Tonight sees the return of the NatWest British LGBT Awards, a night dedicated to rewarding the great and good of the gay world.
Dubbed the ‘Gay Oscars’, the awards always draw a plethora of showbiz names, with Tom Daley and Caitlyn Jenner rubbing shoulders with Sir Ian McKellen and Alan Carr at previous bashes.
Here’s what to expect from this year’s NatWest British LGBT Awards:
1. Mel B makes a return to the public eye
Former Spice Girl Mel B has been keeping a low profile recently, but the NatWest British LGBT Awards marks her return to the red carpet. She’s hosting the ceremony alongside Duncan James, the Hollyoaks actor and former Blue singer.
Mel said: “It’s going to be a night filled with heartwarming and heartbreaking moments, unbelievable surprises and an enviable, fabulous guest list.”
2. It’s going to be hilarious
Matt Lucas, Paul O’Grady, Sue Perkins, Sandi Toksvig, Susan Calman and John Bishop are all up for gongs at this Friday’s bash, meaning the guests are probably in for a treat when it comes to the acceptance speeches. Pray for those on the front row.
3. It’s also probably going to be political
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is nominated for an ‘ally’ gong, while Australia’s historic decision to legalise same-sex marriage after an overwhelming referendum result could potentially swipe the ‘media moment of the year’ award.
Expect emotional, powerful moments throughout the night to celebrate moving the LGBTQ agenda forward.
4. There will be surprises
Last year the organisers kept Caitlyn Jenner’s attendance secret until the very last minute. In the judging room, the panel often likes to make room for special individuals to be recognised; people who perhaps we were unaware of at the start of the year when the public voted on their favourites.
This year an extra gong will be handed out to a celebrity who made a massive difference to the British TV landscape.
5. Fashion makes a splash
Giants of the fashion world Edward Enninful and Cara Delevigne both make the shortlist this year (in the Journalist and Celebrity categories respectively).
Sarah Garrett, co-founder of the British LGBT Awards, said: “The pages of Vogue look completely different since Edward took the helm. It’s cheering to see the pages of our magazines starting to reflect the diversity of our society.”
6. It’s not just about celebrities
Alongside the showbiz categories, the awards recognize people who’ve helped fight for the equality of LGBTQ individuals.
Marjorie Strachan, head of inclusion at NatWest, said: “The awards aren’t just for celebrities, they also champion those who work regular jobs but put in an extraordinary effort in helping LGBT+ people.”
The British LGBT Awards will take place tonight and will be live-streamed on YouTube from 9pm.