I Kissed A Boy, Lauren Rowles, Sophie Duker and more win at PinkNews Awards 2023

Cast of I Kissed A Boy

The PinkNews Awards 2023, sponsored by Lloyds Bank, hosted LGBTQ+ stars, activists, and allies and marked some of the most important queer moments, entertainers and activists of the year.

Categories for this year’s event, now in its 10th year, include Entertainer of the Year, Screen Moment of the Year, and Brand Ally of the Year.

New categories were also announced for 2023, including the Groundbreaking Broadcast Award, the Good News Award and the Travelling & Hospitality Award.

Attendees from across the community, including ceremony host Rylan and the cast of queer reality show I Kissed a Boy, came together to celebrate a year of LGBTQ+ activism in the face of unprecedented times.

During the ceremony, Rylan commented on the current political climate against LGBTQ+ people in the UK.

“The year 2023 also marks ten years of marriage equality,” he said. “Whilst we’ve seen a lot of progress over the last two decades, we all know the current climate when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights means we can’t afford to be complacent.”

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The winners of the 2023 PinkNews Awards are as follows.

Social Media Moment of the Year: Trixie Mattel

A clip of UNHhhh star and RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3 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.

Groundbreaking Broadcast Award: George Michael: Outed (Channel 4)

Channel 4 documentary George Michael: Outed is an unflinching portrayal of the British media’s grim attitudes towards gay people in the 90s and reveals how little has changed since the public outing of pop star George Michael.

Sports Personality of the Year, sponsored by Sky Sports: Lauren Rowles

Lauren Rowles (right) at the PinkNews Awards 2023. (PinkNews)
Lauren Rowles (R) at the PinkNews Awards 2023. (PinkNews)

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

Collecting her award, Rowles said work is needed to ensure there are more LGBTQ+ voices in sport.

“I think that people don’t really understand the landscape of sport and just how painful it can be to be a queer person in this community,” she said.

She also praised fellow winners, trans football club TRUK, saying: “More than ever we want more and more young people to be authentically themselves. We have to change their lives”.

Entertainer of the Year: Sophie Duker

Queer comic Sophie Duker has featured in some of the biggest comedy series such as TaskmasterMock the Week and Live at the Apollo. Her solo shows, Venus and Hag have been met with critical reception and sold-out audiences.

Screen Moment of the Year – I Kissed a Boy (BBC)

I Kissed a Boy narrator Layton Williams at the PinkNews Awards 2023
I Kissed a Boy narrator Layton Williams at the PinkNews Awards 2023. (PinkNews)

BBC dating show I Kissed a Boy, hosted by pop icon Dannii Minogue, was an unfiltered depiction of the ways queer men live and love.

Drag Artist of the Year – ThatGirl and Adam All

That Girl at the PinkNe

Drag queen That Girl 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.

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

The Good News Award, sponsored by WeAre8: TRUK United FC

Football team TRUK United FC smashed through cycles of social media negativity earlier this year when a picture of their all trans-masc squad playing its inaugural match went viral online, racking up millions of views in the process and proving the power of truly inclusive sport.

The team’s match -– the first of its kind in European history – was held on Trans Day of Visibility (31 March).

Founder of the club, Lucy Clark, said in her speech she set the team up to allow anyone to take part in sport.

The captain of the team, Arthur Webber, added that there was no space for him when he grew up wanting to play sport, but TRUK “feel likes home”, allowing other queer people to “play football and be accepted for who they are”.

Ally of the Year: Edward Enninful

Edward Enninful, one of the most influential people in fashion today, has been a standout ally for the LGBTQ+ community in amplifying queer voices.

In June, he announced he would be leaving the magazine after six years, leaving behind a legacy of LGBTQ+ activism through the mountain of articles shining the spotlight on British queer activists, including Miriam Margoyles, Ncuti Gatwa, Emma D’Arcy and Bella Ramsey. His final issue will be published in March 2024.

(Inclusive) Fashion Brand of the Year: Olli Hull

Oli Hull at the PinkNews Awards 2023
Olli Hull at the PinkNews Awards 2023. (PinkNews)

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

Travel & Hospitality Award: Contiki

Contiki is a travel brand, catering to 18 to 35-year-olds, which is committed to bringing young LGBTQ+ people and allies together with dedicated Pride trips that shine a queer light on some of Europe’s most exciting cities during the height of Pride.

Brand Ally of the Year: Durex, owned by Reckitt Benckiser

Earlier this summer, Durex teamed up with queer, trans-masculine, multi-disciplinary creative and campaigner Fox Fisher to mark Pride and celebrate the work Durex and Stonewall have done to drive LGBTQ+-inclusive sex education since 2021.

That year, Durex’s Inclusivity Survey in partnership with Pinknews surveyed LGBTQ+ people nationally on sexual fulfilment, sex education, dating, sexual health and self-acceptance, creating vital understanding of how the UK’s queer community experiences sex and the issues that continue to trouble them.

Charity/Community Group of the Year, sponsored by Lloyds Banking Group: Rainbow Railroad

Rainbow Railroad is a global NGO providing aid and asylum to LGBTQ+ people around the world. Since its founding it’s helped hundreds of LGBTQ+ people find safety, including many victims of Chechnya’s “gay purge” and queer Afghans fleeing the Taliban.

Inclusive Tech Innovation of the Year”: Voda – The LGBTQIA+ Mental Health App 

As research shows that LGBTQ+ people are more likely to suffer from poor mental health, Voda is the queer mental health app enabling the community to access support in the palm of their hands.

Designed by leading LGBTQIA+ psychotherapists, Voda offers guided therapy, personalised advice and LGBTQ+ meditations that recognise the unique challenges queer people can face.