Jonathan Bailey has been named the recipient of this year’s GAY TIMES Honour for Changemaker.
In 2020, the Olivier Award-winning actor was catapulted to worldwide superstardom as a result of his role in Netflix’s regency era dramedy Bridgerton, which has become one of the streamer’s most series in history.
Recently, Bailey has received widespread critical acclaim for his role as Tim Laughlin, a young man brimming with idealism and religious faith, in Showtime’s period drama Fellow Travelers.
Based on Thomas Mallon’s lauded novel of the same name, the eight-episode miniseries chronicles the toxic romance between Tim and State Department official Hawkins Fuller (Matt Bomer) in the shadow of McCarthy-era Washington.
His first major LGBTQIA+ project, Bailey said in his GAY TIMES cover story that “you can’t get more queer than Fellow Travelers” and added that “it’s the gayest show I could find.”
“Someone asked me after Bridgerton, ‘What do you want to do next?’ and that is an amazing position to be in, having worked for so long to suddenly have real choice in what you do,” he explained.
“I knew that I wanted to do a sweeping gay love story because I hadn’t seen it, especially one that’s detailed over eight hours.”
As one of the world’s most high-profile LGBTQIA+ actors, Bailey is now using his platform to enact change via his new partnership with Just Like Us, the official LGBTQIA+ young person’s charity.
“I’ve worked with Albert Kennedy Trust before, and there’s so many different charities that I look forward to working with,” he said. “Just Like Us really hit something that I felt was important. One thing is, how can people describe what they’re feeling and experiencing if they don’t have the vocabulary and tools to do so?”
Just Like Us was founded in 2016. The charity has since collaborated with thousands of primary schools, secondary schools and colleges across the UK to improve the lives of queer youth with their annual, UK-wide celebration of LGBTQIA+ awareness, School Diversity Week.
Led by their Ambassador Programme, which trains LGBTQIA+ people aged 18-25 to speak about allyship and their own personal experiences with sexuality and/or gender identity, School Diversity Week sees thousands of schools take part with student talks and assemblies.
The partnership came to fruition after “extraordinary shift of years of opportunities and possibilities” for Bailey, which includes his television roles in Bridgerton and Fellow Travelers, as well as the upcoming movie adaptation of Wicked, where he will play Fiyero.
“I now have a platform by which I can help guide people towards different narratives and causes,” said Bailey. “You get a fanbase and it’s almost like a conga line, where you can then lead those people to other stories which feel really important to you. To be able to go from [Bridgerton] to Fellow Travelers and Just Like Us is something I’ll be proud of for the rest of my life.”
GAY TIMES Honours 2023 celebrates the individuals and organisations who have had a profound effect on the lives of LGBTQIA+ people over the past 12 months.
This year’s line-up of Honourees acknowledges people making a huge impact in music, TV, film, community and drag.
The new digital edition of GAY TIMES Magazine spotlights this year’s winners and is available to read now on the GAY TIMES app, Apple News +, Readly and Flipster.
To follow all of the action from GAY TIMES Honours 2023, check out our Instagram @GAYTIMES.