It’s time to celebrate! Here is your full round-up of winners.
GAY TIMES Honours 2023 celebrates the individuals and organisations who have had a profound effect on the lives of LGBTQ+ people over the past 12 months.
From RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Sasha Colby to Fellow Travelers star Jonathan Bailey and LGBTQIA+ helpline Switchboard, this year’s line-up of Honourees acknowledges people making a huge impact across music, TV, film, community and drag.
See the full list of Honours recipients below:
Future Fighter – Nadia Whittome
Whittome has redefined what it means to be an MP and brought meaningful LGBTQIA+ representation to the hallowed halls of Westminster.
Intrinsic to her work is the “amplifying the voices of marginalised people and their demands,” she exclusively told GAY TIMES. This includes calling on the government to condemn rising hatred towards LGBTQIA+ people, urging those in power to reduce waiting times for gender-affirming healthcare and speaking out about the importance of defending the Equality Act.
She explained: “I’m not just speaking as me, I’m representing my constituents, which is something much bigger than myself, and also movements that are much bigger than myself. So that also makes it easier to speak out because it’s not really about me.”
Rising Star in Music – Dua Saleh
Dua Saleh has seamlessly made huge strides in both music and acting. Revolting against the binary, they have fluidly intersected genres and created their own music that crosses over a glitchy alt-pop sound to sultry afrobeats and, more recently, emo genre.
The LA-based star has released three EPs Nūr, Rosetta and Crossover, all of which have received widespread critical acclaim and racked up more than 81 million streams cumulatively. The EPs were followed up with the album Crossover, which sits alongside an impressive portfolio of remixes and collaborations including Travis Scott, Bon Iver and Sampha.
This was followed by their acting breakout role in the third season of Netflix’s acclaimed series Sex Education. They starred as Cal Bowman, a new student from Minnesota. Like Saleh, Cal is non-binary and throughout the third and fourth seasons their character navigates gender dysphoria, microaggressions and chosen family networks. It is their unapologetic commitment to be themselves and carve their own path that they have been celebrated by young Black, Muslim, gender non-confirming and queer people.
On Screen Trailblazer – Bella Ramsey
At the age of 20, Ramsey has firmly established themselves as one of the most influential actors within the LGBTQIA+ community. Redefining our perception of an actor, Ramsey has carved a new path for non-binary talent and shaken up under-represented and often unexplored narratives on mainstream television, when starring in HBO Max’s post-apocalyptic series The Last of Us.
Alongside their acclaimed acting career, Ramsey has continued to use their platform to leverage coverage and platform the LGBTQIA+ community. Recently, Ramsey has taken their first foray into fashion partnering with trans-owned brand Both&, whose apparel is designed for transmasculine, gender non-conforming and non-binary people.
Speaking to GAY TIMES exclusively about the campaign, they explained their belief that “everybody deserv[es] to have clothes that fit their body, whether that’s plus-size clothes, petite-size clothing or clothing for transmasculine, non-binary people.”
Fashion Icon – Edward Enninful
The outgoing Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue and European Editorial Director has firmly established himself as a disruptor in the industry. From his inaugural appointment as Fashion Director of i-D at the age of 19, he has continued to challenge societal norms and redefine our understanding of beauty ideals.
Enninful has pioneered a new look in the industry that represents a true version of diversity and, through the pages of British Vogue, “promote[d] cultural conversations” that hold a diagnostic magnifying glass up to the definition of our understanding of Britishness in the 21st century.
“Inclusion and diversity inspires me,” he told GAY TIMES. “I want people to feel represented in my work.”
Across his acclaimed career, Enninful has won a string of awards including Fashion Creator of the Year by the British Fashion Council, while he was honoured with an OBE in 2016 for his Services to Diversity in the fashion industry.
Comedy Hero – Mawaan Rizwan
The comedian, writer and actor has come into his own in 2023 with the release of BBC Three’s trippy comedy Juice.
Key to his success is the combination of laugh-out-loud comedy intersected with a multifaceted exploration of queer British-Pakistani identity. Quietly interwoven into the plot is an important layer of representation; viewers are presented with a key-protagonist who is queer, British-Pakistani and a member of a family that easily flip into speaking Urdu, without the entire storyline being hooked on identity.
This bold, disruptive, nuanced portrayal of representation has quickly become a signature of Rizwan’s work. Speaking to GAY TIMES as part of his cover shoot, he explained: “I get to just make what I want to make. Representation is about giving more opportunities to more of us so that we get a fuller spectrum of stories”.
Drag Hero – Sasha Colby
Back in January, the Hawaiian queen finally graced the RuPaul’s Drag Race werkroom, where she became an instant frontrunner for the crown. One of the drag community’s most revered entertainers, Sasha memorably conquered Miss Continental and went viral on various occasions.
Sasha more than lived up to her name with four maxi-challenge wins – more than any other competitor – and was later crowned ‘America’s Next Drag Superstar’, making herstory in the process as the first trans woman of colour to win the series.
Sasha’s also continued to use her platform to speak out against harmful anti-trans rhetoric and the onslaught of anti-LGBTQIA+ bills in the US. On winning Drag Hero, she said: “It means the world. I am honored to be a drag hero to many that feel that there isn’t a lot of hope or acceptance. Being able to be a beacon of light in dark times is quite a privilege.”
International Community Trailblazer – Miss Major
A visionary activist and Stonewall veteran, Miss Major Griffin-Gracy (commonly referred to as just “Miss Major”) has been at the forefront of the transgender liberation movement and has dedicated her life’s work to improve the lives of her community.
Born in Chicago in the 1940s, her lived experience as a Black trans woman has both fuelled and informed her work to promote legislative freedoms and enhance the quality of life for LGBTQIA+ people – especially gender-diverse people facing social issues, such as police brutality and drug dependency.
Today, her work has culminated in the creation of the House of gg (also known as The Griffin-Gracy Educational and Historical Center), which is a safe haven for trans and gender non-conforming women of colour living in the southern states of the United States. An invaluable and pioneering community hub, it provides the tools and access to help trans women of colour blossom.
Excellence in Music – Slayyyter
The singer has justifiably earned themselves the title of queer icon with the unique ability to reinvent herself with every album drop. In her latest metamorphosis for her third album STARFUCKER, she has reimagined herself as a vampy neo-noir heroine. In doing so, the star has cultivated a passionate stan following. The origins of her success come from her revered DIY, digital-first approach to releasing music, which was exemplified by the viral success of 2019 single ‘Mine’.
Unashamed to be pigeonholed into one specific genre, STARFUCKER is an 80s glamazon, exaggerated, hyper-feminine, manicured aesthetic coupled with climaxing trance beats, post-punk bass lines and dramatised pop-vocals.
Slayyyter discussed this evolution of her artistry in her GAY TIMES Honours cover interview, explaining: “I feel like I have just levelled up as an artist completely. I still love and appreciate all my past projects but this new album feels like I have finally hit my stride as an artist.”
British Community Trailblazer – Switchboard
The lifeline service has provided vital support and signposting help to the LGBTQIA+ community since their inception in 1974. Key to their on-going success is their unique ability to pivot and move with the times.
This was further proven in 2023 through the release of a free 0800 number: a helpline which is open 365 days a year, from 10am until 10pm, for individuals to call free of charge.
Speaking on the decision to make the helpline free, Switchboard CEO Stephanie Fuller said: “With the current cost of living crisis, it has never been more vital that the LGBTQIA+ community can access the Switchboard service at no charge to them. Moving the helpline to a free phone number ensures that no caller will have to consider the cost when deciding to pick up the phone to call Switchboard.”
Changemaker – Jonathan Bailey
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 popular 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.
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.”
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?”
Outstanding Impact – Billy Porter
In 2023, the multihyphenate star, who dropped his brand new album Black Mona Lisa today, has continued to have a stratospheric rise in his career. After treading the floorboards of Broadway, Porter turned his attention to the screen by starring in Ryan Murphy’s trailblazing trans drama Pose as Pray Tell.
The critically-acclaimed drama saw Porter cement himself in history as the first openly gay Black man to win a Primetime Emmy Award.
Porter is acutely aware of his position in the LGBTQIA+ community he so proudly embodies and represents. He uses his platform to fiercely present his authentic self, previously telling GAY TIMES: “Everybody says ‘just be who you are!’ It’s easy to be who you are when who you are is what’s popular. I’ve always been queer; it’s always been a homophobic business. Period. The end.”
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.