In alphabetical order
This category celebrates LGBT+ people that have used their online presence to speak out about LGBT+ issues or rights.
CALLE Y POCHÉ
Colombian content creators Daniela Calle and María José Garzón, better known as Calle y Poché, are an internet couple with a joint YouTube channel that has over 5.5 million subscribers. They are known to upload a variety of videos around (but not limited to) dance, make-up, DIY tips, music, and fashion. Their “Roast Yourself” video alone has over 94 million views! The couple have been vocal about the importance of LGBT+ representation in the media and have advocated for the protection of LGBT+ creators from unfair censorship. They consider themselves responsible to use their platform for good, and to provide young LGBT+ audiences, especially young Latinos, with the authentic representation that they deserve.
Chella is the first deaf, trans model to sign with the modelling agency IMG. He teaches sign language and has a YouTube channel with his girlfriend – Mary V Benoit. With almost 200k subscribers and over 2 million video views, Chella has become a leading voice on inclusivity and representation. Existing within the intersection of being Chinese, deaf, genderqueer, and Jewish, he has shown us all that identity is complex and that complexity is beautiful. In March 2018, Chella Man spoke about his journey as a trans person at a Tedx event with a talk titled ‘Becoming Him’. He continues to share his journey through transition post top surgery on his social media.
YouTube star Jazz Jennings is part of the ranks of prominent transgender individuals doing their part to increase the community’s visibility in the media. Whether it’s through her short film Denimwhich aims to raise awareness about the discrimination trans youth experience in schools, her reality television series I Am Jazzthat chronicles her life as a trans girl, or her Blindfold Magazinemini-documentary, Jennings has consistently been open about her experiences as a trans teen activist. She also teamed up with Dove’s Self-Esteem project and television producer Shonda Rhimes to launch Girl Collective, “a sisterhood that builds body confidence and challenges beauty stereotypes for all women and girls.”
Karin & Skyler
With over half a million YouTube subscribers, Karin DeStilo and Skyler Felts have continuously championed authentic LGBT+ story-telling by documenting their life online as a couple. Through videos like Let’s Get Real: Coming Outand the Girlfriend Tag!,they engage in candid conversations about navigating life as lesbians in a relationship, and hope to cultivate a positive online culture with the support of their fans, affectionately called the #K&Sgang.
Soon after wrapping up production on the critically acclaimed gay teen rom-com Love, Simon, Keiynan Lonsdale publicly embraced his sexuality by coming out as queer. When Lonsdale and his co-star Nick Robinson were awarded the MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss, he gave an impassioned speech, saying “I just want to say to every kid, you can live your dreams and wear dresses…You can live your dreams and kiss the one that you love… You can live your dreams and you can be yourself.” His latest single, Kiss the Boy, accompanied by its queer-positive music video, has resonated with countless LGBTQ+ youth.
Named Influencer of the Year 2018, Melanie Murphy is a bisexual Irish lifestyle YouTuber, author and journal designer. Her videos centre around self-care, sexuality, women’s rights, health and relationships, have garnered more than 60 million views to date. She has been vocal about numerous issues relating to bisexuality including bisexual erasure and biphobia. Her 2017 non-fiction book titled Fully Functioning Human (Almost)sold thousands of copies and topped the Irish book charts, and her second book titled If Onlyis due for a summer 2019 release. Melanie was named Digital Media wards: Blogger of the Year 2015 and Irish Beauty Blog Awards: Best Vlogger 2015.
Munroe Bergdorf uses her profile to advocate and empower individuals to fight for positive change. She was the first transgender model to be selected to take part in a national beauty campaign, but was (unfairly) dropped when her views on systemic racism were taken out of context in the press. Munroe regularly appears on national and international television news to comment on race, diversity, gender and LGBTQ+ topics and writes for publications including Grazia, i-D, them.us, Paper Magazine, The Evening Standard, and the Guardian. Soon after scooping up ‘Changemaker of the Year’ at the 2018 Cosmopolitan Awards, Munroe’s first documentary What Makes A Woman exploring the changing world of gender and identity premiered on Channel 4 in May 2018.
With more than 7 million followers on Instagram, and combined video views totalling 1 billion, Vittar is the most followed drag queen on social media. She is also the first ever drag queen to be nominated for a Grammy. She headlined three LGBT parades in São Paulo, was named one of the faces of a recent Coca-Cola campaign, and has collaborated with a string of high-profile musical acts—like Major Lazer, Charli XCX, Sofi Tukker, Anitta, and Diplo. As described by herself, “Pabllo Vittar is a boy. Who is girl. Who has no gender. Who is not afraid. Who prefers a thousand times to be on a stage than anywhere else in the world.
Model-turned-entrepreneur Teddy Edwardes of Channel 4’s First Dates fame is the creator of LICK, a queer women’s night in London, and LICKnMIX, an independent magazine “for queer womxn, by queer womxn”. Teddy has created a safe space in LICK, with 60-70% of its audience identifying as BAME and LGBT+. She has previously been nominated for the prestigious OutNews Global Power List and the DIVA Power List for her work.
Travis Alabanza is a performer, writer and theatre maker. In the last two years through their performance, social activism, writing and distinct style they have cemented themselves as one of the most prominent artistic trans voices, performing at venues such as The Tate, Roundhouse, Harvard University & having their work across mediums and form. A recent recipient of the Gay Times Future Honours awards, Alabanza’s also increased trans representation in theatre, with a critically praised lead role in ‘Jubilee’ at the Royal Exchange and Lyric Hammersmith. More recently, they created a sell-out, show titled Burgerz, which put a microscope on gender, and the transphobia that Travis and many other transgender people experience. Burgerz was voted by Guardian readers as one of the best theatre show’s of 2018.