The British LGBT Awards: Why?

By Tristan Sherlock 

Recently the nominees for the British LGBT Awards were announced. With this came much to be offended about. The British LGBT Award ceremony aims to celebrate the campaigners, community activist and (here it comes) straight allies who have contributed to the community over the last 12 months. Now while normally I would be fully supportive of an LGBT Awards Ceremony, there is actually quite a lot wrong with this ceremony, almost as if it wasn’t really thought through.

For starters, there is a whole category dedicated to straight allies …

Full offense: we don’t need to reward straight people for being decent human beings. The Celebrity Straight Ally list includes the likes of Ariana Grande, Nick Jonas, James Corden and many more.

Quite possibly the most offensive nominee on this list is Harry Styles.  Not because Styles isn’t a respected ally, but because he openly refuses to label himself, which is basically code for queer as far as anyone is concerned.

Not only does the award ceremony have a ‘straight celebrity ally’ category but also a straight corporate ally.  For an award ceremony about the LGBT+ community there seems to be a bit of focus on those not affected by the discrimination that comes with being queer.

The LGBT+ Award Ceremony does provide us with a few awards tailored toward queer personalities, but this is mostly celebrities (with three different categories) and, in one case, community leaders. There is zero recognition towards past LGBT+ activists or the older members of the community.

This award ceremony also includes a Media Moment category.  This list includes Laverne Cox’s appearance on the front cover of Composition Magazine; the short film In a Heartbeat; the character, Cyrus coming out on Disney’s Andi Mack and Australia saying ‘yes’.  While all of these are positive moments this list does supply its own issues.  For starters one of the nominees for this award is Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Tredeau’s apology to the LGBT+ community.  I shouldn’t have to tell anyone that despite the fact we can appreciate the apology, it isn’t something we should reward.  You don’t get a cookie for doing the right thing.

Another entry that made its way onto the Media Moments category is Star Treks’ same-sex couple. While we do need more of the moments demonstrated on this list, it almost seems like this category is just throwing out shout outs to people for doing stuff they should be doing.

However, the issues don’t end there. In the category for Brand or Marketing Campaign, YouTube was announced as one of the nominees. Yes, because promoting a company that demonetises LGBT+ content is super progressive.

I really do appreciate the intent behind this award ceremony, however I just wish that it was more thought out.  This award ceremony appears more offensive than progressive.  The exclusion of certain categories and maybe the adding of others, as well as more thorough research into the nominees could potentially go a long way.


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