Allies have used their platforms and the wide fan base behind them to spread a message of inclusivity and understanding across 2019.
Ally is a term referring to a person who does not identify as LGBT+ and advocates for equal rights and LGBT+ inclusion. With the growth of social media, notable figures have more opportunities to be vocal and many have used these platforms throughout 2019 to be amazing allies.
These allies have helped the LGBT+ community enormously across the year.
Michael B. Jordan
Black Panther actor Michael B. Jordan became the first actor-producer to adopt an inclusion rider for his production company Outlier Society. It was a formal declaration of the companies diverse hiring process to ensure “women, people of colour, people with disabilities, and members of LGBT+ and marginalised communities who are traditionally under-represented be depicted on screen in proportion to their representation in the population.” His decision is a great example for others to follow.
We can all agree this one is litch deserved. Holly Shortall is an active member of HIV activist group ACT UP Dublin and is an avid advocate for LGBT+ rights. She is well known for the podcast Popsessed which she co-hosts with Conor Behan. At Love Sensation’s big debut this year, the Queer Quarter was taken over by the hilarious duo who spilt some tea with very special guests.
Shortall has been nominated for the GALAS 2020 LGBT+ Ally award.
Star of BBC America’s critically acclaimed series Killing Eve Jodie Comer quickly turned into a queer icon in 2019. Speaking to Vulture about her character Villanelle, she said, “I know Villanelle has really resonated with the LGBT community. The fact that she’s unapologetically herself and free with her sexuality — her sexuality was something I never questioned and always celebrated.”
Comer further stated, “That’s what’s so refreshing. It’s just a part of her. That’s what I love about her. It’s not something that [the writers] spoke about or is featured really heavily — you just accept this woman for who she is. And I think it’s really beautiful.”
Little Mix have come along way since performing on the X-Factor in 2011. Band members, Perrie Edwards, Jesy Nelson, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, and Jade Thirlwall, have advocated for LGBT+ rights in numerous ways.
Their song Secret Love Song was dedicated to the victims of the Orlando Pulse shooting, they have danced with the queer community at London’s G-A-Y club, marched at Manchester Pride, and featured a same-sex romance in the Only You music video. Thirlwall’s 25th birthday party to raise money for LGBT+ charity Stonewall, which she serves as an ambassador.
Little Mix are amazing celebrity allies who throughout 2019 have shown support to the queer community.
Preaching body positive and self-love, Lizzo is a true powerhouse of talent who uses her platform to raise awareness about LGBT+ people. Queer designer Marko Monroe designs all her looks and she takes every opportunity to praise his talent online. Her songs have become an anthem for the queer community and a rally call to accept each other and yourself.
During #GoldenGlobes interview, 'Call Me By Your Name' star Timothée Chalamet was told champagne company Moët "will give $1,000 to the charity of your choice," and without hesitation he said New York's #LGBT Community Center https://t.co/r0Deew9RR5 #LGBTQ pic.twitter.com/ndMluO7EQZ
— LGBT+ News (@mondokoosh) January 9, 2019
Call Me by Your Name star Timothée Chalamet quickly rose to fame following the movies release and received an Oscar nomination for best actor. He always takes time to donate and raise awareness for LGBT+ causes.
During the Golden Globes in 2019, champagne company Moët said they would give $1,000 to a charity of Chalamet’s choosing. Without missing a beat, he said New York’s LGBT+ Community Centre.
Rupaul’s Drag Race judge Michelle Visage has been a longstanding ally with the queer community, however this year she took things to the next level with her appearance in Strictly Come Dancing.
Picking up her stage name ‘Visage’ from the Harlem ballroom scene, she paid homage to her voguing roots and her Drag Father Casar Valentino during the show. She performed a street/commercial routine to Madonna’s iconic Vogue song on Strictly Come Dancing.
It was a powerful performance which informed the audience about the rich history of the ballroom scene.
Model Naomi Campbell has always vocalised her love and commitment to the LGBT+ community. She has featured in Adidas 2018 campaign to raise funds for the Albert Kennedy Trust. Throughout her career as an actress, she has championed queer storytelling, constantly promoting further inclusion.
Speaking at the GLAAD red carpet, Campbell said, “If it wasn’t for gay men I wouldn’t exist. Hair, make-up, designer, photographer, stylist, manicure, hair-dresser, I mean, I just wouldn’t exist. I owe my life to gay men. And it’s just what I’ve grown up with. It’s my family.”
In 2018, singer Dua Lipa was brought to tears when police removed people waving Pride rainbow flags during a concert in China. On social media, she promised to “stand by you all for your love and beliefs.” And she is committed to keeping that promise.
On Instagram earlier in 2019, Lipa explained that her recent track Swan Song was inspired by ACT UP activists. She wrote, “lyrically the song references the brilliant minds at Act Up, a HIV and AIDS activist group from the 80s who’s motto [sic] was ‘Silence equals death’ with the hopes that everyday life we put into action this deeper meaning so that silence never become us.”
Speaking in an interview for his film Imitation Game, Benedict Cumberbatch said he would “take up arms” and “fight to the death” against people who force their homophobic beliefs on others. As a straight actor who played a gay character, he understands the stigma facing queer actors and has persistently worked to promote inclusivity. In 2019, he was on the shortlist for British LGBT+ Awards.
Singer Charli XCX not only said “gay rights” in 2019 but she sang it and lived it. Though at times this was a double-edged sword, she cemented herself as a true ally and continuously used her platform to spread a message of inclusion. Despite her unique sound, she has sadly not received the recognition she fully deserves from the industry. She has called out the sexism inherent in the business.
— Kim Woodburn (@kimwoodburn) August 24, 2019
The Queen of Clean has taken over social media with messages of queer positivity and inclusivity, making her one of the top celebrity allies of 2019. She really is scrubbing away the online hate with videos all about gin and happiness. Her message to Manchester Pride was an absolute joy of 2019 and shows that she is here for the queer community.
Hopefully, Woodburn will make an appearance on Drag Race UK season 2’s Snatch Game.
The 1975’s front singer Matty Healy made headlines this year after he kissed a male fan at a concert in Dubai. Openly defying the country’s strict anti-LGBT+ laws, this was both a protest and a celebration. He wrote on Twitter, “I don’t think we’ll be allowed back due to my ‘behaviour’ but know that I love you and I wouldn’t have done anything differently given a chance again.”
However, that was not the end of the story. After the kiss went public, Healy said, “I find who this kid is on Twitter and I start texting his mate, ‘Oh my God, are you all right?’” He replied: “What do you mean? We’re in a bar, it was the best night of my life,” and they start sending me selfies. I was like, “I read some sh*t”, and sent them links to what people were saying. They went on Twitter, saying: ‘Don’t f*cking do that.’ People just imagine things and present them as fact and it p*sses me off.’”
Showing his love for his queer fans and the fact that he deeply cares for the community, he is definitely among the top celebrity allies across 2019.
Atomic Bombshell actress Charlize Theron has been a strong ally to the LGBT+ community and in 2019, it took on a personal level as her daughter came out as trans. In April 2019, she said to the Daily Mail, “I have two beautiful daughters who, just like any parent, I want to protect and I want to see thrive. They were born who they are and exactly where in the world both of them get to find themselves as they grow up, and who they want to be, is not for me to decide.”
In December 2019, she made a public call for people to respect her daughter’s correct pronouns. Speaking to PrideSource, she said “My daughter’s story is really her story, and one day, if she chooses, she’ll tell her story. I feel like as her mother, for me, it was important to let the world know that I would appreciate it if they would use the right pronouns for her.”
Her family makes it an annual tradition to attend Pride marches.
Singer, songwriter, and activist Cyndi Lauper became the first person to receive the High Note Global Prize in 2019 for her years of activism towards stopping LGBT+ youth homelessness. It was an achievement she earned through her tireless activism and years of being an ally to the queer community.
Lauper co-founded the organisation True Colours United in 2008 to develop and implement programmes to bring an end to LGBT+ youth homelessness.
Despite her past controversy, singer Taylor Swift made a huge comeback in 2019 with a clear message to celebrate and support the LGBT+ community among the many celebrity allies this year. She created a petition to bring the Equality Act into law, stating during her MTV VMA Awards acceptance speech, “You voting for this video means that you want a world where we’re all treated equally under the law, regardless of who we love, regardless of how we identify.”
In the music video, You Need to Calm Down, numerous drag queens and queer creatives were given a chance to strut their stuff. However, it garnered a mixed reaction. Though Swift has returned with a strong queer message, people are undecided over her motivations.
These have been the top allies who have voiced their support and fought for LGBT+ rights across 2019.
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