The annual Independent on Sunday Pink List is back! As we open nominations for 2013’s list of Britain’s most influential lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, we can expect several things to happen:
Hundreds of you will nominate people who inspire you. Many will probably nominate actress Heather Peace, several times. (We’ve learned over the years: her fans love her.) Our judges, including Kim Watson, the publisher of Diva magazine, and Christine Burns, the activist, blogger and poet, along with Independent on Sunday staff, will spend many hours arguing over whether Ian McKellen is more influential than Sue Perkins or Clare Balding more so than David Laws. We will publish the final list on 13 October. Some of you will love it, and others will hate it.
Every year we ask ourselves if the Pink List has become pointless or irrelevant. Is there any need to highlight the contribution of gay people to British life when discrimination is illegal and equal marriage is soon to become a fact? But every year we are convinced it still has a place. Since its inception in 2000, the list has grown from 50 people who seemed quite rare and brave, to 101 people, plus some extra lists so we can try to cram everyone in. We think that is cause for celebration.
When, in 2010, the rugby player Gareth Thomas was No 1, we received an email from a reader saying he had finally felt able to come out to his dad. Yet there is still not one openly gay footballer in the British game. Last year, another reader’s 10-year-old daughter was thrilled to see her heroine, the boxer Nicola Adams, top the list. But at the same time as we celebrated the historic, gold-medal-winning achievements of a woman who just happens to be bisexual, a report showed a quarter of young gay people in England have been assaulted because of their sexuality.
Often, your criticisms of the Pink List lead to improvements. Readers’ comments led to the opening up of the nominations to the public and the appointment of a judging panel. They have also made us focus on what we mean by “influential”. There are those who object to the inclusion of the likes of Mr Laws, who hid his sexuality until a bungled expenses claim made it public knowledge. But there’s no denying that, as a minister of state, he has influence. Others object when celebrities are rated higher than politicians or campaigners.
We would like you to consider all forms of influence when nominating this year. You can suggest as many people as you like and, of course, feel free to nominate Heather Peace 10 times. We know some of you want to.
Online entries: http://www.independent.co.uk/pinklist2013
Post: Pink List, The Independent on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF