In alphabetical order
This category recognises LGBT+ ceebrities who have come outin the face of adversity or who support the LGBT+ community in a positive way.
Strictly Come Dancing may have been won by Joe McFadden, but last year was really the season the nation fell in love with Susan Calman. The Scottish comedian may not have been crowned the nation’s best celebrity dancer, but she performed her routines with comical aplomb and managed to school a few homophobes on Twitter along the way (hope you’re taking notes, Ann Widdecombe!)
Despite being forced off Twitter by homophobic trolls, This Morning presenter Rylan managed to promote LGBT equality in 2017 alongside his husband, Daniel Clark-Neal, and his son, Cameron. All three were pictured wearing Stonewall shirts with the logo “Come Out For LGBT”. The campaign calls for straight allies to speak up in support of LGBT people and their rights. In his role on Big Brother, Rylan challenges contestants whose views are not LGBT-friendly.
Winner! Laverne Cox
In 2017, Orange is the New Black star Laverne Cox became the first transgender person to have a series regular role on American terrestrial television, playing the part of Cam in Doubt on CBS. Just as importantly, she continued to speak out about transgender representation in the media, saying that all too often, TV portrayals focus on the transition of trans people, rather than the lives they live afterwards.
When Cara Delevingne began her career as an actress, she was already a successful model. But that didn’t stop vile Harvey Weinstein from phoning her with disgusting comments. He told her that if she continued to date women in public, she would never play a straight character, or make it in Hollywood. Cara found exposing Harvey to be a cathartic experience, and urged people suffering from homophobia to speak out about their treatment.
Sean Hayes is back on our screens in Will and Grace (hurrah!) and this time he’s out and proud. This year Sean has been outspoken about how he wasn’t outspoken, if that makes sense. Hayes came out in 2010, four years after the show’s first run finished. He’s now said he regrets this immensely. He said: “I know I should’ve come out sooner and I’m sorry for that. Especially when I think about the possibility that I might have made a difference in someone’s life.” Good thing he can make a difference now.
After coming out in 2016, actor Colton Haynes became more outspoken in 2017, revealing that his Hollywood management forced him to date women to disguise his sexuality. Though he’s lashed out at casting directors who refuse to hire gay actors, his work has only improved since coming out of the closet, and he featured in a steamy scene with Billy Eichner in American Horror Story. In October, he married celebrity florist Jeff Leatham in Palm Springs.
Last year, Demi brought transgender lawmaker Danica Roem to the American Music Awards red carpet. In becoming the first transgender member of the Virginia State legislature, Danica unseated Bob Marshall, a man who described himself as the state’s ‘chief homophobe’. Lovely. Lovato brings attention to LGBT causes time and time again in a way that is sensitive and well thought out, rather than grasping at the pink pound.
Matt Lucas established himself as one of Britain’s best comedians with his role on Little Britain, alongside David Walliams. The openly gay Doctor Who and Little Britain star came out to his mum when he was a child and has always ‘been out’ on screen. An avid Arsenal fan, Lucas is now patron of the club’s LGBT supporters’ group, the Gay Gooners.
It’s been a big year for Paul O’Grady. Last summer, he married his long-term partner Andre Portasio. Always outspoken, 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 so as to bring the show into the 21stCentury. He attracted controversy too for his comments on Rupaul’s Drag Race, but let’s be honest that’s why we love him: if we wanted bland, vanilla opinions we’d go elsewhere.
Quickly establishing herself as one of Hollywood’s most accomplished actresses, Sarah Paulson made TIME’s 100 in 2017 after bagging a Golden Globe Award for her role as prosecutor Marcia Clark in The People v. O.J. Simpson. Cate Blanchett, who starred alongside Paulson in the gay classic Carol, said she was “at the forefront of a generation of women who are changing the landscape of the film and television industry”. Paulson, a fiercely intelligent media performer, has been open about how executives told her that her relationship with Holland Taylor would negatively impact her career. It seems they were mistaken, and Paulson and Taylor’s public declarations of love continue to give us hope in forever after!