetical order
This category celebrates influencers, activists, campaigners or trailblazers in the LGBT+ community, who have made an impact either on a grass roots level as part of a larger organisation, from YouTubers, to social media influencers, artists, founders of LGBT+ focused initiatives, writers, bloggers, charity workers or campaigners.
This category will be judged on merit.
Aida H Dee
Aida H Dee (pronouns: they/them) is the founder of Drag Queen Story Hour UK. They are a neurodivergent, queer hero of literature, theatre and children’s entertainment. Aida is a multi award-winning author, patron of Autistic Inclusive Meets London, a five-star Edinburgh Fringe act, has been featured in Forbes as an activist for neurodivergence, and was chosen by Pink News as The Local Leader of the Year in 2022. They have travelled all across the UK reading their own LGBTQ books to 1000’s of children across 100’s of libraries, and have been targeted by multiple anti-LGBTQ hate groups in recent years.
Shaibu-Lenoir is an LGBT+ activist and cultural producer, and was listed as one of the ‘Top 100 LGBT+ Trailblazers’ changing the world. She is the founder of Moonlight Experiences, an award-winning company dedicated to the celebration of diverse queer culture and the decolonisation of travel. Through harnessing the economic power of tourism and nightlife, Moonlight Experiences is tackling the lack of spaces for queer, non-binary and Black/POC members. Since launching in London, the organisation has expanded to cities in Europe, Africa and the USA. Shaibu-Lenoir’s activism and community contribution also extend to the work she does as Head of Community Engagement for UK Black Pride and as a Trustee for GiveOut.
Fisher is an artist, author, filmmaker and trans campaigner, who was awarded an Honorary Doctorate for work on trans issues in the media. Fox is Director of My Genderation, a consultant for trans storylines for Netflix, does media interactions via All About Trans and is a trustee of Trans Pride Brighton. Fisher was Artist in Residence at Homotopia and creates screen-prints at Tate Modern and the V&A. Their books include The Trans Pride Coloring Book and the Trans Teen Survival Guide. Their gentle kids’ book, hated by the Daily Mail, was gifted to Piers Morgan during an interview.
McConnell is a journalist who began his career at the Guardian. In 2019, he shared his experience of pregnancy as a transgender man in the documentary Seahorse. He then made Pride & Joy for the BBC, a podcast about how queer people have kids, followed by a children’s book published by Puffin. This year, he won a Peabody Award as the UK correspondent for Vice’s World News series, Transnational. Freddy is a committed advocate for LGBT+ equality, in particular the rights of trans parents and their children. His battle to be legally recognised as his children’s father or parent will soon be heard by the European Court of Human Rights.
Kei is a project manager and the co-founder and CEO of AZ Magazine, an online platform amplifying the voices of LGBTQ+ Black people and people of colour. Kei’s experience with bereavement led her to create Hug in a Box, a hamper for Mother’s Day, for those who have lost a mother/mother figure and The New Normal Therapy Fund, a programme offering 12 weeks of bereavement therapy for those who have lost a mother/mother figure. Kei strives to open conversations surrounding wellbeing, grief and bereavement.
Rivers is a podcaster, communications professional and public figure. He is the creator of Busy Being Black, an award-winning podcast exploring queer Black identities and experiences, which is regularly featured by Apple, Spotify and Amazon. From 2018 to 2022, he served as UK Black Pride’s Head of Communications, where he helped usher in tremendous growth: in 2022, UK Black Pride was named the world’s largest free Black Pride celebration. He currently volunteers as Head of Cultural Partnerships, with a focus on the partnerships that provide means, access and opportunities for UK Black Pride and its communities to thrive.
Khakan Qureshi BEM
Qureshi was awarded a British Empire Medal in the New Year Honours List 2021 for his leadership on the advocacy of LGBT+ education in schools. He is the Founder of Finding a Voice, a volunteer-led organisation for South Asians. Qureshi organised the first South Asian LGBT+ Conference in 2018 and led the first LGBTIQ+ Intersectionality and Islam conference in 2019. He has written articles for Attitude, The Gay UK and Gay Times, and has appeared on different media formats exploring representation within the LGBT+ community and mental health. Qureshi has been described as a “trailblazing pioneer for the South Asian LGBT+ Community” and a “controversial, provocative activist.”
Dr Mark McBride-Wright
Dr McBride-Wright is a gay safety engineer championing equality, diversity and inclusion. In 2014, he founded InterEngineering to connect, inform and empower LGBT+ engineers. Boasting thousands of members, the organisation is the leading voice in amplifying the work of LGBT+ engineers and addressing inclusion within the engineering and construction sector. Mark then founded EqualEngineers in 2017, aiming to make the industry more diverse after seeing the challenges a lack of inclusion can bring and the risks posed to health, safety and wellbeing as a consequence. Driven by an understanding that better DE&I programmes are essential to improve performance, McBride-Wright has engaged tens of thousands of people with events, public speaking and training to ensure organisations across the sector are truly inclusive environments.
Kelley is Chief Executive of Stonewall, the LGBT+ human rights charity, which is part of a global movement for change where LGBT+ people everywhere are free to be themselves and can live their lives to the full. Previously, she worked to improve outcomes for vulnerable children, for people experiencing mental distress, for refugees and migrants, and for people living in poverty. More recently, Kelley has worked in roles focused on research and insight. She tells us that “It has been a privilege to have a career where I get to come to work every day and try to make society fairer and more inclusive.”
Pike produces inclusive animations and children’s books that combat homophobia and transphobia in schools. Millions of people, globally, have engaged with his content and his company, Pop’n’Olly, has distributed more than 25,000 books worldwide and donated 9,000 copies to primary schools, helping to educate children (and teachers) about LGBT+ diversity and equality. In 2021, Pike was presented with an Attitude Pride Award for leading the fight against LGBT+ prejudice in primary education. Olly has been shortlisted for National Diversity and Gay Times Honours awards for his activism and has lobbied key members of Parliament for advocacy regarding LGBT+ primary education.