Celebrity allies provided much-needed support for the LGBTQ+ community in 2020 through moving messages and actions of solidarity.
Amidst nationwide lockdowns and a global rise in discriminatory actions, many queer people found themselves isolated from their support networks and community spaces. During these difficult times, support services, allies, artists, and many more rose to offer much-needed messages of solidarity.
In 2020, communities engaged in discussions around the term allyship and what it meant to be an ally, such as upgrading from ally to accomplice in the fight against racism, standing in solidarity with the trans community, and how to be an ally to the bi community. While physical distancing presented itself as a challenging hurdle for many, this year has highlighted the importance of uplifting each other and amplifying voices from different backgrounds.
Here are some of the celebrity allies who have helped the LGBTQ+ community throughout 2020:
Music superstar FKA Twigs supported the LGBTQ+ community in 2020 by launching a fundraising campaign for sex workers who lost their income due to COVID-19. On her Instagram, she wrote, “I feel like now is the time for me to step forward, pay respect, and shine a light on the challenges facing sex workers, especially during these uncertain times.”
“Sex workers I know and have met have discipline, craft, talent and work ethic – not only do they deserve better long-term, but their income has been wiped out by the lockdown and many are invisible to the financial aid available to others,” the singer further wrote.
FKA Twigs continued to show her support through a social media handover to sex worker-led organisations. It was a powerful call for awareness and solidarity, highlighting queer club nights and “the ultimate empowerment party led by the hottest LGBTQ+ Womxn of colour.”
The legendary Gloria Estefan was a wonderful ray of light in 2020, bringing new music and messages of love for the LGBTQ+ community. While speaking with GCN, she shared a heartwarming message of love. The singer said, “I was always going to be a supporter and I was for gay marriage before anybody was really saying anything because I think it’s a contract between two people that love each other. Why should anybody get involved in that? Why should that have to be a right? You’re a human being, you should love who you love, and you should be who you are.”
Estefan was previously honoured by the National LGBTQ Task Force in Miami with the National Leadership Award in 2017. Her allyship has always remained at the forefront, helping support the community through positivity and messages of love.
Derry Girls star Nicola Coughlan has always been a vocal ally for the LGBTQ+ community. Plus her tweets at Elton John’s Oscar party this year were simply a joy to experience.
During 2020, Coughlan voiced her overwhelming support for the trans community. On Twitter, she shared, “#WhyImATransAlly because we should allow people to live in their truth and happiness and defend them against anyone who denies them of that. #WhyImATransAlly is trending Number One in the UK! I hope trans and NB people see this and see how much support and love there is for them.”
Irish singer Hozier continues to be an incredibly powerful and vocal ally for a range of social issues. From ending Direct Provision to advocating against image-based sexual violence in Ireland, he has used his large platform across 2020 to raise awareness and visibility.
During Pride month, Hozier wrote on Twitter, “Trans rights are human rights. I don’t know who might need to hear this today but you are loved, you are seen and you deserve to be happy and respected for who you are and the God-given life you live. Solidarity, love and happy.”
Paramore singer Hayley Willaims delivered a strong message against homophobia while also opening up about why certain members are no longer in the band. On Twitter, she expressed her stance against discriminatory views and love for the LGBTQ+ community.
and ya know, if that doesn’t jive with you, well, feel free to go to where all past members of paramore have gone which is literally anywhere else but paramore.
to paramore’s LGBTQ+ family (and @ColormeBrian i am talkin straight to you) you are full of love and you are loved.
— hayley from Paramore ? (@yelyahwilliams) October 28, 2020
Williams wrote, “Paramore do not condone religiously/politically dogmatic beliefs which leave our LGBTQ+ friends, fans, & family feeling abandoned and hopeless. And ya know, if that doesn’t jive with you, well, feel free to go to where all past members of Paramore have gone which is literally anywhere else but Paramore. To Paramore’s LGBTQ+ family (and Brian J O’Conner I am talking straight to you) you are full of love and you are loved.”
Following JK Rowling’s transphobic tweets, actor Daniel Radcliffe opened up about the importance of being an ally and the need to support trans and non-binary people. In June 2020, he shared a moving message of solidarity through LGBTq+ suicide prevention charity The Trevor Project.
Radcliffe wrote, “Transgender women are women. Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I.”
Alongside numerous other celebrity allies, the phenomenal Olivia Coleman signed an open letter condemning “hostility and violence” against trans women on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls 2020. It reads, “We are feminists and we write, on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls, to express our solidarity with trans women, particularly trans women of colour, who experience violence and hostility so frequently it is almost a way of life.”
“Our firm belief is that an end to violence against women and girls will only be possible with the full might of the sisterhood working together – and so our feminism is against all violence, against all women,” the letter further states.
Gentleman Jack star Suranne Jones’ wonderful advocacy for the queer community was acknowledged at the British LGBT Awards 2020. She received the Ally of the Year Award during a virtual event in November.
During the British LGBT Awards 2020 ceremony, she expressed, “I’m really touched. It’s just a wonderful, wonderful award to receive. And I will continue to be your ally for as long as you’ll have me…I know we can’t all be together but it’s so important that these awards go on, and that the nominees are honoured and a light is shone upon them in this way.”
Queer icons and celebrity allies delivered a powerful message of remembrance for World AIDS Day 2020. Various performers starred in a moving video co-produced by playwright Matthew López and the AIDS memorial Instagram account.
The video project features actor and producer Glenn Close, singer Leslie Odom Jr., actor Russell Tovey, activist Jay Armstrong Johnson, dancer Robbie Fairchild, and so many more. They each perform a section of Walter’s speech at the end of The Inheritance play in Act 1.
Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles shut down homophobic comments from a conservative Christian group following her appearance in an Uber Eats commercial alongside Queer Eye star Jonathan Van Ness. After One Million Moms targeted the commercial, the athlete stood proud beside her co-star.
My new training buddy @jvn and I have something to show you with our friends at @ubereats ? #ad pic.twitter.com/gQriITz21N
— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) October 18, 2020
Biles wrote on Twitter, “The world we live in makes me sad, but I’d do x1000000 more commercials with you just to piss everyone off! The LGBTQIA will always have my support and feel welcome on my socials.”
Actor Remy Hii and more than a dozen other Australian based celebrities called for the release of a gay man who has spent years in a detention centre. During the video Freedom4Ali, numerous stars read a message from the man about his experiences.
In the Freedom4Ali video, the celebrities state, “In Australia’s Immigration prison, I can’t be free, I can’t be who I am. COVID has meant I haven’t had any visitors for most of 2020. Now the Immigration Minister has refused to look at my claim as a gay man fleeing life-threatening violence. After that, my case manager said, ‘There is nothing for you here. Do you want to go back home?’ I said ‘I can’t go home. I’ll be killed’. I want to live.”
Former Spice Girl and superstar Mel C made it clear that the Girl Power motto was absolutely inclusive of the trans community. In an interview with NME, the singer praised the non-binary performers she has worked with for teaching her to look beyond gender.
During the interview, Mel C stated, “We’ve always talked about Girl Power being about equality – and it’s equality for all. Like Black Lives Matter, it’s about education. We’re afraid of the things we don’t understand and that’s where prejudice comes from. I’m very proud to be an ally to the trans community.”
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