In alphabetical order
This category celebrates the brands that have successfully promoted to or are popular with the LGBT+ community.
BBC2 AIRS SAME-SEX SPY THRILLER, LONDON SPY
In 2015, BBC2 aired the five-part mini-series, London Spy. The storyline focuses on a gay romance between an MI6 code genius and an ordinary man, set at a time in history when homosexuality was illegal. The series was written by Tom Rob Smith, a bestselling gay author and Ben Whishaw, a gay actor, was cast in a lead role. The series broke boundaries by focusing on the relationships between the characters, instead of the fact that the characters were gay, a first for a mainstream BBC drama.
BOY MEETS GIRL AIRS ON BBC2
Boy Meets Girl was a BBC2 sitcom starring Rebecca Root, Harry Hepple and Denise Welch, which aired in 2015. It told the story of a younger man meeting an older woman, and their developing relationship. The sitcom was a first for the BBC as it featured Rebecca Root, a transgender actor, playing a transgender character and discussing transgender issues prominently. The script for the show was discovered through a talent search for positive portrayals of trans characters by All About Trans and the BBC Writer’s Room.
CAITLYN JENNER ‘REVEAL’ ON THE FRONT COVER OF VANITY FAIR
Also known as ‘the day Caitlyn Jenner broke the internet’. Caitlyn Jenner is a transgender woman and celebrity star of Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Early in 2015, it was revealed that she would be transitioning from male to female, with a new name and look, which would be revealed on the cover of an issue of Vanity Fair. Four hours into the morning that the magazine was released, Caitlyn had amassed more than one million followers on Twitter and began a worldwide trending topic. Her courage to transition has inspired many and helped to normalise the media’s view of LGBT people.
HOLLYOAKS INTRODUCES AN HIV+ STORYLINE
Early in 2015, the Channel 4 soap, Hollyoaks revealed that it’s lead gay character, Ste Hay, played by actor Keiron Richardson, would be diagnosed as HIV positive. Hollyoaks bosses revealed the storyline in a special episode, which focused on Ste attending a sexual health clinic to have a HIV test, alongside his husband John Paul McQueen (played by James Sutton). The Channel 4 soap worked with HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust for the episode, which they hoped would educate their millions of young viewers, gay and straight, on the dangers of unprotected sex.
IRELAND SAYS ‘YES’ TO MARRIAGE EQUALITY
In May 2015, the largely Catholic country of Ireland became the first country in the world to legalise gay marriage by popular vote, with a result of 62% of voters saying ‘Yes’ to marriage equality. The campaign to get people out to voting stations took to social media, with the hashtag #hometovote trending internationally to encourage young Irish expatriates to get back to Ireland in time to vote. Health minister Leo Varadkar, who came out as the country’s first openly gay minister, said the campaign had been “almost like a social revolution”.
KYLE SLATER MAKES HIS DEBUT ON EASTENDERS
Eastenders revealed a new character in 2015 – ‘Kyle’, who has become the first ever female-to-male transgender character played by a female-to-male transgender person in a UK soap. The actor playing Kyle, who has been revealed as Stacey Slater’s brother, is 21-year-old Riley Carter Millington, who said: “I am extremely excited to be joining EastEnders. I can honestly say that I have now fulfilled my two biggest dreams – to be living my life as a man and to be an actor.” Riley’s casting marks a significant shift towards LGBT+ acceptance in popular British television programming.
MARRIAGE EQUALITY ACROSS THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
In June 2015, the United States Supreme Court historically ruled that marriage could no longer be denied to same-sex couples, across all states. President Barack Obama called the ruling “a victory” and said it had come as a “consequence of the countless small acts of courage of millions of people across decades, who stood up, who came out who talked to parents — parents who loved their children no matter what. Folks who were willing to endure bullying and taunts and stayed strong and came to believe in themselves… and slowly made an entire country realise that love is love.” Several states are still opposed to gay marriage and try to refuse same-sex marriage licenses. Current presidential candidate Ted Cruz has said he would support a constitutional amendment to re-ban gay marriage.
MHAIRI BLACK IS ELECTED TO PARLIAMENT
Last year, at only 20 years old, Scottish National Party member Mhairi Black became Britain’s youngest MP since 1667, after defeating her main rival, Douglas Alexander to victory for Paisley and Renfrewshire South’s seat in parliament. Not only was it pretty incredible that a young woman had been elected to parliament, but a young, openly gay woman. Since being elected, Mhairi has been quick to quiet LGBT discrimination and abuse online. When asked whether it was a hard decision to come out, she replied “I’ve never been ‘in’”.