In alphabetical order
This award recognises an act of significance for the LGBT+ community which has taken place in the media, from factual events witnessed on the news or in print, to fictional events which have taken place on stage, film, TV or radio.
20th Century Fox’s Love, Simon film release
Billed as the first mainstream teenage romantic-comedy backed by a major studio to feature a lead who happens to be gay, Love, Simon captivated many hearts upon its release due to the honest and realistic LGBT+ representation it offers. Not only did the movie have a ‘happy ending’, something most queer narratives tend to lack, but the film has also helped many queer youth to come out and be more comfortable with their identities. The protagonist’s character is not defined by their sexuality and is offered a romantic storyline (featuring an award-winning same-sex kiss!) that does not shy away from the complexities that surround queer love. As noted by several media outlets, Love, Simon is timely and simply “revolutionary”.
COURTNEY ACT WINS CHANNEL 5’S CBB & HOSTS
E!’S THE BI LIFE
After winning the hearts of many on the runway of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Australian star Courtney Act has emerged as one of the strongest contemporary voices for LGBT+ rights. During her season on Celebrity Big Brother UK, Act educated viewers about various LGBT+ topics including, but not limited to, gender fluidity and the stigma around HIV/AIDS. Through her iconic blend of heart and humour, Act won the competition and became a household name. The drag superstar went on to host the first-ever bisexual dating show The Bi Life which has been hailed for its positive representation of the bisexual community. Since then, Act has released a power anthem ‘Fight for Love’, announced her bid for Eurovision 2019, hosted a Christmas special (Courtney Act’s Christmas Extravanganza!) on Channel 4, and is now all set to head her own talk show (‘The Courtney Act Show’) which will feature an array of celebrity guests, studio items and music numbers.
Disobedience film release
Based on Naomi Alderman’s novel of the same name, Disobedience has been described as a “nuanced portrait of lesbian love, religious devotion and what happens when those worlds collide”. Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams not only bring women’s agency and sexual diversity to the forefront, but also provide necessary representation for queer Jews. Told through the lens of female same-sex attraction, Disobedience tackles important and nuanced issues in Orthodox Judaism with sensitivity and care. The women’s relationship is depicted in a realistic way with sexual scenes that deliberately do not cater to the ‘male gaze’. Weisz, a staunch LGBT+ ally, states that the team purposely did a lot of research on same-sex love in order to represent their characters’ identities in an authentic way as “getting it wrong would be awful, misrepresenting what we’re trying to represent.”
FREEFORM’S THE BOLD TYPE KAT & ADENA STORYLINE
The Bold Type has continued to draw praise for offering the LGBT+ community something incredibly rare and beautiful: an interracial couple featuring two women of colour, with a storyline that not only forms a central part of the show’s overall narrative, but one that is well-written in both a complex and sensitive manner. For example, when a sex scene between the two characters aired, many hailed it as a groundbreaking moment for pushing boundaries and challenging stereotypes, all while amplifying conversations around women’s sexuality. Kat (Aisha Dee) and Adena (Nikohl Boosheri) have authentically portrayed a lesbian relationship and brought it to the forefront without shying away from the many challenges and issues that affect LGBTQ love.
ITV’s landmark three-part series Butterfly narrates the story of a transgender child and her family. Starring the impeccable Anna Friel, the story portrays the struggles of both the child and the family as they try to understand how best to address their child’s transition. In order to approach the storyline with sensitivity and care, the show-runners employed the expertise of Susie Green, director of Mermaids UK, a charity that supports gender diverse children and trans youth. Despite some backlash from conservative groups, the show has stood tall and received critical acclaim with leading voices such as Paris Lees calling it “the best thing to happen to the trans community for years”.
ITV’S CORONATION STREET RANA & KATE STORYLINE
The lesbian storyline featuring Kate (Faye Brookes) and Rana (Bhavna Limbachia) on Britain’s beloved soap opera Coronation Streethas been nothing but revolutionary. Limbachia has publicly confirmed that her involvement in it has helped tackle the stigma around homosexuality within the south Asian communities. Working with the Naz and Matt Foundation, she has helped address homophobia triggered by religion. On the show, the characters have been through several arcs, portraying the everyday struggles of same-sex couples. And the lesbian couple’s double wedding proposal? An icing on the cake.
NETFLIX’S NANETTE BY HANNAH GADSBY
In Netflix’s Nanette, unlike any other stand-up special, headliner Hannah Gadsby critiques and redefines the genre of comedy. Through sharp setups and witty punchlines Gadsby deconstructs how comedy and the fundamental nature of jokes work to reinforce marginalization. As an autistic lesbian, she explains that practicing self-deprecating humour serves no purpose other than to humiliate people who are already marginalized by society. In that vein comedy then ends up perpetuating oppression. By covering topics like homophobia, sexual violence, disability, art, and misogyny, viewers of this critically acclaimed special are forced to question their prejudices and to be critical of comedy and its variants.
Netflix’s Queer Eye Season 2
In its second season, Netflix’s Queer Eye continues to empower audiences by featuring two unique clients: a cisgender woman (Tammye) and a trans man (Skyler). Fab Five members Antoni Porowski (food), Tan France (fashion), Karamo Brown (culture), Bobby Berk (design), and Jonathan Van Ness (grooming) broaden their mission and touch upon numerous issues that affect the LGBT+ community at large. Tan who has admitted to not having a proper understanding of the transgender experience finds himself learning a lot from Skyler, showing audiences how important it is for one to understand the different kinds of struggles within the community. The show maintains its heartwarming charm while allowing a makeover for everyone – including the Fab Five!
THE CW’S SUPERGIRL FEATURES TRANS ACTOR PLAYING TRANS CHARACTER
The CW’s Supergirl made important history by casting activist and actress Nicole Maines as TV’s first transgender superhero. Maines plays Nia Nal, a“soulful young transgender woman with a fierce drive to protect others.” Upon her casting, Mainessaid that she wants “fans to take away an understanding of trans people that we can be anybody. We can be whoever we want, we can do whatever we want, we can be superheroes, because in many ways we are.”
THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST FILM RELEASE
Adapted from Emily M Danforth’s 2012 book, The Miseducation of Cameron Postnarrates the story of Cameron Post (Chlöe Grace Moretz), who is outed as a lesbian when she’s caught by her male prom date making out with a girl. Post is immediately sent off to ‘God’s Promise’, a Christian teen camp, in order to be “cured” of her sexuality. The Sundance-winning drama by bisexual Iranian-American filmmaker Desiree Akhavan spotlights gay-conversion camps in a sensitive and poignant manner. It is a queer film made by queer women for queer women.