PinkNews Awards 2023: Vote now for your favourite queer icons and moments of the year

This is an image of three notable people. On the left is drag queen Danny Beard, in the middle is Ncuti Gatwa, and on the right side is Rina Sawayama

This year’s nominees for the 2023 PinkNews Awards have been revealed, and include LGBTQ+ heroes and trailblazers such as Sam Smith, Megan Rapinoe and Bella Ramsey.

Returning next month, the PinkNews Awards, sponsored by Lloyds Banking Group, will celebrate and honour LGBTQ+ leaders and change-makers in entertainment, sports, business and activism. 

PinkNews readers are invited to celebrate the influential people, organisations and campaigns that have advanced LGBTQ+ rights worldwide. 

Last year’s awards featured impassioned speeches from journalist Owen Jones and Labour MP Zarah Sultana.

Keir Starmer also delivered a stirring speech, promising further commitment to the LGBTQ+ community, but the Labour leader has since u-turned on some of those statements, including scrapping the party’s self-ID policy for trans people.

Big winners from the 2022 awards included transgender cyclist Emily Bridges, MP John Nicolson and the BBC drama This is Going to Hurt.

This year’s awards will be held on 18 October in central London.

In August, PinkNews announced the first categories: brand ally of the year, diversity network of the year, charity/community group of the year, inclusive tech innovation of the year, and business trailblazer of the year, sponsored by the Royal Bank of Canada.

Now, voting is open to the public for the second wave of nominations in nine categories: drag artist of the year, entertainer of the year, ground-breaking broadcast of the year, inclusive fashion brand of the year, screen moment of the year, social media moment of the year, the travel and hospitality award, the good news award, and sports personality of the year, sponsored by Sky Sports.

Vote here and celebrate the best and brightest of the LGBTQ+ community – and see more details on all the nominees below.

This a graphical image promoting the PinkNews Awards, which is written in white text over a pink background with a flourescent outline.
The PinkNews Awards, sponsored by Lloyds Banking Group, return to London in October. (PinkNews)

Drag Artist of the Year

Adam All

Non-binary drag king Adam has been seen on Channel 4 and was named best drag king at the QX Awards.

Asifa Lahore

Asifa is a drag artist who is pushing the boundaries of what it means to be LGBTQ+, South Asian and Muslim.


Non-binary drag artist and producer Carrot has spent the past few years carving out their place as Britain’s premiere drag vegetable. They produce the monthly Enby Show across the UK.

Danny Beard

Winner of season four of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, Danny has quickly become an international sensation, even guest starring on the long-running soap Hollyoaks.

Don One

Don One is a hilarious drag king originally from Birmingham but now based in London. They’re the host of their own podcast, Don One Chats.

Juno Birch

The self-proclaimed “absolutely stunning alien drag queen” Juno has had a busy summer touring the UK with The Juno Birch Show, a hilarious mix of “clumsy cabaret” and “1960’s talk show.”

Sasha Colby

The American drag queen and performer is considered the “drag queen’s drag queen” and won season 15 of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

That Girl

The drag queen hit the headlines this summer when she confronted anti-drag protestors at the Honor Oak pub’s Drag Queen Story Hour in south east London.

Son of a Tutu

The self-described “African drag queen extraordinaire” uses their drag platform to raise awareness of LGBTQ+ rights in Nigeria, and highlight how the country still isn’t accepting of queer lives.

Victoria Scone

The Cardiff-based cabaret performer made history in 2021 as the first cis-gender performer to compete in any season of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Entertainer of the Year

Bel Priestley

After gaining fame while documenting her transition on TikTok and YouTube, Bel now stars in the Netflix smash Heartstopper as Naomi, a trans girl “conquering the world.”

Bella Ramsey

While doing press interviews for her role as Ellie in the TV adaptation of the popular video game, The Last of Us, Bella came out as non-binary.

Mae Martin

The Feel Good star had a busy year with a Netflix special and joining the panel of the Channel 4 show Taskmaster.

Mawaan Rizwan

Pakistan-born writer, actor and comedian Mawaan is the star of the BBC comedy Juice, a series co-starring his brother and mother.

Ncuti Gatwa

Fans of the Netflix series Sex Education will know soon-to-be Timelord Gatwa and the Black-queer joy that emanates from his character, Eric Effiong.

Rina Sawayama

Born in Japan but raised in Britain, Rina had a blistering set at this year’s Glastonbury Festival as well as a role in most recent film in Keanu Reeves’ John Wick saga.

Self Esteem

Rebecca Lucy Taylor, better known as Self Esteem, is a British music and queer legend. She recently joined the cast of Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club in London’s West End.

Sam Smith

The “Unholy” non-binary singer has had a busy 2023, taking their “Gloria” tour across the world.

Rosie Jones

The comedian garnered praise from viewers after she shared her experiences of ableist abuse in her Channel 4 documentary, Am I a R*tard?

Sophie Duker

Stand-up comedian and writer Sophie won season 13 of the Channel 4 comedy variety show Taskmaster.

Yasmin Finney

The trans actress will have a key role in the upcoming Doctor Who specials in November.

Travis Alabanza

Travis is the author of None of the Above: Reflections on Life Beyond the Binary, an emotionally honest book that reflects on their journey with gender and the frustrations that come with living in a society that obsessively polices the way people live. 

Ground-breaking Broadcast of the Year

Eldorado: Everything the Nazis Hate

The Netflix documentary examines the glittery nightclub that became a haven for the queer community in 1920s Berlin.

Forced Out 

The Sky documentary is a damning look at the institutional homophobia that has plagued Britain’s armed forces.

George Michael: Outed 

The Channel 4 documentary is an unflinching portrayal of the British media’s grim attitudes towards gay people in the 90s and reveals that not much has changed since the public outing of pop star George Michael.

Like Minded Friends 

The podcast, hosted by Tom Allen and Suzi Ruffell, is a hilarious look at love, life and culture. 


This LGBTQ+ podcast, hosted by journalist Jeffrey Masters, documents modern queer history through the stories of notable guests such as Janelle Monáe, US secretary of transportation Pete Buttigieg and pioneering tennis superstar Billie Jean King.

What the Trans!?

What the Trans!? is a UK-based news outlet, founded by Ashleigh Talbot and Michelle Snow, dedicated to the transgender community.

Who I Am Not 

This stirring documentary, directed by Tunde Skovran, breaks the intersex taboo through personal explorations of truth, faith and belonging in South Africa.

Inclusive Fashion Brand of the Year

For Them

A fashion and queer wellness brand, For Them specialises in a more comfortable and breathable chest binder.

Lucy & Yak

Since 2017, Lucy & Yak has been sustainably designing dungarees, jumpsuits and boilersuits for an inclusive customer base.

Olli Hull

Artist and designer Olli creates “wearable art” through “up-cycling” vintage and second-hand clothes, inspired by his own experiences with gender and identity.

Snag Tights

The purpose-led brand’s ethos is making clothes accessible to everyone before profits.


The brand believes that good clothing is created without burdening the environment and under conditions where health, safety and human rights are respected and upheld.

Screen Moment of the Year


This year’s annual song contest was held in Liverpool on behalf of the 2022 winners Ukraine. Millions of fans tuned in to see the Swedish singer Loreen make history as the first woman and only second person to win twice.

Heartstopper: Season Two

Netflix’s second series, based on Alice Oseman’s graphic novel, had a more mature and darker theme than season one, but that didn’t stop fans professing their love of the show and the queer joy it brings. 

I Kissed a Boy

BBC’s dating show, hosted by Dannii Minogue, was an unfiltered depiction of the ways queer men live and love.

The Last of Us

HBO’s adaptation of the apocalyptic video game was huge hit with viewers. It featured Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett as a romantic couple, made Bella Ramsey a star and ushered in Pedro Pascal’s “daddy’ era.

Red, White & Royal Blue

Based on the best-selling Casey McQuiston novel, the LGBTQ+ romcom was a hit on Amazon Prime, telling the story an American president’s son falling in love with a handsome English prince.

Social Media Moment of the Year

Dylan Mulvaney, 500 Days of Girlhood

The trans TikTok influencer thanked her fans and reflected on her experiences as she hit the 500th day since she publically started her transition.

Joe Lycett, David Beckham/World Cup stunt

Comedian and social activist Joe dared to shred £10,000 unless footballing legend David Beckham pulled out of being the face of the World Cup held in Qatar, a country that outlaws the LGBTQ+ community.

Kris Tyson, MrBeast YouTube star comes out as trans

Sidekick to the YouTube megastar MrBeast, Kris came out publically as trans in April, and shared a heartfelt update after her first six months of hormone-replacement therapy.

Trixie Mattel, Trixie goes off about the US’s drag bans

A clip of the UNHhhh star and former Drag Race winner Trixie Mattel speaking to Good Morning America on the red carpet for the annual GLAAD Media Awards in March went viral, showing the Queen of the Universe judge lambasting conservative fear-mongering about drag with an argument as sharp as her eyeliner.

This Barbie is…, Barbiemania going wild on social media

Gay Twitter had a field day having fun with the film’s marketing campaign which featured thousands of “This Barbie is…” memes, including one with Donald Trump saying: “This Barbie is arrested.”

Sports Personality of the Year, sponsored by Sky Sports

Alex Scott

The former Lioness turned TV pundit made headlines during the men’s World Cup in Qatar when she wore the FIFA-banned, pro-LGBTQ+ “One Love” armband during a live segment from the pitch.

Emily Bridges

Since being barred from a British Cycling competition for being trans, Emily has become a figurehead in the battle over trans women’s inclusion in female sports.

Jake Daniels

The footballer, who plays for Blackpool, came out as gay in an interview with Sky Sports in May 2022. He’s the first British professional male player to do so since Justin Fashanu in 1990.

Kelly Holmes

Olympic champion Kelly came out as a lesbian in 2022, and in January admitted to being ignorant about trans athletes and said she now fully “supports her trans siblings.”

Lauren Rowles

After coming out in 2021, Paralympic rowing champion Lauren Rowles says she wants to be a gay, disabled role model to help kids feel “less alone”.

Megan Rapinoe

Even though the US women had a relatively early exit in this year’s World Cup in Australia, Megan retired from international football an LGBTQ+ icon as an athlete, trans ally and for securing equal pay for US women footballers.

Michael Gunnin

The swimmer, who has Jamaican and British citizenship, decided to swim for the former, a country that has been labelled as the “most homophobic place on Earth”.

The Lionesses – England’s Women’s Football Team

While the Lionesses came up just a bit short, losing to Spain in this year’s women’s World Cup Final, the team has been an inspiration to many.


The trans and non-binary Canadian footballer launched a sports mentorship programme designed to inspire girls and gender-diverse people to get into sports.

The Good News Award, sponsored by WeAre8

  • Europe’s first-ever trans football team taking to the pitch for the first time
  • London Trans Pride 2023
  • Scotland and beyond celebrates historic gender recognition reform
  • The launch of the Trans Publishing Network
  • The #transpeopleareloved campaign

Travel and Hospitality Award

  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Contiki
  • Hilton Hotels
  • Out of Office
  • Moonlight Experiences
  • Tourism Australia
  • Virgin Atlantic

Vote here now! Voting closes on Friday, 6 October.

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