Sir Richard Branson and Jess Glynne were among the celebrities to take home trophies at the 2018 NatWest British LGBT Awards in recognition of their efforts to advance the rights of the LGBT+ community.
The UK’s premier LGBT+ awards event celebrates the best British and international gay talent, as well as the straight allies who support them.
Sir Richard Branson was honored for his lifetime of support for the LGBT+ Community, whether via his diverse employment policy or his public backing of same-sex marriage.
In a touching speech, he said: “In places like Africa and the Far East, the battle’s far from won. I was recently in Uganda, where gay people are put into prison for life.
“The important thing is that we all now turn our attention to countries that are prosecuting and imprisoning gay people – and even executing gay people.”
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was awarded ‘Media Moment of the Year’ for his apology to the LGBT+ community over his country’s decades-long campaign to rid the military and civil service of gay people.
He said: “In Canada and around the world, pride in who we are, how we identify and who we love makes us strong. Our diversity grows stronger communities and pushes us towards a stronger future for everyone. Every one of us should be proud of who we are and have the chance to achieve our highest potential.”
Bake-Off presenters past and present scooped gongs at the star-studded bash, with Sue Perkins and Sandi Toksvig picking up prizes. Actress Laverne Cox, who has spoken out about transgender representation in the media, singer Jess Glynne, a renowned supporter of the LGBT+ community, and comedian John Bishop, who has promoted LGBT rights in football, all took home awards.
Connor Franta, whose soul-searching YouTube videos on gender expression reach millions, and Cooper Hefner, who featured the first transgender playmate in Playboy, were both honoured at the bash, which was hosted by Spice Girl Mel B and actor Duncan James.
Comedian Julian Clary and singer Calum Scott rounded off the list of celebrity winners. A host of star names attended the event, held at the London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square on Friday evening, in a demonstration of their support for the community.
Marjorie Strachan, Head of Inclusion at NatWest, said: “The NatWest British LGBT Awards have again proven to be a brilliant showcase of the people and organisations that use their platform to promote LGBT+ visibility in Britain.
“People in the public eye, community leaders, businesses and charities that have been recognised because of their efforts to advance the rights of LGBT+ communities should feel incredibly proud. NatWest is proud to be involved in this important celebration of diversity and inclusion.”
Sarah Garrett MBE, co-founder of the NatWest British LGBT Awards, said: “Every year the NatWest British LGBT Awards gets bigger and better. Our winners and nominees continue to make the world a better place for the LGBT+ community, using their platform to educate people in Britain and beyond about the need for equality.”
Full Winners List:
Special Recognition Award
Winner: Sir Richard Branson
HuffPost Loud and Proud Award
Winner: Julian Clary
Lifetime Achievement Award
Winner: Sandi Toksvig
Metro Guilty Pleasures Award
Winner: Calum Scott
Winner: Laverne Cox
MTV Music Artist
Winner: Jess Glynne
Virgin Atlantic Celebrity Ally
Winner: John Bishop
Broadcaster or Journalist
Winner: Sue Perkins
Winner: Justin Trudeau apologises to the LGBT+ Community
Winner: Connor Franta
Park Plaza Brand or Marketing Campaign
Joint winners: Playboy and YouTube
Charity or Community Initiative
Winner: Pride in London
2CITIES1BREAK Top LGBT+ Destination
Winner: Tel Aviv
MI5 Outstanding Contribution to LGBT+ Life
Winner: Susie Green, CEO, Mermaids
Corporate Straight Ally
Winner: Peter Madden, Arcadis
Winner: Joanna Walker, Virgin Money
LGBT+ Inspirational Leader
Winner: Pips Bunce, Credit Suisse
LGBT+ Corporate Rising Star
Winner: Jonathan Andrews, Reed Smith
LGBT+ Network Group
Winner: KPMG Breathe
Employer or Company