The past 16 months have been a very challenging time for everyone, including LGBTQ+ people. It is even more important than ever that we acknowledge the LGBTQ+ celebrities who have been making life better during this difficult time.
Many annual Pride events were cancelled in 2020 – and now in 2021 – because of coronavirus. These events are central to LGBTQ+ people. It is where we protest, commemorate the pioneers who forged the LGBTQ+ rights movement and celebrate what our community has achieved.
A lot of us have experienced loss of employment, absence of friends, or even bereavement.
These five individuals have been inspiring during a very tough year. It is because of people like this that I have been able to manage the pandemic better.
5. Nicole Faraday
Bad Girls, Emmerdale, Casualty – Nicole is an actor who has appeared in many soaps, as well as films (playing Vinnie Jones' wife in Kill Kane). Nicole is bi and often speaks out on issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community. I've missed seeing her at Pride events, wearing her colourful butterfly outfit. Once Nicole arrives then the party can get started!
4. Paris Lees
2021 has been a busy year for Vogue columnist Paris Lees. This incredible trans woman has just released her much-anticipated first book, called What It Feels Like for a Girl. This is definitely on my reading list for the summer! Paris advocates across a range of issues, including LGBTQ+ rights, mental health and the environment.
3. Jayne Ozanne
This gay Evangelical Christian activist and author hit the headlines earlier in the year when she stepped down from the government's LGBT Advisory Panel in protest at their stance on “conversion therapy”. Jayne continues to keep the issue in the spotlight, both in the UK and globally. She fights for the equality and dignity of all LGBTQ+ people, particularly those of faith.
2. Nicola Adams
Boxing champion Nicola Adams, alongside dancing pro Katya Jones, became the first same-sex couple to compete on Strictly Come Dancing. Sadly, the pandemic meant that we only got to see Nicola and Katya in action for a short time. Nicola is an icon who challenges many stereotypes and is widely regarded as a role model in the LGBTQ+ community.
1. Rina Sawayama
This musician and model has caused a sensation over the last year, not just with her dynamic approach to music and fabulous style, but also for being so outspoken on LGBTQ+ rights. Rina opened up publicly about her sexuality in 2018 and campaigns on a range of topics. She collaborated with Elton John, releasing a Chosen Family remix. Check it out if you haven't listened to the track yet!
Words by Philip Baldwin for Female First. You can follow Philip on Insta by clicking here.