In alphabetical order
This category celebrates LGBT+ people that have used their online presence to speak out about LGBT+ issues or rights.
Asifa first hit the spotlight in 2014 when she appeared on BBC 3 Free Speech in an attempt to raise awareness for the plight of LGBT Muslims. As a drag artist she is known as Britain’s first out Muslim drag queen having featured in C4’s Muslim Drag Queens. Through performing Asifa has come to terms with her transgender identity. Asifa has become a voice for intersectional Britain – not only for her trans, Asian, Muslim identity but also as a disabled person with severe sight loss. This year saw one of her proudest moments as she walked the first LGBT catwalk at Pakistan Fashion Week London. Asifa initially came out as transgender on YouTube and now uses her extensive social media following to talk about issues facing the LGBT+ community in Britain.
Star of the HBO TV series Euphoria, Barbie Ferreira takes the role of the sarcastic, fan fiction-writing Kat Hernandez. Her career began in modelling, where she was acclaimed for her glowing, unretouched photos that went viral and gained her a spot on Time’s Most Influential Teens of 2016 list. She appears in numerous online videos, from the How to Behave series on etiquette that won her a Webby Award for Best Web Personality/Host to promoting body positivity through Teen Vogue. She has famously stated: “I love being queer. I love being fat. I love being Brazilian. I love being from New York. All my identities are what make me Barbie.”
American actor, singer and fashion icon Brigette Lundy-Paine stars in the successful Netflix show Atypical and has a major role in Bill & Ted Face the Music, due to be released in August 2020. They sing with the Improvisational Voice Band and co-founded the online art publication Waif Magazine. Brigette came out as queer in 2018, and announced to their 1.1 million Instagram followers in November: “I’m non-binary, always felt a lil bit boy, lil bit girl, lil bit neither.” Brigette has been praised for their sensitive portrayal of Casey in Atypical, a series about a teenager with autism, as the character explores queer sexuality.
EUGENE LEE YANG
A producer, writer, director, and actor, Eugene Lee Yang is one of today’s most recognizable young Asian American faces online. One of faces of YouTube’s comedy series The Try Guys, with 6.65 million subscribers, and with 2.1 million personal Instagram followers, Eugene has long identified as queer, but came out as a gay man this year in spectacular fashion, via a YouTube dance and music video titled I’m Gay that portrayed scenes from his life. The video, linked to fundraising, has had more than 15 million views and raised $117,000 for The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention and crisis intervention organisation for queer youth.
YouTube star, transgender activist, author, TV personality and actor Gigi Gorgeous has nearly eight million followers, including 2.9 million subscribers to YouTube and 2.2 million on Instagram. Her wedding in June to girlfriend Nats Getty was watched by more than 3.6 million people. Gigi’s career began with making YouTube beauty videos, and at 19 she came out as a gay man, before in 2013 beginning her transition as a transgender woman. A documentary, This is Everything, chronicling her story, won a host of awards and she was named by Time Magazine as one the “25 Most Influential People on the Internet”. Her new book He Said, She Said is out now.
New York-based Kat Cunning’s career is only just beginning, but they are already turning heads – amassing a substantial Instagram following and huge LGBT+ following. The queer multi-faceted artist describes themselves as a “dancer-actor-gay-person-singer” and is known for their role in HBO’s The Deuce, alongside James Franco, as well as queer character ‘Sabine’ on Netflix’s Trinkets. After the successful release of several singles including King of Shadow and For the Love – the latter being a tribute to her relationship with their mother and the passing of their mother’s partner, Joan, the day before same-sex marriage became legal in New York – Kat is now working on their debut EP.
The young, black Scottish-Rwandan actor shot to fame in the Netflix series Sex Education, where he plays Eric, a gay teen who works out a plan with friends to make money by running an in-school sex therapy business. The role gained him two nominations in the MTV movie awards, for Best Breakthrough Performance and for Best Kiss. Sex Education has been praised by the LGBT+ community for its diverse representation and nuanced storytelling, and Ncuti said in an interview in Pink News: “It’s very important to see a black gay teen represented… because being a minority within a minority is an extremely difficult thing.”
Internet personality Rickey Thompson began his career on Vine and is now a prolific influencer on Instagram, becoming a sensation after Kylie Jenner reposted one of his videos. Having been bullied in school for being gay, Rickey used the internet as an outlet to share videos about his experiences. Through his relatable and comedic content, which often involves impromptu dancing and performance, Rickey has accumulated a following of 5 million on Instagram. In 2019 he landed a leading role in Youtube’s TV series Foursome and also teamed up with LGBT+ icon Mariah Carey for a special Christmas clip.
SUFI MALIK AND ANJALI CHAKRA
This happy couple found themselves an overnight sensation after they posted beautiful photographs celebrating their first anniversary as a couple on Twitter and Instagram. The photos showed Anjali, a Hindu Indian-American event planner and producer, and Sufi, a female Muslim Pakistani-American artist and photographer, dressed in traditional gowns and posing for a kiss under the carousel in Manhattan’s Bryant park. The two have become a symbol of a love without barriers – not only a same-sex relationship, but one which also transcends religious and political boundaries. The couple uses their newfound platforms to show others that LGBTQ people who look like them exist and can live happy, successful lives. They give back to their communities by fundraising for global and local charities, and sharing about queer, trans, and POC-owned businesses and creators on their social media.
Performer, writer and theatre maker Travis Alabanza has spent most of 2019 touring around the UK and Europe with their highly acclaimed, award winning debut show Burgerz, a response to the black, trans artist’s experience of transphobic abuse and violence in the UK, including having a burger thrown at them in broad daylight on Waterloo Bridge. Alongside Burgerz, Travis’ political art and writing has been recognised nationally and internationally, speaking at over 40 Universities, writing a popular column in the Metro, and listed by the Evening Standard as one of the 25 most influential under 25 year olds. In 2018 they were awarded the Gay Times Future Fighter award.