Words: Will Stroude
In 2018, pop stars saying they love their gay fans is no rare thing - and rightly so.
But a global pop band with a young fanbase consistently incorporating LGBT themes in their work and using their platform to promote love, acceptance and gay equality? Well, that's still sadly less common.
Since forming on The X Factor in 2011, Jade Thirlwall, Perrie Edwards, Jesy Nelson and Leigh-Anne Pinnock have used their platform as pop superstars to champion LGBT+ equality at every turn.
From delivering a bona fide LGBT+ anthem in 2015's 'Secret Love Song' - which they later dedicated to the victims or the Orlando Pulse massacre during their world tour - to shutting down homophobic bigotry on social media, Little Mix have never shied away supporting for their LGBT+ fans on their journey to becoming the world's biggest girlband.
As they pose for an exclusive shoot and interview in the December issue of Attitude - available to download and to order globally - they open up about their commitment to the cause, which saw them named the winners of the Honourary Gay Award at the Attitude Awards last month.
"We're absolutely GAGGED! " Jade says of the girls' first cover shoot for an LGBT+ publication.
"We’ve wanted to be on the cover, or at least part of Attitude for years. It’s a dream come true."
Bandmate Jesy adds: "We had a field day."
Jade, who serves as an ambassador for LGBT+ rights charity Stonewall, goes on:"To be recognised as LGBT+ allies, that’s amazing. Obviously, we have a massive gay fan base and so to be given that award is just… [smiles].
Little Mix, shot by Zoe McConnell exclusively for the December issue of Attitude
"The majority of our friends, especially in London, are LGBT+. I didn’t want to be that person who was like, ‘I love going to gay bars and I have a gay friend.’ I actually wanted to back that up as an ally.
"I wanted to educate myself and learn how to combat homophobia, or know what to say when our LGBT+ fans message or send tweets: 'I don’t know what to do, I don’t know how to come out to my parents.'
"All these things. It was about learning what to say to be able to help them.
"We have so many LGBT+ fans. If we’re going to benefit from them as a fan base, the least we can do is give them something back.
"It’s really important to us."
Read the full interview with Little Mix in the December issue of Attitude, which comes with four special collectible covers and alternate cover featuring Will & Grace's Sean Hayes.