Target: Fiona Marshall, Head of the Nomination Process
Goal: Do not give awards meant for LGBT celebrities, activists, and organizations to straight allies.
Straight individuals have been included on the British-based LGBT Awards shortlists for the annual awards show. The show has, in the past, aimed to honor famous members of the LGBT community who have embraced the culture and have used their fame to make strides for progress in public. It honors musicians, athletes, activists and also things like LGBT-friendly advertising campaigns. But this year’s shortlist includes straight allies, which has upset many voters.
The show is making an effort to include everyone to be as openly diverse as possible. That has lead to the creation of a new category, “Celebrity Straight Ally,” with nominations like Eddie Redmayne, who has played LGBT characters, and Brian May, who played in Queen with Freddie Mercury. Singers like Adele and Zayn Malik even show up in other categories, among others.
An awards show honoring LGBT celebrities does not have to make room for straight allies. Many of the allies nominated have done little besides give their blessings to the LGBT community. Being a voice for the LGBT community can be risky and even dangerous, often coming with threats of violence. While the community may need straight allies, and honoring all people for acceptance is important, they should not be included in this awards show. Demand straight categories be removed from this awards show.
Dear Ms. Marshall,
We are writing to question the inclusion of the “Celebrity Straight Ally” award at this year’s LGBT Awards. While respecting and honoring allies who speak out for the LGBT community is important, giving them awards seems to counteract the show’s whole purpose. The show is supposed to celebrate the progress made by LGBT celebrities and brands that can use their level of notoriety to promote change and acceptance. Giving awards to straight allies only quiets the celebrities instead.
Many of the nominees in the “Celebrity Straight Ally” category have done very little for the LGBT community. While something is better than nothing, people like Zayn Malik and Zoella have done little more than voice their support for the community and mention having gay friends.
Worse, there are allies nominated amidst actual LGBT celebrities. Adele and Little Mix, among others, are nominated alongside Frank Ocean and Sam Smith in the Musician category. If one of them were to win over an actual LGBT musician, it would negate the meaning of the whole show.
We understand that the show wants to be as diverse as possible, but it is not the right setting for honoring allies. The LGBT community faces discrimination at most award shows, and this should be a time to celebrate just the community. Please reconsider giving LGBT awards to straight allies in the future.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Gilbert Baker