The awards, which will take place in May in London, are designed to “showcase individuals and organisations who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the LGBT community”.
The shortlist, which was announced on Wednesday, includes categories such as LGBT Broadcaster or Presenter, Sports Personality, Music Artist, LGBT Celebrity and Celebrity Straight Ally, as well as a variety of corporate awards which are judged by "industry experts”.
However, the shortlist has received criticism for its inclusion of many straight high-profile people like Malik - who alongside Sam Smith, Jess Glynne, Halsey, Frank Ocean, Years & Years, Adele, and Little Mix - has been nominated for Music Artist. In a description next to his name organisers point to the fact that in a 2014 interview when asked about sexuality he said: “Just be yourself. If that’s who you are, that’s who you are and don’t be afraid to be the person you are.”
Hi @BritLGBTAwards! Almost the weekend. How about we celebrate with an explanation of Zayn's LGBT award shortlisting? Y'know, just for fun?— Ryan John Butcher (@ryanjohnbutcher) February 19, 2016
Organisers included a disclaimer on their website next to artists such as Adele, Malik, Little Mix and Years&Years which said: “As part of our ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion, The British LGBT Awards accepted public nominations in this category, regardless of the nominee’s sexuality, gender, ethnicity, disability, age, education, race and religion.”
In the Straight Ally award category there has also been backlash for the inclusion of internet sensation Zoe Sugg, better known as Zoella, who apparently wrote in her book, Girl Online, she wanted to “spread awareness of anxiety, of gay teens struggling with how their parents dealt with their sexuality…” and also because her “best friend” is Tyler Oakley, a gay vlogger.
Zoella is nominated for an LGBT award cause she's friend with a gay person and Zayn is nominated for saying be yourself... Oh lord— Hayley (@haylxyy) February 18, 2016
So Zayn and Zoella were nominated over actual LGBT actors for an LGBT award for being decent human beings? That's so yikes.— jordan rose (@maliagif) February 18, 2016
Question: why are Zayn and Zoe Sugg nominated for the LGBT awards?? I'm genuinely asking bc I can't see the reasoning behind it— sara (@phans_ribena) February 18, 2016
Zoella got nominated for an lgbt award for being friends with Tyler Oakley.. But Tyler himself didnt get nominated for one..— Goth Vader (@FRNKNSTNGRLS) February 18, 2016
Some voiced their criticism of the inclusion of non-LGBT people and a “straight ally” category in general.
i can't believe the lgbt awards have a "celebrity straight ally" award. why are straight people being rewarded for agreeing w LGBT rights??— meg (@rhambokid) February 18, 2016
hey here's a neat idea how about we nominate more actual lgbt people for lgbt awards— rachel (@sxspendedspirit) February 18, 2016
STOP GIVING STRAIGHT PEOPLE LGBT AWARDS BEING AN ALLY DOESNT MAKE YOU A HERO IT MAKES YOU A DECENT PERSON— beth (@htebmcclean) February 18, 2016
why don't we give LGBT awards to.. you know.. LGBT... as opposed to giving them to straight people who show an ounce of human decency?— georgie (avocadokin) (@gcparty95) February 18, 2016
On their website, organisers invite the public to make their nominations in each category. Nominations were closed on 18 January and “campaigns or companies with the most public nominations go through to the shortlist”. Voting is now open although corporate winners are decided upon by a panel.
People who made 2015 a landmark year for LGBT rights
A spokesperson for the awards told the Independent: "The public nominations process has delivered an exciting and varied shortlist. This process is open, honest and reflects the will of the thousands of people who took part. The fact that the shortlist has created such a talking point can only be a good thing in helping the British public decide on their LGBT heroes and straight allies of 2016."
Last year’s award for Straight Ally of the Year went to Lorraine Kelly and Daniel Radcliffe. The Sports Personality of the Year award went to Tom Daley and Kylie Minogue accepted the Global Gay Icon award, which this year sees competition from: Cher, Hillary Clinton, Stephen Fry , Lady Gaga, Sir Ian McKellen, Bette Midler, Jennifer Saunders and George Takei.Reuse content