Words: Jamie Tabberer; pictures: Marcelino Sambé and Juno Dawson at yesterday's event (by Kit Oates)
An array of influential movers and shakers descended on the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London yesterday afternoon to celebrate Attitude 101 Empowered by Bentley – our second annual list of 101 LGBTQ trailblazers making a difference in the world.
In our new issue, the categories are Sport; Politics; The Future, supported by Clifford Chance; Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics; Media and Broadcast; Travel; Film, TV, and Music, supported by Taimi; Business, Financial and Legal; Third Sector and the Community; and Fashion, Art and Design, supported by Klarna.
As community titans like UK Black Pride’s Lady Phyll and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell joined the likes of DJs Woody Cook and Sherelle (both cover the 101 issue, out now to download and order globally) we got to work asking guests to name the LGBTQ person who’s most influenced their life this year.
Lady Phyll spotlighted digital creator @NotSoSecretlyShay, “a non-binary Black queer person who is doing amazing things around understanding transgender, non-binary [issues]: they’re great. The big figures are the ones that are often seen, but the smaller figures are doing the work on the ground.”
Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell gave a shout out to "Alex Donkor, Director of LGBT Rights Ghana, who has defied a torrent of homophobic abuse and threats. Risking imprisonment and mob violence, he led the bid to open Ghana's first LGBT+ centre, which was shut down by violent intimidation and police repression.
"Alex is now leading the fight against the draconian new anti-LGBT+ bill that is currently before the Ghana parliament. It is one of the world's most vicious criminalisations of all LGBT+ advocacy, fundraising and even safer sex education. Alec and his courageous colleagues are heroes of the LGBT+ freedom struggle."
Author and screenwriter Juno Dawson said fellow author Shon Faye: “I just read [The Transgender Issue: An Argument For Justice] and it’s incredible. Every single person on the planet should read it.”
Competitive swimmer Michael Gunning [above] named a fellow former Attitude cover star: Tom Daley. “Everything he’s done in Tokyo, winning that gold medal – I’m so proud of him. He’s been an inspiration to me since the very beginning.”
Elsewhere, BBC wildlife presenter Dan O'Neill called Professor Duncan Cameron the LGBTQ person who’s had the biggest influence on his entire life.
“I went to study zoology at Sheffield University. He was the only out and proud member of the scientific community that I had ever met [at that point], and he was an absolute legend. He gave me a feeling of acceptance in myself that I maybe didn’t have before.”
The star also singled out our person of the year Lil Nas X for special mention: “In the last year he’s really made me not give a damn about the shame I had for years and years and years. Now, when people ask me those questions that usually [I would have avoided], now, I just jump into it.”
Meanwhile, writer Jack Guinness [above] said “Lady Phyll, founder of UK Black Pride and Executive Director of Kaleidoscope Trust, is my absolute hero. The work she does around the world fighting for LGBTQ+ rights is a constant source of inspiration.”
Marcelino Sambé, principal dancer of The Royal Ballet named late writer and activist James Baldwin: “I’ve been delving into his work since the pandemic began and it was a whole new revelation.”
Finally, the BBC’s Ben Thompson shared a story about a member of the public who changed his life when they connected over social media. “A young lad messaged me - he’d came out to his parents right before lockdown. He said: ‘It’s the worst thing in the world - I’m stuck at home with my parents 24 hours a day, and they’re not accepting. It brought it home for me, how hard it is for people in that scenario. We kept in touch and it’s been really nice to have that relationship.”
Check out the full, detailed list in the Attitude 101 issue, which is out now to download and to order globally. The Attitude 101 issue includes the FREE Attitude 2022 calendar, presented in association with Taimi.