In alphabetical order
This category celebrates LGBT+ people that have used their online presence to speak out about LGBT+ issues or rights.
Munroe Bergdorf is a model and social activist. Best known for channelling her unique blend of honesty and openness, Munroe is raising awareness of social issues that are affecting thousands of people across the world today. When L’Oréal ended their partnership with Munroe in summer 2017 her story became global news. She was the first transgender model to be selected to front a UK beauty campaign, a project that would promote diversity and inclusiveness. But when Munroe’s views on white privilege and systemic racism were sold to the press and became an international news story, the brand decided to end their partnership. Munroe regularly appears on national and international television news to comment on race, diversity and LGBT+ stories.
Any LGBT+ individual will tell you: sex education at school was woefully inadequate, with no corner given to people who weren’t straight (and let’s be honest, it was rubbish for straight people too). That’s why Stevie Boebi is a breath of fresh air. Her YouTube videos, which offer straightforward and light-hearted instructions on the basics of having lesbian sex, are something you’ll wish was there for you when you were younger. At a time when more and more people are getting their education from unrealistic and highly choreographed porn videos, it’s great to have Stevie out there as a resource and a guide.
Artsy and fashionable but still accessible, Orion Carloto is a YouTube personality who’s expanded her influence beyond the vlogosphere. In 2017, as well as releasing her debut collection of prose and poetry, Flux, Carlotto also directed and produced a short film called Transitions. In addition to more than 250,000 YouTube subscribers, Carlotto’s 500,000 Instagram followers are given access to her life with girlfriend, Brittenelle.
Alongside her career as an actor, Tommy is big on activism. The star of Netflix series 13 Reasons Why has rapidly accrued fame, fans and respect from the LGBT+ community for her reliability in speaking up for good causes. She denounced a Brazilian judge’s decision to approve gay conversion therapy, as well as issuing tweets in support of the brave individuals who voiced their terrible experiences at the hands of Kevin Spacey. She also modelled a gender-neutral clothing line from online retailer ASOS.
Winner! Connor Franta
One of social media’s most popular personalities, Connor Franta is also one of its most self-analyzing, soul-searching characters. With 9.26m Twitter followers and more than 5m on Instagram, Connor’s fans love him because he’s just the opposite. This year he revealed that he felt he was denied a teenage life where he could truly express his feelings, saying: “I just feel oddly cheated. I got to go see my friends kiss boys or kiss girls at parties and then talk about it the next day… I didn’t get to do that.”
In a world of picture-perfect social media starts, Hannah Hart is a refreshing – and very funny – exception. In her YouTube series My Drunk Kitchen, Hannah showcases her own personal brand of self-acceptance, and shows young people that queer life isn’t all doom and gloom – and that there’s nothing wrong with being nice. She’s amassed 2.5m subscribers, with her most popular videos accruing 4m views. Hart, who is also a New York Times bestseller, is currently developing an LGBT+ romantic comedy for Lionsgate.
It’s been a big year for YouTube personality Riyadh Khalaf, hosting the acclaimed BBC Three documentary series ‘Queer Britain’, which took a lively, heartfelt and yet informative look at the issues facing the UK’s LGBT+ community. His YouTube channel boasts more than 350,000 subscribers, which isn’t too surprising given the content of the videos… including a toe curling clip which sees his mum read his Grindr messages. The Guardian said Riyadh “hides journalistic directness behind a chatty exterior as he meets and easily bonds with people living in extraordinary situations,” which about sums him up.
Follow Natasha Negovanlis on Twitter or Instagram (where she has over 240K collective followers) and you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and most importantly, you’ll be informed. Away from social media, Negovanlis is an openly pansexual actress best known for playing a lesbian vampire in the digital-series-turned-movie Carmilla. On winning a Fan’s Choice award in her native Canada, her speech focused on LGBT+ fans: “It has been an honour and a privilege to provide more positive on-screen representation for the queer community; for my community! This isn’t for me, this is for all of my fans who feel like they don’t belong.”
YouTube sensation Tyler Oakley has amassed more than twenty-four million social media followers through his humorous, no-holds-barred YouTube videos, high-profile interviews, and social rights advocacy. After uploading his first video eight years ago, Oakley took the internet by storm. With successes ranging from interviews with First Lady Michelle Obama, One Direction, and Ellen DeGeneres, a worldwide live tour, and his chart-topping podcast Psychobabble, Oakley is an Internet icon.
Dr. Ranj Singh
This Morning’s Dr. Ranj has been a passionate LGBT+ advocate in the media and online, especially for young people. Being one of few gay, Asian personalities in the public eye hasn’t always been easy, but he has remained a dedicated supporter of LGBT+ initiatives and brought much needed public attention to various issues through his growing online influence. He has championed LGBT+ physical and mental health needs across his social media platforms, and through work with various charities, including Stonewall. He also took part in a national body confidence campaign for Loose Women, alongside Bruno Tonioli and Judge Rinder.