Gold – Russell T Davies
To this day it’s hard to believe the audacity of Queer As Folk, which burst onto our screens back in 1999, exposing the general public to the hedonism of the gay scene, while tackling an eye-popping range of issues along the way. Writer Russell T Davis certainly got people talking, although ironically was shunned by some of the gay community in Manchester, who saw the glamorous depiction of Canal Street as an open invitation to hen parties and straight people to come and join in the fun. Since then he has introduced the world – and, more importantly, the next generation – to gay aliens and bisexual immortals with his hugely successful relaunch of Doctor Who and its spin-off Torchwood and is currently writing a brand new series for children’s television.
Silver – Stephen Fry
As an actor, author, presenter, playwright, journalist, comedian, poet, film director and prolifically witty Tweeter, Fry raises gay visibility and awareness on just about every level, while he’s also rather good at speaking out about gay rights in both an intelligent and eloquent manner.
Bronze – Boy George
Spreading opinion like Marmite, he has nevertheless been out there since he first burst onto your TV screens on Top of the Pops in the 1980s, shocking your granny in the process. And he’ll fight the gay cause until he’s white in the face.
Gold – Ben Cohen
Former England rugby union player Ben challenged sporting stereotypes and notions of machismo by founding the Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation in 2011 to help combat homophobia and bullying. Not only is he the second highest England scorer of all time, he is now the first straight professional athlete in the world to dedicate his philanthropic efforts into helping the LGBT community by tacking both bullying and homophobia in sport. Money raised through events, donations and the StandUp brand go towards funding both the foundation’s own original work and the work of other members of the StandUp Network both here and in the States.
Silver – Elizabeth Taylor
One of the ultimate and much-missed gay icons, Liz was also an incredible humanitarian, helping to raise $270 million for HIV and AIDS-related projects and charities following the death of her friend Rock Hudson.
Bronze – Patsy Stone
For some light relief (and she knows all about light relief) we had to include our favourite Ab Fab character, whose alcohol consumption, promiscuity and substance abuse far outstrips ours and has therefore made us feel better about ourselves for years.