Welsh rugby star Gareth Thomas, comedian Stephen K Amos and retired basketball player, psychologist and author John Amaechi, are among the judges who will consider entries to The Independent on Sunday's Pink Link over the coming weeks.
Readers have already submitted more than 500 nominations to the annual list, which celebrates the 101 most influential lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender men and women in Britain, since we announced its return last week. The decision of the judging panel, which also includes Ben Summerskill, chief executive of Stonewall, Greg Barker, the climate change minister, and the Conservative MP Margot James, will be announced on 23 October.
Tamsin Omond, founder of the environmental campaign group Climate Rush, who is also on the panel, said: "Today was scheduled to be Serbian Pride. The Serbian authorities will not promise the marchers' safety and so they have cancelled the event... It's not easy being out. In too many places it's a matter of life and death, of being accepted or being hated. It's essential that we continue to celebrate our differences rather than allowing rights to be – at best – a matter of toleration, not equality."
Fellow judge and Labour MP Chris Bryant said: "Despite all the changes over the past 15 years it's still true that a young gay teenager is six times more likely to commit suicide than his straight counterpart, so positive role models are really important."
Other judges are: Jane Czyzselska, the editor of Diva; Paris Scarlett Lees, of Trans
Media Watch; civil servant Paul Jenkins; and Tim Franks, the chief executive of PACE, a charity promoting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender well-being.
Last year, we awarded the joint No 1 position to Gareth Thomas and Mary Portas, the Queen of Shops. This year, we are asking for your help. Do you know of an unsung champion whose work promotes real progress and equality in this country? Is there someone whose name should be celebrated alongside such national treasures as Sir Ian McKellen, Alan Bennett, Sue Perkins and Jeanette Winterson? Let us know who inspires you. And if that person happens to be a chart-topping singer or a sporting star – well, we are happy to consider them too.
You can send your nominations in the following ways:
By email: email@example.com
Post your nomination online at: www.independent.co.uk/pinklist2011
By post to Pink List, The Independent on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF.
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