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Attitude Pride Awards: Meet 10 everyday LGBTQ heroes changing our community for the better

Meet the inspiring individuals being honoured at the 2021 Attitude Pride Awards, supported by Clifford Chance.

2021-06-17

The Attitude Pride Awards, supported by Clifford Chance, celebrate members and allies of our community who embody the spirit of LGBTQ Pride.

The LGBTQ community is what it is today due to the tireless efforts of everyday people who go out of their way to make an extraordinary difference, large or small, to the lives of queer people across society.

There are so many inspirational, unsung heroes among us and as part of the Attitude Pride at Home digital festival, in association with Klarna, we're honouring 10 of them.

You can read more about this year's Attitude Pride Award recipients in the Attitude Summer issue - out now to download and to order globally, and we'll be shining a spotlight on a different individual over the next 10 days.

Attitude Pride at Home, in association with Klarna, is to benefit the Attitude Magazine Foundation for LGBT causes – this year supporting ten amazing organisations.

To donate £5 please text ATHOME5 to 70480 or see our Virgin Money Giving link here. Visit attitudemagazinefoundation.com for more details.

Meet 2021's Attitude Pride Award winners and hear their stories of tragedy, triumph, and kinship below...

DAVID PAISLEY

The gay Scottish soap star taking a stand against hate in the fight for trans equality

Lights, camera, activism... David Paisley, star of BBC One Scotland’s River City, has made ripples with his work as an ally to the trans community.

The Scottish actor – who memorably shared a same-sex kiss in a Casualty/Holby City crossover episode in the early noughties – is a vocal critic of the trans-exclusionary group LGB Alliance, and formed LGBT Glitterati to raise money for the Legal Defence Fund for Transgender Lives, helping trans and non-binary people live their lives free from inequality.

BRAD GUDGER

The cancer survivor drawing on his own experiences to help those also affected by the disease

Brad Gudger’s life was turned upside-down when he was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of just 19. Life was going well until the cancer returned four years later.

Hit hard by the impact the disease had on him both mentally and physically, he underwent a life-saving bone marrow transplant in 2018.

Now in full remission, Brad channeled his experience as a survivor into launching Alike, a digital network aiming to combat loneliness and isolation among people with cancer.

SARAH JONES

The trans priest who kept her faith even when she was ‘outed’ to a national newspaper

Not all heroes wear capes, some wear dog collars. Meet Sarah Jones, the trans priest doing God’s good works and then some.

Sarah – the first person to have made a gender change and then be ordained in the Church of England – was ‘outed’ to a national newspaper in 2005 but was (mostly) supported by her peers and parish.

Based in Cardiff city centre, Sarah is a keen speaker on matters involving inclusion, and she fiercely maintains that Christianity is much queerer than we think. Gay-men to that.

PATRICK ETTENES

The youngest person in the UK living with early-onset dementia is changing the care system

Currently, the youngest person in the UK living with early-onset dementia, Patrick Ettenes received his diagnosis at 31 and found that there was little support for him as a young gay single man.

Patrick, now 38, co-founded Bring Dementia Out – alongside the Alzheimer’s Society – to improve services to LGBTQ+ people in the care system and housing associations. Patrick also guest lectures about living with HIV and substance abuse.

YASMIN BENOIT

The asexual activist and model shining a bright light on the ace community

Often described as the “face of asexuality”, Yasmin Benoit demands to be seen and heard as she reclaims and shifts the narrative around the ace community.

The British model and activist – who created the #ThisIsWhatAsexualLooksLike movement and also helped establish International Asexual Day on 6 April – uses her platform to tackle common misconceptions and spread the word about the letter often ignored at the end of the LGBTQIA+ acronym.

DR RONX IKHARIA

The trans non-binary doctor and television presenter inspiring youth today

Seeing is believing for Dr. Ronx Ikharia, who hopes their growing profile as a successful Black queer person will inspire the next generation to dream big and bold.

Based in Hackney, the 37-year-old medical emergency doctor and TV presenter (CBBC’s Operation Ouch, C4’s Is Covid Racist?) identifies as trans non-binary and takes their role model status seriously; when Ronx isn’t on the hospital ward, they volunteer for youth charities such as Hackney Quest and gives talks at schools in the area.

OLLY PIKE

The author and illustrator rewriting the story for LGBTQ+ children in UK schools

Children’s author and illustrator Olly Pike is at the forefront of a new chapter of inclusive education for queer youth.

As the director of Pop’n’Olly – an LGBT+ educational resource used by kids, teachers, parents, and carers to teach about diversity and acceptance – the 35-year-old wants to rip out homo, bi, and transphobia at the root.

Olly, who grew up in Rayleigh, Essex, in the shadow of Section 28, aims to have his latest book, Kenny Lives with Erica and Martina, in every primary school in the UK.

TED BROWN

The 71-year-old activist who dedicated his life to fighting for Black and queer rights

Earning his battle stripes, Ted Brown has spent his life on the frontline for Black and queer rights.

As a member of the Gay Liberation Front, Ted organised some of the early protests – including a kiss-in in London’s Hyde Park in 1971 – and went on to found Black Lesbians and Gays Against Media Homophobia.

The 71-year-old’s fighting spirit remains strong; last year, he joined a reformed GLF for a protest through the capital in honour of the 50th anniversary of the first Pride in New York.

BEN KAYE

The recovery worker helping other LGBTQ+ people battle their addiction issues

Swallowed up by the chemsex scene, with his drug use spiralling out of control, Ben Kaye found himself at rock bottom – but, after seeking treatment, he managed to turn his life around and, now 40, is a recovery worker helping other LGBTQ+ people overcome their substance abuse issues.

In 2018, Ben volunteered for The Amy Winehouse Foundation, before joining forces with the national addiction service We Are With You, to spearhead the UK’s first national LGBTQ+ service.

MARC THOMPSON

The community leader stamping out HIV stigma and uplifting Black gay men

Diagnosed with HIV at the age of 17 in 1986, Marc thought life was over. He went on to channel that experience into helping others.

Today, Marc lives his life openly and unapologetically as a HIV positive, Black, gay man, and is devoted to stamping out stigma and health inequalities.

In 2014, he set up PrEPster – alongside Will Nutland – to educate and agitate for PrEP access in the UK, and later created The Love Tank to cater for the needs of marginalised, vulnerable communities, including people of colour, trans people, and sex workers.

More recently, he kickstarted the Black and Gay, Back in the Day page on Instagram, to celebrate the Black, queer narrative in UK history.

Read more the this year's Pride Award recipients in the Attitude Summer issue, out now.

Subscribe in print and get your first three issues for just £1 each, or digitally for just over £1.50 per issue.