Meet the visionaries blazing a trail for LGBTQIA women and non-binary people
When DIVA magazine launched the DIVA Power List just seven years ago, with the aim of shining an unashamedly bright spotlight on some of the incredible women in our community, we struggled to find 100 out-and-proud women to make up the numbers. Today, seven years later, we have – very reluctantly – been forced to be more ruthless than ever as we have faced the unenviable task of not including a host of high achievers from the list. Tough for those who missed out, but what an endorsement of the depth of talent in our community of strong, proud women.
The DIVA Power List is one of the highlights of Lesbian Visibility Week, a time where we celebrate a community that has for so long existed on the margins – under-appreciated, undervalued and under-represented. It cannot be denied that the past 50 years have seen huge strides made by the LGBTQIA community as a whole but, even now, so many of the victories that are now taken for granted – equal marriage, the right to serve in the military, the right to adopt children – have been laid at the door of gay men. But while our brothers’ achievements over the past five decades should not be ignored, neither should the seminal part played by women who love women in the fight for equality be airbrushed from history. And if you’re not sure why Lesbian Visibility Week is needed, ask yourself what the lesbian flag looks like. If you don’t know, you have your answer!
Lesbian Visibility Week is fiercely inclusive of trans people, as is DIVA magazine, which celebrates its thirtieth birthday next year. I am saddened that there is a vocal minority within our community which appears to have forgotten about its own struggles against prejudice and bigotry and is now directing precisely the same narrow-minded intolerance against a tiny section of the population. If you are a trans woman and you are reading this, I want to assure you that DIVA and the overwhelming majority of lesbians stand with you. Those who seek to sow division, when standing together makes us all stronger, will never win!
I spend a lot of time in the US, and some of the anti-LGBTQIA rhetoric and, even worse, legislation is truly horrific. Much of this rollback of rights is driven by the hard religious right and we can count ourselves lucky that, in the UK, the conservative Christian right holds little sway over Westminster. But that does not stop those who seek to diminish our rights gaining inspiration from the other side of the Atlantic. We must fight alongside our American counterparts against the onslaught they are facing while, at the same time, ensure that we do not become infected by the poisonous rhetoric of intolerance.
With yet another economic downturn having a disproportionate impact on minorities, it is important that those of us who can, pick up the slack. For example, when Rena Brennan’s Shutters: A Lesbian Rock Opera failed to receive funding as a direct result of Arts Council cuts, DIVA has stepped in to raise money. I sympathise with the Arts Council and similar bodies who have to make tough, often heartbreaking decisions, but promoting diversity in the arts and elsewhere is not just good for minorities, it is also important for cohesion and understanding in wider society.
Find out more about Lesbian Visibility Week at lesbianvisibilityweek.com
Model, author & activist
Munroe is a model and LGBTQIA activist. Motivated to become a model after witnessing the lack of diversity in the industry, Munroe was the first transgender woman to model for L’Oréal. Similarly, in 2022, she became the first transgender woman to appear on the cover of Cosmopolitan UK, having been named their Changemaker of the Year in 2018, a trailblazing move for trans visibility. She has been an active voice for trans people, becoming the face of Illamasqua’s Beauty Spotlight campaign in 2017, highlighting gender fluidity. In 2019, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Brighton for her work towards furthering trans rights and was appointed as a National Advocate for UN Women UK. In 2021, she was recognised with the GAY TIMES Honour for British Community Trailblazer. Munroe is a proud ambassador for gender-diverse and transgender youth charity Mermaids and has spoken at various international panels on gender, inclusivity and race – from Oxford to Princeton universities. Her memoir, Transitional: In One Way Or Another, We All Transition was published earlier this year.
Char Bailey – Autism & LGBTQIA campaigner
Char is an award-winning facilitator and a director at Birmingham Pride UK, autism advocate within the LGBTQIA community and board member at Neurodiversity In Business. She is also involved with organising UK Black Pride as their education and inclusion officer.
Eva Echo – Activist, writer & public speaker
Eva Echo is a transgender and mental health activist, writer and public speaker, drawing on her own experiences as an East Asian trans woman. She is director of innovation at Birmingham Pride and a director at Trans In The City. Eva sits on the Crown Prosecution Service’s hate crime panel.
Jack Monroe – Food writer & journalist
Jack is a British food writer and journalist, campaigning for poverty and hunger relief issues, who rose to prominence through their blog, A Girl Called Jack, now renamed Cooking On A Bootstrap, where inexpensive recipes are shared. They have campaigned alongside organisations such as Unite and Oxfam.
Katie Neeves – Founder of Cool2BTrans
Katie formed Cool2BTrans to advocate for trans visibility through her media appearances, public speaking, blogs and training courses, drawing motivation from her own journey. Her mission is to inspire other trans people and to educate everyone else about trans issues by sharing her story using the power of humour.
Mikaela Loach – Climate justice activist
Based in Edinburgh, Jamaican born Mikaela is a climate justice activist who is also the author of It’s Not That Radical, a call-to-action book to transform the world. With over 100,000 followers on Instagram, she uses her voice to make the climate movement more inclusive and accessible.
Nancy Kelley – Chief executive officer, Stonewall
Nancy is the chief executive of Stonewall, the organisation behind the global movement campaigning for LGBTQIA+ human rights. Her career has focused on social justice, and she holds degrees in English from the universities of Bristol and Cambridge, and in Law from the University of London.
Phyll Opoku-Gyimah – LGBTQIA political activist
The LGBTQIA political activist better known as Lady Phyll has dedicated her life to racial, gender and queer equity. She is the co-founder and executive director of UK Black Pride and the executive director of Kaleidoscope Trust. Lady Phyll is a force within UK politics, campaigning publicly as a Black lesbian and highlighting the importance of intersectionality.
Sue Sanders – LGBTQIA rights activist
For over 50 years, British LGBTQIA rights activist Sue has challenged all forms of oppression. As chair of Schools OUT UK, which aims is to visibilise LGBTQIA people in all their diversity, she also co-founded LGBT+ History Month and The Classroom, a website which provides resources on LGBTQIA issues for use across the curriculum.
Valentino Vecchietti – Intersex consultant, writer, creative & founder of Intersex Equality Rights UK
Writer and artist Valentino created the Intersex-Inclusive Pride flag in 2021. She is the founder of Intersex Equality Rights UK, an intersex-led organisation working to create systemic change for support and inclusion in schools, universities and workplaces. She is also a diversity speaker and consultant advocating for intersex visibility and representation.
National manager, Micro Rainbow
Moud is a national manager for Micro Rainbow, a charity that supports homeless LGBTQIA people seeking asylum. Micro Rainbow recently won Charity of the Year at the prestigious Burberry British Diversity Awards. She is an LGBTQIA and human rights activist with more than 15 years’ experience working with grassroots community groups. As a lesbian and Zimbabwean refugee, Moud passionately supports LGBTQIA people seeking asylum and refugees, especially women in immigration detention centres. She was a founding member of UK Black Pride and is its current chair of the board of trustees. Moud is the recipient of an Attitude Pride Award and also earned a Kaleidoscope Lifetime Achievement Award in 2022. She was recently named as one of the BBC 100 Women in 2022 in recognition of her work with LGBTQIA refugees and asylum seekers.
Dame Angela Eagle – MP for Wallasey
A backbencher in the House of Commons and the first lesbian Labour minister to voluntarily come out in UK history, Dame Angela has been MP for Wallasey since 1992. Hailing from Yorkshire, she graduated from St. John’s College in Oxford with a BA (hons) degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics, and was appointed dame commander of the order of the British empire in 2021 in recognition of her political work and services to equality.
Hannah Bardell – MP for Livingston
Hannah has been the Scottish National Party serving member of parliament for her hometown, Livingston, since 2015 and was its spokesperson for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport between 2018 and 2019. Having studied at the University of Stirling, Hannah started her professional life in commercial television.
Helen Jones MBE – Mental health & inclusion specialist
As the former chief executive officer of MindOut, an LGBTQIA mental health charity based in Brighton, Helen draws her inspiration and motivation for her activism from her own personal mental health experience. She was awarded an MBE in 2022 in recognition of her contributions to the field.
Leni Morris – Chief executive officer, Galop
Leni has been CEO of Galop, the LGBT+ anti-abuse and violence charity, since 2020. Through its helplines, advocacy and counselling services, Galop supports thousands of LGBTQIA victims and survivors of abuse and violence ever year, while also pushing for better protections for LGBTQIA people in the UK.
Liz Ward – Director of programmes, Stonewall
As director of programmes at Stonewall, Liz leads the workplace, empowerment, education and sport teams, delivering the Diversity Champions programme, coordinating workshops and conferences and ensuring the sport sector is inclusive for all. Her work aims to ensure LGBTQIA people are free to be, in every part of life.
Mandu Reid – Leader, Women’s Equality Party
Mandu is the leader of the UK Women’s Equality Party, campaigning to end violence against women and girls, challenge misogyny, racism and homophobia in policing, and for free universal childcare with proper shared parental leave. She graduated from the London School of Economics and was previously a member of the Labour party.
Mhairi Black – MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South
Paisley-born, Mhairi is an MP for the Scottish National Party and its deputy leader for Westminster since December 2022. Graduating from the University of Glasgow with a first-class honours degree in Politics and Public Policy, in 2015, she was the youngest elected member of parliament in the House of Commons.
Nadia Whittome – MP for Nottingham East
Having previously been a care worker and hate crime worker, in 2019 Nadia became the youngest member of the House of Commons, representing her home city as the Labour MP for Nottingham East. She is a socialist and a passionate campaigner against poverty and injustice.
Dr Pip Gardner – Chief executive officer, The Kite Trust
Pip is a vocal gender equality and LGBTQIA rights activist currently heading up the Cambridgeshire-based LGBTQIA youth charity, The Kite Trust. Ze is a board member for Transgender Europe, a trustee at CharityComms and was previously a member of the Generation Equality Youth Task Force convened by UN Women.
Stephanie Fuller – Chief executive officer, Switchboard
Appointed as the chief executive of Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline in 2022, Stephanie is an experienced charity leader with years of experience in the sector, having worked for the AKT and as a trustee for Palace For Life Foundation. Her team recently published an impact report highlighting why thousands of people reach out to Switchboard.
Vice president of strategic change, RS Group PLC
Emily transitioned at work in 2019 after over 20 years working in projects and change. She is passionate about increasing visibility of members of the LGBTQIA community and amplifying women’s voices in the workplace. She is a director of Trans In The City, working towards its aim of furthering awareness and inclusion of transgender, non-binary and gender-diverse people in business. Emily is also an ambassador for This Can Happen, supporting employers globally to create a positive environment for good mental health in the workplace. She has a special interest in the mental health challenges facing members of the LGBTQIA community. Emily also founded and chairs the world’s first professional rugby supporters’ association for LGBTQIA people, QuinsPride, working to make sport fully inclusive. Emily brings passion to everything she does. She leads from the front and has a natural ability to coach and nurture. She is not afraid to challenge the status quo and is fearless in driving change and advocating for what she truly believes in.
Arlene McDermott – Head of business management, London Stock Exchange Group
Arlene is the head of business management, group legal and compliance as well as co-chairing the London Stock Exchange Group’s LGBTQ+ network, LSEG Pride, garnering support from the most senior levels of the organisation. She has also participated in several panels and supports Lesbian Visibility Week and Trans Awareness Week.
Ellis Cook – Equity & inclusion coordinator, Channel 4
Ellis is passionate about equity and inclusion, both at Channel 4 and in the wider world. She aims to influence positive change and champion a culture of collaboration. She was the first person at assistant level to co-chair its LGBTQIA employee network, 4Pride, and is now an equity and inclusion coordinator.
Georgina Court – Global inclusion manager, Clifford Chance
Georgina is a loud and proud queer woman, campaigner and changemaker at Clifford Chance. In her global inclusion role she has been responsible for designing and implementing a number of initiatives, events and strategies that have achieved growth within the firm’s inclusion space. Georgina is also the LGBTQIA network’s co-chair.
Hayley Vaughan – Assistant director, EY
Hayley is an assistant director in EY’s talent attraction and acquisition team and is also co-chair of EY’s LGBTQIA network, Unity. She champions diversity, equity and inclusivity throughout the recruitment process and also within the wider business, with the aim of creating a better working world.
Jacqui Lloyd – Head of apprenticeships & diversity programmes, Citi
Senior vice president at Citi, Jacqui leads on apprenticeships and diversity programmes. She was co-chair of Citi’s LGBTQIA network, Pride, for over four years and continues to be an active, visible lesbian role model, involved in extensive advocacy and inclusion work, helping drive LGBTQIA equality within financial services.
Jacqui Rhule-Dagher – Litigation associate, Hogan Lovells International LLP
Jacqui understands that intersectionality is key to diversity, equity and inclusion. She is a lawyer and member of The Law Society’s LGBTQ+ solicitors network steering committee. Jacqui has written articles for DIVA, PinkNews and The Lawyer. She has also acted as a panellist for FTSE 100 companies.
Jay Ersapah – Head of financial risk management & model risk, Silicon Valley Bank UK
Jay is a managing director at Silicon Valley Bank UK, and is a trustee for Diversity Role Models, working with schools to end LGBTQIA bullying. Across her career, she has held roles in finance and risk at Citi, Barclays and Deloitte. She was listed in the OUTstanding Top 100 Future Leaders 2022.
Lea Duchemin – Client partner, Deliveroo
With a drive to make corporate spaces more inclusive for the LGBTQIA community, Lea advocates for diversity, equity and inclusion at Deliveroo, helping build welcoming, safe and sustainable communities in and outside of the business. She is a co-lead of Deloveroo, Deliveroo’s global LGBTQIA employee network.
Michelle Raymond – Director of business development, myGwork
Michelle is director of business development at myGwork, a diversity and inclusion consultant and public speaker. She holds an MBA and a Master’s in Global Entertainment and Music Business. Alongside her corporate work, Michelle performs as the music artist Michi and has opened for artists including Miley Cyrus, Meghan Trainor and Carly Rae Jepsen.
CORPORATE ROLE MODEL
Chair, FA Women’s Super League & Women’s Championship Football
A veteran of the media industry, Dawn held senior positions at ITV, Channel 5 and BSkyB and is a non-executive director for Channel 4, Grosvenor Estates and Blackbird. She smashed the glass ceiling in television at ITV during the 1980s, allowing the ladder to be lowered for other women, many of whom count her as their mentor. Previously CEO of Getty Images, she now chairs the Barclays FA Women’s Super League and Championship. She championed a record deal for broadcast rights, ensuring the visibility of the women’s game and role models for young girls. Dawn was a member of the Government’s expert panel for a fan-led review of football, giving voice to the often disenfranchised football fan. She also chairs the Digital Theatre and National Youth Theatre, where her relentless work has been instrumental in raising millions of pounds towards outreach programmes, giving access to disadvantaged young people throughout the UK. An out and proud lesbian co-mother of two daughters, she is involved in numerous LGBTQIA initiatives, including being a judge for INvolve’s OUTstanding ranking since its inception in 2011.
Bryony Jackson-Doward – General manager, EE
The general manager of telecoms company EE, Bryony attended her first Pride event in 2003 in Manchester, recalling her surprise at seeing so many people from the LGBTQIA community coming together for visibility, validation and celebration. She is passionate about civil rights and social action, as well as animal welfare.
Cathryn Wright – Managing director, Sedulo
Cathryn is managing director of Sedulo, the award-winning national advisory firm and investment house. Prior to this, Cathryn was managing director of LGBTQIA rights charity Stonewall. She is also a trustee of Manchester International Festival and Factory International, and is committed to building inclusive working cultures.
Charlotte Weatherall – Director of sales & marketing, Corinthia London
Charlotte was appointed as director of sales and marketing for Corinthia London in 2022. With an impressive hospitality résumé spanning across the UK and internationally for luxury brands such as The Langham, Mandarin Oriental and Rocco Forte Hotels, she is experienced at driving a high performance culture and leading strategic direction.
Emma Springham – Chief marketing officer, TSB
Emma is passionate about equality, diversity and inclusion in her marketing, creative and team culture. Currently the chief marketing officer at TSB, during her career she has worked for Post Office, Royal Mail, Allianz, NatWest and Barclays. She is focused on LGBTQIA issues and mental health, and was listed in the OUTstanding Top 100 Executives 2021.
Julia Hoggett – Chief executive officer, London Stock Exchange plc
Julia joined the London Stock Exchange Group in April 2021 and is its first openly gay chief executive officer. She held the positions of director of market oversight and head of wholesale banking supervision at the Financial Conduct Authority. Julia is number two in OUTstanding’s 2022 list of top LGBTQ+ executives.
Nicola Butler – Owner, NoteWorthy
Nicola is a one of the best connected travel advisors in the UK and creates once in a lifetime memories and experiences, from visiting the top tourism venues through to accessing the inaccessible in the UK, Ireland and Paris. She is recognised by Travel + Leisure and Condé Nast Traveller as a top travel specialist.
Rebecca Dandridge – Director of public affairs UK&I for HIV, Gilead Sciences
An expert in communications in the pharmaceutical industry, Rebecca is also proud to champion LGBTQIA education and an inclusive environment for LGBTQIA parents in and outside of Gilead Sciences. She is passionate about helping to grow company cultures that have pride in their inclusion and diversity.
Sara Geater – Chief operating officer, All3Media
Sara is COO at global production and distribution business, All3Media. Previous roles have included CEO of Fremantle Media UK and director of rights and business affairs at the BBC. Sara sits on the National Film and Television School Board. She is a barrister and a fellow of the Royal Television Society and the Royal Society of Arts.
Dame Kelly Holmes
Double Olympic champion & motivational speaker
In 2004, Kelly competed at the Athens Olympics and won not one, but two gold medals, making her the oldest woman to win either race, as well as the first woman to win two gold medals for Great Britain at the same games. This established her legacy as an athletics hero and national treasure. Since retiring from athletics, Kelly has founded the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, been a regular panellist on Loose Women, and been outspoken on subjects such as mental heath awareness and diversity and inclusion. In 2022, Kelly publicly came out as a gay woman and released her powerful documentary, Kelly Holmes: Being Me, which shares an emotional journey of coming out later in life, as well as shedding light on the realities of LGBTQIA lives in the army. Speaking to DIVA for its Lesbian Visibility Issue, Kelly said: “I believe that one person can make a huge difference to somebody’s life by empowering and enabling, by giving them a chance, an opportunity and hope […] it was my PE teacher who encouraged me to go to an athletics club and told me not to ever give up. And I never did.”
Adele, Roberts – Broadcaster, DJ & reality TV personality
Adele is a television personality, DJ and British broadcaster hailing from Southport. She began her radio career at Rock FM in 2002 and has worked for BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 2. She is known for her appearances in Big Brother, I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! and Celebrity Coach Trip.
Anna Richardson – TV presenter & writer
Writer and journalist Anna started her television career presenting Channel 4’s The Big Breakfast and was later nominated for an RTS Award. She has since presented several television shows, including The Sex Education show and Changing Rooms, and is currently presenting Naked Attraction.
Fay Greaves – Reality TV personality
The lead for engagement for learning with SEAX Trust, an education management trust, Fay was also a contestant in the popular reality television game show, The Traitors, hosted by Claudia Winkleman. Originally from Ipswich, she is especially passionate about arts, culture and social care.
Jordan Gray – Comedian & singer
First appearing on the fifth series of reality talent show, The Voice UK, Jordan was a semi-finalist with her comedy skit. She is most well-known for her second tour, Is It A Bird? in 2022, for which she was nominated for an Edinburgh Fringe Comedy Award.
Rosie Jones – Comedian & actor
Best known for her BAFTA nominated hit travel series, Trip Hazard and Mission: Accessible, Rosie is author of The Amazing Edie Eckhart, as well as numerous appearances on shows such as Live At The Apollo, The Last Leg, 8 Out Of 10 Cats, Cats Does Countdown, Mock The Week, Would I Lie To You, The Jonathan Ross Show and The Ranganation, to name just a few!
Sandi Toksvig OBE – Author, comedian, presenter & writer
Sandi is a Danish-British broadcaster with a career spanning 40 years. She has published several books, written plays and presented countless radio and TV shows, including QI, The News Quiz, Extraordinary Escapes and The Great British Bake Off. She is a political activist and co-founder of the Women’s Equality Party.
Steph McGovern – Journalist & presenter
A journalist and television presenter, Steph is the host of Channel 4’s Steph’s Packed Lunch, a British daytime TV programme where features on showbiz, food and news are broadcast in front of a live audience. Previously she has also worked as the main business presenter for BBC Breakfast.
Sue Perkins – Actor, broadcaster, comedian, presenter & writer
Sue is a broadcaster, comedian, writer and one half of comedy act, Mel and Sue. She co-hosted The Great British Bake Off, has presented multiple travel documentaries, is the host of Radio 4’s Just A Minute and has recently been BAFTA-nominated for her Netflix show, Perfectly Legal.
Suzi Ruffell – Comedian & podcaster
A multi-award-nominated comedian, Suzi’s last tour, Dance Like Everyone Is Watching, received critical acclaim and was recorded as an Amazon Special. Suzi has also appeared on numerous shows, such as Live At The Apollo, The Jonathan Ross Show, QI, The Last Leg and Womanhood. Suzi is also well-loved for her hugely popular podcasts, Like Minded Friends and Out. She is currently touring new comedy show, Snappy.
Actor & musician
Heather is an actor, musician and LGBTQIA activist who has blazed a trail for LGBTQIA onscreen representation. Perhaps best known for her role in BBC’s drama series, Waterloo Road, Heather’s credits include The Chase, Holby City, This England and, of course, Lip Service – a groundbreaking show which was hailed by DIVA as “the British L Word” – where she played detective sergeant Sam Murray. Back in 2021, DIVA celebrated its 300th issue by having the iconic trailblazer featured as its cover star. Speaking to DIVA on Lip Service and how representation has changed since the series came to an end, Heather said: “It’s changed massively. What’s really cool is the integration of LGBT+ where it’s not the focal issue, where that’s just a little add-on. It would be nice to see something else like Lip Service again. There is space for those series where the straight people are the people on the periphery!” Many from our community have delighted in watching Heather bringing WLW visibility to Albert Square in her role as Eve Unwin on BBC’s EastEnders. We’re clearly not alone as Heather took home the prize for Best Newcomer at last year’s Inside Soap Awards.
Bella Ramsey – Actor
Bella is a rising star with a growing repertoire of work and is currently starring in the popular drama series, The Last Of Us. Bella is well known for her breakout role in hit HBO fantasy show, Game Of Thrones, playing the character of noble woman Lyanna Mormont between 2016 and 2019.
Genesis Lynea – Actor
Genesis is taking the acting world by storm, appearing in hit TV shows like The Baby, Shadow And Bone and A Discovery Of Witches. In addition to her onscreen work she has enjoyed success onstage, including her performance as the original Anne Of Cleves in the musical SIX.
Eliot Salt – Actor & writer
Hailing from Manchester, Eliot studied acting at LAMDA before making her television debut on Channel 4’s GameFace in 2019. She is best known for starring in teen drama Fate: The Winx Saga (Netflix) and Normal People (BBC). She will appear in the upcoming third season of Slow Horses (Apple TV).
Emma Corrin – Actor
Emma is best known for playing Lady Diana Spencer in Season 4 of The Crown, earning them an Emmy nomination amongst others. Up next is their lead role in FX series, Retreat. Emma is currently filming Robert Eggers’ gothic horror Nosferatu and has recently been announced to star in Marvel Studios’ Deadpool 3. Last year, they stared in Orlando in the West End and feature films Lady Chatterley’s Lover and My Policeman.
Isobel Thom – Actor
Isobel made queer history last summer, starring in I, Joan at Shakespeare’s Globe. Charlie Josephine’s play, a non-binary retelling of Joan Of Arc, was hailed as a bold and unapologetic celebration of queerness. Isobel’s stunning performance was met with critical acclaim and an outpouring of love from the LGBTQIA community.
Golda Rosheuvel – Actor & singer
Guyanese-British actor and singer Golda is best known for her role as Queen Charlotte in Netflix hit series, Bridgerton, which premiered in 2020. Her other television performances include EastEnders, Silent Witness and Death In Paradise, as well as stage credits in Macbeth, Bad Girls: The Musical and a lesbian interpretation of Othello.
Ki Griffin – Actor
Ki is a British non-binary intersex actor and LGBTQIA advocate who debuted on television show Hollyoaks. Since then, they have starred in short LGBTQIA parenting film, Kindred by Bambou Kenneth, which premiered at Venice Film Festival, and in Molly McGlynn’s semi-autobiographical feature film, Bloody Hell, exploring a teenage girl’s experience with MRKH Syndrome, which premiered at SXSW film festival this spring.
Kizzy Edgell – Actor
A British actor, Kizzy shot to fame through their role as queer teen Darcy in the Netflix television series, Heartstopper. They identify as non-binary or genderqueer and maintain a strong theme of LGBTQIA activism throughout their online presence and work.
Yasmin Finney – Actor
2022 Screen Star of Tomorrow, Yasmin is fast becoming one of the most influential trans actors. She is best known for her breakout role as Elle in Netflix’s hit LGBTQIA series, Heartstopper, which will be returning this summer for a second series. Yasmin will also star in the upcoming and highly anticipated special of BBC’s Doctor Who, to coincide with the show’s 60th anniversary.
Emeli Sandé MBE
With 19 million singles and six million albums sold, including three UK number ones, and four BRIT Awards (including Best Female twice), British singer-songwriter Emeli is an internationally acclaimed artist. Her hits include Heaven, Read All About It and Next To Me. Emeli has always attracted a huge queer fanbase and when the international pop star came out publicly in 2022, she allowed so many to feel seen and heard. The music video for her song, There Isn’t Much, struck a chord with many queer listeners and viewers through its lyrics and the group of LGBTQIA dancers who join Emeli in the video. Emeli has used her music and platform to bring awareness to issues such as mental health, especially within the Black community. In her 2022 cover story interview with DIVA, Emeli shared a heartfelt message for readers who may be struggling with their own identity: “You are who you are and only you know that. You hiding yourself, not being the full person you are, it’s a detriment to the whole of humanity. Yes, it’s difficult, but there is a whole community out here. We will embrace you. We will celebrate and enjoy you. Everything will come with you being yourself.”
Arlo Parks – Singer-songwriter & poet
Arlo is a British singer and songwriter whose studio album, Collapsed In Sunbeams, debuted in 2021 to critical acclaim, peaking at number three in the UK Album Charts and earning her nominations for the 2021 BRIT Awards, including for Best New Artist. In the same year, the album won the Hyundai Mercury Prize for best album.
O’Hooley & Tidow – Singer-songwriters
Belinda O’Hooley and Heidi Tidow are trailblazers in the world of folk music. The married couple wrote and performed the theme tune for BBC period drama, Gentleman Jack. With their recent single, The Ballad Of Anne And Ann, they pay tribute to historical lesbian icons, Anne Lister and Ann Walker.
Becky Hill – Singer-songwriter
Identifying as queer, Becky is an English singer and songwriter who was introduced to the wider public on hit reality television show, The Voice UK, where she reached the semi-finals. Since then, she has achieved chart-topping hits, such as Gecko (Overdrive), and has won two BRIT Awards.
Cat Burns – Singer-songwriter
Double-platinum musician Cat Burns is the biggest-selling British female artist of 2022 and has received several accolades and counting. She gave a superb performance of her viral smash, Go, at the BRIT Awards, where she was nominated for three gongs, including the coveted Rising Star Award. Cat is currently on tour with friend and collaborator Sam Smith.
girli – Singer-songwriter
Alterna-pop star girli is known for her bright pink hair and unapologetically queer music which explores important issues like sexuality, feminism and mental health. Since releasing her debut album, Odd One Out, in 2019, girli has had multiple hit singles. Her new EP, why am i like this?? is out in May.
Horse McDonald – Singer-songwriter
Horse is a unique and iconic singer-songwriter. She is one of Scotland’s most celebrated singers. She’s been writing, recording and performing for over 30 years. Q magazine described her as owning “one of the ﬁnest voices of modern times, soul and intelligence combined”. She is currently working on her 11th album.
Lucy Spraggan – Singer-songwriter
Lucy first appeared in the wider public eye as a contestant on the reality competition show, The X Factor, in 2012, after which she signed a recording contract. Since her first studio album, Top Room At The Zoo (2011), she has now released six albums, with a new collection due later this year.
Polly Money – Musician & singer-songwriter
A musician, singer and songwriter, Polly graduated with a BA (honours) in Songwriting from The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance in 2014 and was talent-spotted by Matt Bellamy of Muse fame. She has since represented the BBC at Glastonbury and performed at Isle of Wight Festival. She is currently performing with The 1975.
Self Esteem – Musician
Starting out her musical career as one half of folk duo, Slow Club, Rebecca Taylor now performs by the stage name Self Esteem and hails from Rotherham. She has released two albums, with her second, Prioritise Pleasure, receiving a Mercury Prize nomination in 2022.
Award-winning writer Val, often known as the Queen of Crime, has sold over 19 million books around the world which have been translated into over 40 languages. Hailing from Kirkcaldy, Fife, she became the first student from a Scottish state school to read English at St Hilda’s College, Oxford, before working as a journalist for 16 years. Val’s first three novels featured the UK’s first openly lesbian detective character, Lindsay Gordon. She has always championed the LGBTQIA community through her representation of lesbian and gay characters in her books. As an experienced broadcaster, Val makes regular appearances on TV and radio. She has guest-edited BBC Radio 4’s Front Row and fronted features for BBC Two’s The Culture Show, as well as writing and presenting many radio documentaries. Val is the recipient of six Honorary Doctorates and is an Honorary Fellow of St Hilda’s College, Oxford. She is a visiting professor at the Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies at the University of Otago in New Zealand.
Alice Oseman – Author
Alice is the creator of young adult fiction and graphic novels. After securing a publishing deal for her debut, Solitaire, she subsequently launched Heartstopper in 2019 following its webcomic. The series has now sold over eight million copies worldwide in 35 languages and has been adapted by Alice for Netflix, winning five Emmys and a BAFTA nomination. Heartstopper Volume 5, the hugely anticipated next instalment in the series, publishes on 9 November.
Deborah Frances-White – Author, comedian & screenwriter
London-based comedian, author and screenwriter Deborah hosts the podcasts Global Pillage and The Guilty Feminist, as well as writing the 2018 comedy film, Say My Name. She is one of three directors at the theatre company The Spontaneity Shop, which she cofounded in 1996.
Kae Tempest – Poet, author & recording artist
Kae is a non-binary, English spoken word performer, poet, recording artist, novelist and playwright. Their debut novel, The Bricks That Built The Houses, was a Sunday Times bestseller, whilst their albums, Everybody Down and Let Them Eat Chaos were nominated for The Mercury Music Prize.
Rowan Ellis – Author & speaker
As an author and speaker, Rowan creates educational online content through her YouTube channel, exploring LGBTQIA issues, representation and popular culture. She also published her debut book, Here And Queer: A Queer Girl’s Guide To Life as an inclusive guide to help girls lead their best queer life.
Sharan Dhaliwal – Author & journalist
Motivated by her desire to empower queer people, Sharan founded South Asian culture magazine, Burnt Roti, as well as Middlesex Pride for underrepresented communities in the Middlesex area – taking place in Osterley Park on 12 August. Her debut book Burning My Roti, about her queerness and Indian identity, was published in 2022.
Shivani Dave – Journalist, broadcaster & physicist
A journalist, broadcaster and physicist, Shivani specialises in busting myths around science and misconceptions surrounding LGBTQIA issues. They produced the award-winning podcast, The Log Books, sharing the untold stories of Britain’s LGBTQIA history. Shivani is also a drag king and performs under the name Dishi Sumac.
Shon Faye – Writer, editor, journalist & presenter
Shon is a writer, presenter and the author of the award-winning Sunday Times bestseller The Transgender Issue, which was first published in 2021 and has since been or is due to be published in seven languages. She also hosted the critically acclaimed LGBTQIA history podcast, Call Me Mother. She is currently working on her second book, is a co-presenter on Novara Media’s news programme and writes an advice column at US Vogue.
Sophie Ward – Actor & writer
Sophie is an actor and author. Her first book, A Marriage Proposal, was published in 2014. Her novel, Love And Other Thought Experiments, was published in 2020 and was longlisted for the Booker Prize. Her latest novel, The Schoolhouse, described by The Times as “stylish, pacy and genuinely frightening”, will be out in paperback in May.
Zing Tsjeng – Editor-in-chief, VICE and VICE UK, author & podcaster
Singaporean-born Zing is a London-based journalist, author and podcaster who recently became the editor-in-chief for VICE, a culture and arts lifestyle media platform. Her Forgotten Women series was republished as an anthology in 2022 and she is the founder of the anti-harassment campaign, Unfollow Me.
Charlie is a racing driver and LGBTQIA activist. In 2020 she made history as the first ever transgender driver to compete in the legendary Nürburgring 24-hour race. Having realised she was trans at a young age, her path to professional racer has been a journey into the unknown without any family background in an entirely male-dominated sport. Starting out with £1,500 from a summer job post-university and a can-do attitude, she has overcome huge adversity to succeed as her true self. She now works with charities like Stonewall to increase the visibility and acceptance of trans people in sport and beyond. She featured in British Vogue’s Vogue 25, a celebration of inspiring women shaping the world. She is a keen trail runner, surfer, snowboarder and adventure sports-lover. She is also a Ninja Warrior UK semi finalist, beating the wall first time!
Anita Asante – Football coach & former professional footballer
Anita, of Ghanaian descent and openly lesbian, is a former Lioness with 71 international caps, spanning 14 years, including competing for Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics. Her showcase career began with Arsenal as a teenager and she has also played top-flight club football for Chelsea and Aston Villa.
Emily Bridges – Cyclist
Emily is a Welsh transgender cyclist and internet personality, making her one of the most talked about athletes in the UK. She has inspired and opened dialogue and debate in professional cycling around the issues of equality, fairness and clarification.
Jen Beattie MBE – Professional footballer
This year Arsenal football player Jen was awarded an MBE in recognition of her outstanding services to sport and charity. In a social media post this January, she announced her official retirement from international football, proudly sharing her incredible record of 24 goals and 144 caps for Scotland.
Jill Scott MBE – Former professional footballer
Voted FA International Player of the Year in 2011, Sunderland-born Jill is a former professional football player. She was also part of the England squad which won the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022, as well as appearing in and winning the reality adventure show, I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!
Jude Hamer – Wheelchair basketball player
Jude has been competing in international wheelchair basketball since 2009 and represented Great Britain at the London 2012, Rio 2016, and Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. She is a Stonewall Sports Champion, having come out as bisexual in 2013. She openly advocates for better bi-visibility and wider LGBTQIA rights.
Kelly Simmons OBE – FA director of the women’s professional game
Kelly has over 30 years of experience with the Football Association, having joined in 1991. She will be stepping down from her role as the director of the women’s professional game next year, having made paramount contributions to the development of the women’s game in England.
Kyra Edwards – Rower
A member of the GB rowing team, Kyra is passionate about challenging stereotypes within her sport. She is outspoken about being a role model for Black and LGBTQIA athletes and advocates for improved diversity in rowing. She is engaged to fellow rower Saskia Budgett.
Lianne Sanderson – Former professional footballer & broadcaster
Lianne is a former professional footballer for Arsenal, Chelsea, Juventus and the Lionesses. She has won the Champions League, bronze at the World Cup, and is a five-time league winner and FA cup winner. Lianne now works as a TV and radio broadcaster for Sky Sports, talkSPORT, CBS and many more.
Sarah Stirk – Broadcaster
Sarah is a golf presenter for Sky Sports. An enthusiast golfer, she started her career on MUTV, progressing onto BBC World News. She writes for publications such as Golf Monthly. Her luxury agency, Xclusive Golf, was sold to Golfbreaks.com in 2016 and she works for numerous brands as a corporate ambassador.
Megan Jayne Crabbe
Author & content creator
Megan is an author, content creator and presenter best known for her work in body positivity. With over one million followers, Megan creates content to empower, inspire and shed light on mental health, feminism and beyond. In 2017, she released her bestselling debut book, Body Positive Power, which taught thousands of women why we hate our bodies, and how to make peace with them instead. In 2019, she created and toured her sell-out original show, The Never Say Diet Club, which combined inspiring talks, feminist parodies and sequin-covered dance numbers to leave the audience uplifted and entertained. As well as delivering keynotes, presentations and panels to audiences of thousands, Megan has produced and facilitated a range of workshops on topics such as mental health, body image, eating disorder recovery and creator well-being. As a presenter, she’s worked with BBC, Channel 4, MTV and The BRITs to host podcasts and live events, as well as movie junkets interviewing Hollywood’s biggest names. When she isn’t creating or presenting, Megan cares for her older sister Gemma, whose unapologetic sass and positive representation of disability have made her an Instagram star in her own right.
Abigail Thorn – Actor & YouTuber
An actor, playwright and creator of Philosophy Tube, Abigail stars in Sky’s Django and BBC’s Ladhood. She wrote and starred in her debut play, The Prince, last year, winning an Off West End Award and three Broadway World Awards, including Best New Play and Best Lead Actor.
Jude Guaitamacchi – LGBTQIA awareness & inclusivity trainer & consultant
Jude is the first non-binary person in history to represent Harrods – they are an ongoing face of its H beauty campaign. Jude is a TEDx speaker, campaigner, influencer and model. They champion non-binary representation and advocate for trans and non-binary inclusion in schools and businesses in the UK and Europe. They use their platform to talk openly about their journey to becoming Jude with the aim of being the role model they needed growing up. They hope to inspire future generations to see themselves represented, empower themselves, and celebrate who they are.
Liv Little – Author
Liv is a writer of Jamaican and Guyanese descent via South London who tells stories with heart about the people and places that matter to her. Her work spans journalism, audio, TV and curatorial projects, for which she’s received various accolades, including LGBTQI+ Broadcaster of The Year and Rising Star at Wow. Her debut novel, Rosewater, is out now.
Rose & Rosie – Media personalities, YouTubers & podcast presenters
@roseellendix & @roxetera
Rose and Rosie are a British comedy and entertainment duo who have over three million followers across their social platforms. They gained popularity through their open and honest videos on their YouTube channel. Rose started her platform in 2010, uploading her first video for a university assignment, while Rosie followed in 2011 before collaborating the following year.
Rose Frimpong & Nana Duncan – Podcast presenters
@ro.frimpong @notnanalise, @twotwospodcast
London-based podcast duo, Nana and Rose share their truths via their podcast, Two Twos whilst building a safe space for the queer Black communities and by bridging the gap between LGBTQIA people and cisgender heterosexual folks. They unapologetically discuss hard-hitting subjects like cancel culture, trans rights, colourism and toxic masculinity.
Sarah O’Connell – Host of The Sarah O’Connell Show, comedian, actor, film critic & artist
Sarah is a comedian, artist and celebrity interviewer. Her diverse entertainment YouTube show, The Sarah O’Connell Show, features fun, in-depth interviews with actors, directors, comedians, singers, best-selling authors, an Olympic gold medallist and more.
Travis Alabanza – Performance artist, writer & theatre-maker
Writer and performer Travis has been using art to highlight the LGBTQIA community for seven years. Bristol-raised, their theatre shows Burgerz, Overflow and Sound Of The Underground have toured internationally, bringing the questions of trans safety to many stages.
Whitney & Megan Bacon-Evans – IVF campaigners & travel vloggers
Known collectively as Wegan, couple and social media influencer duo Whitney and Megan run a successful YouTube channel, TikTok and Instagram account. They cover a variety of subjects, ranging from luxury lifestyle to LGBTQIA rights, travel and fertility equality.
Yasmin Benoit – Model & award-winning asexual activist
Yasmin is a British model, asexual activist, writer and speaker. Described as the “unlikely face of asexuality” by Cosmopolitan, she launched the UK’s first asexual rights initiative with Stonewall, started the #ThisIsWhatAsexualLooksLike movement, and co-founded International Asexuality Day.
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