Jonathan Bailey pays touching tribute to generations of LGBTQ+ people with Critics’ Choice win

Jonathan Bailey wins Critics' Choice Award for Fellow Travelers

Jonathan Bailey is officially a Critics’ Choice Awards winner thanks to his stellar performance in Fellow Travelers, and has dedicated his win to every LGBTQ+ person who has been through adversity.

It was a well-deserved win for Bailey, who plays the role of Tim in the beloved limited series, opposite Matt Bomer’s Hawk.

Both Bailey and Bomer received heaps of praise from viewers and critics alike for their emotional performances and undeniably fiery chemistry. It was only a matter of time before the awards started rolling in.

Jonathan Bailey wins Critics' Choice Award for Fellow Travelers
Jonathan Bailey has dedicated his Critics’ Choice Awards win to the LGBTQ+ community – both past and present.(Getty Images)

On Sunday night (14 January), Bailey got his first of hopefully many for the series, and made sure to put his acceptance speech to good use.

Taking to the stage after winning the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Made For Television, Bailey thanked his co-star Matt and series creator Ron Nyswaner, before launching into a heartfelt tribute to the LGBTQ+ community.

“For many, it’s an education. But for us, it’s a vital truth. This series is a much-needed reminder that LGBTQ+ people have always existed – mostly hidden.

You may like to watch

“They have always been fighting for an easier life for the generations that follow, so I thank those who came before me, who created a world where I can stand here today and win an award for telling their story.”

Bailey went on to say that the character of Tim, whom he will “carry forever”, teaches viewers to “tell the special people in our lives that we love them before it’s too late.”

With that, he thanked his friends and family, and especially his 93-year-old Nana who, the Bridgerton star said, “took [him] to the theatre when [he] was five and gave [him] a vocation and she watched Fellow Travelers to the climax.”

Jonathan Bailey wins Critics' Choice Award for Fellow Travelers
Jonathan Bailey made sure to thank the LGBTQ+ community who came before him. (Getty Images)

He promised her: “I’m so proud of you and I’m bringing this award to you with a cup of tea on Tuesday.”

As the music began to play, Bailey quickly added: “To my Fellow Travelers family, to all the people who lost their lives and loves in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and to every LGBTQ+ person living in a bigoted community which does surround us, this is for you.”

Bailey, who started talking about being gay “from the age of 11”, has dedicated his career to telling stories about the LGBTQ+ community – something he has been able to do a lot more of since his Bridgerton success.

In a recent interview, the actor spoke candidly about how his own “life was threatened” for being gay during a trip to Washington DC last year.

After detailing the harrowing experience, Bailey acknowledged: “I’ve got friends and security. There are so many people that don’t. They are surrounded by that every day, and the torment of what that must be like, the amount of fear that was generated… If that’s what children are surrounded by, they’re not going to be able to grow in any way.

“And of course, that’s not just an American story. It’s international. And it’s terrifying, that [in the UK] we’re not looking after queer people, in terms of allowing them into the country. Because that is the reality; people’s lives are literally at risk.”

In Fellow Travelers, Bailey and Bomer depict the story of gay lovers Tim and Hawk, who live through some of the darkest periods of history for LGBTQ+ people – from the McCarthy=era “persecution of homosexuals” in the 1950s to the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s.

Fellow Travelers is streaming on Paramount+ with Showtime in the US and on Paramount+ in the UK.