In alphabetical order
This category recognises an LGBT+ individual delivering content on screen or in the news. The top 10s will have an impact the public’s view of the LGBT+ community.
A comedy powerhouse, Yashere has been a regular face on the television circuit for decades. She was a finalist on the Hackney Empire New Act of the Year in 1996, became a regular feature on The Lenny Henry Show from 2000, co-hosted the MOBO Awards in both 2006 and 2007, hosted Live at the Apollo in 2016, featured on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah in 2017, and even served as co-creator and executive producer of the hit US television show Bob Hearts Abishola. Yashere has done it all, while being authentically herself. “My comedy is very inclusive. It’s all fun and nobody’s uncomfortable, and that’s how I like it.”
Gok Wan is truly a jack of all trades. From fashion to cooking to comedy, he has been a staple on our television screens since 2006. Not only has been a vocal advocate for the LGBT+ community and an out and proud gay man, he also hosted Pride in London in 2022 and our very own British LGBT Awards in 2021. Wan has often focused his work on social problems among young people, drawing on his personal battles with obesity and homophobia. According to Wan, we must continue to fight “for a world where no one has to sacrifice their family, freedom, safety, or dignity because of who they are or who they love.”
One of the UK’s most powerful LGBT+ individuals, Norton is a giant of late-night TV. His BBC show consistently attracts A-list talent and it’s not unusual to see the toast of Hollywood spread across his ample sofa. He’s also renowned as the voice of Eurovision, peppering his witticisms throughout the broadcast and generally showing that while he finds it all a bit trashy, he loves it as much as we do. Norton has never been shy of voicing his opinions on the issues that matter and recently came under criticism for supporting the elevation of trans voices.
A former presenter of BBC Radio 1’s Drivetime show, Nick Grimshaw came out in 2012 and is an ambassador for The Albert Kennedy Trust, a charity that works with homeless LGBT+ youth. Grimshaw has hosted a number of shows on Radio 1, including The Radio 1 Breakfast Show between 2012 and 2018. He has also been a judge of The X Factor and appeared on Channel 4’s T4 and The Album Chart Show. In 2021 he appeared on Queerpiphany on MTV, hosted by Munroe Bergdorf and Drag Race star Tayce. Also, 2022 was a good year for Grimshaw personally as he became engaged to his partner, dancer Meshach Henry.
As an outspoken advocate of the LGBT+ community, O’Grady has helped to change the narrative around gay men on British television. Always candid, he’s taken on hosting duties at Blind Date – the show formerly presented by his best mate, the late Cilla Black – and insisted that same-sex couples were involved, bringing the show into the 21st century. He’s attracted controversy for his comments on RuPaul’s Drag Race (saying, “No, I can’t bear it. That’s not drag! It’s all about shading and contouring your face and being like supermodels”), but let’s be honest that’s why we love him! Most recently we’ve seen him hosting Paul O’Grady’s Saturday Night Line Up on ITV.
Jones is a comedian, writer and actress who first grabbed our attention in 2017 when she appeared on 8 Out of 10 Cats after reaching the finals of the 2016 Funny Women Awards. She has appeared in six episodes of the hit BBC medical drama Casualty, served as a reporter for the 2020 Summer Paralympics in Tokyo and authored a children’s book about an 11-year old girl with cerebral palsy. Most recently, she hosted Live at the Apollo, where she commented on her greatest achievement, becoming the 94th most powerful lesbian on Diva’s Power List in 2019!
RuPaul is almost certainly the most famous drag queen in the world. Not only is he known for serving looks, but also serving talent with any one of his long list of Drag Race franchises declaring the latest and greatest of the moment. Mama Ru has opened doors for queer youth by consistently and authentically showcasing drag queens from all walks of life. It is no wonder that he was recognised in 2017 on the Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world!
Dhaliwal founded the UK’s leading South Asian culture magazine Burnt Roti, a platform for young creatives to showcase their talent, find safe spaces and destigmatise topics around mental health and sexuality, among others. Her particular interests are focused on discussing the representation of young women, South Asian women and queer women. She is the Director of Middlesex Pride and creator of Oh Queer Cupid, a queer speed dating and comedy night. She has written for i-D, HuffPost and the Guardian and was on the list of global influential women for the BBC 100 Women 2019. Last year Dhaliwal released her debut non-fiction book, Burning My Roti, about how her Asian identity and queerness came up against capitalism and white supremacy.
Faye is an English writer, editor, journalist and presenter, known for her commentary on LGBT+, women’s and mental health issues. Her informative podcast series, Call Me Mother, features LGBT+ trailblazers who have something important, interesting or enlightening to say about what it means to be queer in the world today. Her 2021 book The Transgender Issue: An Argument for Justice was a Times best seller, making her one of a handful of trans writers with a best-selling book on their resume. She is currently working on her second book, which will explore concepts of love and fulfilment in a lonely age.
Perkins might be one half of the legendary Mel and Sue duo, but the Cambridge-educated comedian is a formidable talent in her own right. Partly, it must be said, because she isn’t afraid to say what she thinks. She has recently been featured on The Masked Singer as ‘Dragon’, and released her own Netflix series Sue Perkins: Perfectly Legal. She’s even hosted our very own British LGBT Awards in 2022 and we can’t wait to see what’s next!