Paloma Faith, Becky Hill and Katherine Ryan win big at British LGBT Awards with special honour for Paul O’Grady 

Julian Clary, Andre Portasio, Paloma Faith

Singer-songwriters Paloma Faith and Becky Hill scooped gongs at the British LGBT Awards, while beloved late TV personality and drag trailblazer Paul O’Grady received a posthumous honour. 

The glittering awards ceremony was held on Friday (23 June) and saw LGBTQ+ icons, activists and allies celebrated for their contributions as role models and for working to further the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.

Paloma Faith, 41, received the LGBT+ Advocate Award for her support for equality for the trans community, and the “Only Love Can Hurt Like This” hitmaker described collecting the gong as a “career highlight”. 

Faith said: “‘It is essential we support the LGBTQ+ community and stand up for those being targeted because of their sexuality. I am deeply honoured to win a British LGBT Award. It really is a highlight of my career. 

“I just hope I can make a little bit of difference using my platform.”

Queer singer-songwriter Becky Hill, 29, won Music Artist of the Year, beating Anne-Marie, Beabadoobee, Yungblud, Lizzo, Måneskin, Mika, Jessie Ware and Cat Burns for the prize. 

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The Celebrity Ally Award went to Canadian comedian Katharine Ryan, who triumphed over the likes of Wednesday star Jenna Ortega, presenter Alison Hammond, Drag Race judge Michelle Visage and actor Emma Watson. 

In perhaps the most poignant moment of the night, Paul O’Grady’s husband, Andre Portasio, accepted the Broadcaster of the Year award in his late partner’s stead. Comedian Julian Clary presented O’Grady’s award after paying an emotional tribute to the Lily Savage change-maker

Julian Clary attends the British LGBT Awards 2023. (Belinda Jiao/Getty Images)

O’Grady had been due to attend the event in London before he died suddenly on 28 March, aged 67. On the night, organisers described O’Grady as a “truly iconic” member of the LGBTQ+ community who is “truly missed”.  

Elsewhere, Erasure frontman Andy Bell and Aida H Dee, the queen behind Drag Queen Story Hour UK, took home prestigious gongs – the Lifetime Achievement award and Outstanding Contribution to LGBT+ Life award respectively.

Andy Bell poses with the award for Lifetime Achievement in the British LGBT Awards 2023 Winners Room. (Belinda Jiao/Getty Images)

Netflix’s beloved smash hit Heartstopper – which returns for a “darker” second season on 3 August – won the Media Moments award, Mark Ferris bagged the Online Influencers gong and Jake Daniels, currently Britain’s only openly gay professional footballer, won Sports Personality.

The ceremony, sponsored by Macquarie and Tesco, was led by Radio 1 DJ Dean McCullough after comedian Sue Perkins pulled out over the awards’ links with oil giants BP and Shell. 

On Thursday (22 June), event organisers confirmed that the event had dropped BP and Shell as sponsors after a number of nominees, along with host Perkins, chose to disassociate themselves from the awards.

Irreverent comic Joe Lycett, trans writer Shon Faye, and Drag Race UK stars Cheddar Gorgeous and Divina de Campo all rejected their nominations over the ceremony’s sponsorship from the fossil fuel industry.

The British LGBT Awards responded by “revising” their 2023 list of supporters and said that while they were “saddened” by stars pulling out, they “acknowledge the concerns that have been raised”.

“While the supporters of the event were chosen based on their proactive approach and firm commitment to advancing equality, diversity and inclusion among our LGBTQ+ community, we fully acknowledge the concerns that have been raised,” their statement read.

“The British LGBT Awards is dedicated to the long-term uplifting of the community and that means all of our community. As a result we have revised our supporters this year and once this year’s event is over we will be looking at our long-term strategy.”

Katherine Ryan attends the British LGBT Awards 2023. (Belinda Jiao/Getty Images)

Of Friday night’s ceremony, Sarah Garrett MBE, who founded the British LGBT Awards, said: “Tonight was a fantastic celebration of the very best of our community and I congratulate all of the winners.

“The British LGBT Awards has grown to become the most recognisable awards event for LGBT+ people in Britain since we launched eight years ago.

“We were delighted to be able to honour the people who have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to advancing LGBT+ rights. All of the winners and nominees are incredibly deserving.”

Full list of British LGBT Awards winners 2023:

Future Leaders – Deon Fang

Outstanding Contribution to LGBT+ Life – Aida H Dee

LGBT+ Advocacy – Paloma Faith

Diversity Heroes – Kabir Alam

Broadcasters, Journalists and Host – Paul O’Grady

Inspirational Leaders – Mariana Ceccotti

Music Artists – Becky Hill

Lifetime Achievement – Andy Bell

Employer or Inclusive Company – PWC

Business Allies – Des Johnson

Media MomentsHeartstopper on Netflix

Online Influencers – Mark Ferris

LGBT+ Trailblazer – Kushal Khandar

Sports Personalities – Jake Daniels

Network Group or ERG – Connect Out – Arup

Celebrity Allies – Katherine Ryan

Brand or Marketing Campaigner – Virgin Atlantic