Sam Smith, Dame Kelly Holmes, Nicola Sturgeon and Lord Michael Cashman CBE lead the winners at the 2023 Bank of London Rainbow Honours
- Awards ceremony was hosted by TV personality Gok Wan and Naked Attraction presenter Anna Richardson
- Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes saw off stiff competition from Graham Norton, Philip Schofield and Tom Daley for the Celebrity LGBTQIA Champion prize
- Global music icon Sam Smith triumphed against Adam Lambert to be named Musician of the Year
- Scotland’s former First Minister scoops coveted Celebrity Ally Award
Global music icon Sam Smith was among the big winners at the 2023 Rainbow Honours which took place in front of a star-studded crowd at the Natural History Museum tonight (Wednesday 17 May).
The multi-platinum winning artist, who shot to fame in 2014 with his smash hit ‘Stay with Me’, was named Musician of the Year. He was up against Eméli Sande, Adam Lambert and Becky Hill.
Hosted by fashion icon Gok Wan and TV personality Anna Richardson, the Rainbow Honours celebrate leading LGBTQI activists, allies and celebrity figures who have worked to advance the rights of LGBTQI people during the past 12 months.
Big names from music, entertainment and television all turned out for the LGBTQI extravaganza, with Loose Women’s Denise Welch, Blue’s Duncan James, Sinitta, Dr Ranj Singh and broadcaster and former footballer Lianne Sanderson all gracing the red carpet.
The double Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes, who came out as gay in 2022, was honoured with Celebrity Champion of the Year – beating Graham Norton, Tom Daley and Philip Schofield.
Scotland’s former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who fought tirelessly for LGBTQI rights while in office, beat Daniel Radcliffe, Dawn French and Suranne Jones to scoop the Celebrity Ally gong.
BBC soap Eastenders scooped Media Moment of the Year for its Suki and Eve lesbian affair storyline. Jake and Hannah Graf, who in 2020 became the UK’s first transgender parents, were named Campaigner of the Year. The couple have helped champion the national conversation around trans equality.
The home improvement retailer and garden centre, Wickes, was recognised with Large Brand of the Year while Tyler Lee and Austin Key of global manufacturer Unilever were bestowed with Outstanding Network Lead.
UK Black Pride, which is Europe’s largest celebration for LGBTQI plus people of black, asian and minority ethnic descent, collected the Community Initiative of the Year prize.
Meanwhile the largest LGBTQI rights organisation in Europe, Stonewall, were given the prestigious Charity of the Year award.
The Eastenders actor, politician and LGBTQI activist Lord Michael Cashman CBE was handed the highly coveted Lifetime Achievement accolade. The Member of the House of Lords gave an impassioned speech championing the giant strides which have been made across Britain but there is still work to do to achieve LGBQI equality across the globe.
Commenting on the winners, host Anna Richardson said:
“There were so many deserving LGBT+ people and allies who have been rightly recognised this evening. It is fantastic to be part of this wonderful awards ceremony.”
Rainbow Honours Founder, Linda Riley, added:
“We were delighted to be able to honour the work of the personalities, celebrities, brands and allies who have stood in solidarity with the LGBTQI community during what continues to be an incredibly tough time. They have spent the past 12 months advancing the rights of our community in the UK and across Europe.
“All of the winners and nominees are incredibly deserving.”
Anthony Watson, Founder and Group Chief Executive Officer at headline sponsors The Bank of London, said:
“This is the second year of The Bank of London Rainbow Honours, and our firm is incredibly proud to honour those individuals who are our role models and allies, and the many organisations that work so tirelessly for the betterment of LGBTQI+ people across the United Kingdom. Many congratulations to all the champions who have been recognised for all they do.”
Full winners - Bank of London Rainbow Honours 2023
The Bank Of London Small Brand Or Organisation Of The Year
Highly Commended: Moonlight Experiences
Optum Inspirational Role Model Of The Year
Winner: Marie-Helene Tyack – Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty
Highly Commended: Adam Wilson – Virgin Media O2
Outstanding LGBTQIA Network Of The Year
Winner: RainbowNet UK&I – DHL
Highly Commended: Proud FT – Financial Times
Marketing Campaign Of The Year
Winner: ‘A to Z of Awesome’ Campaign – LEGO
Highly Commended: #AllOurPride – Pride in London
New LGBTQIA Network Of The Year
Winner: Together with Pride – Swiss Re
Highly Commended: Lockton Pride – Lockton
Head Of Diversity Of The Year
Winner: Yasir Mirza – Financial Times
Highly Commended: Sarah Fennell – Macquarie Group
Gilead Outstanding Network Lead Of The Year
Winner: Tyler Lee & Austin Key – Unilever
Highly Commended: Liam O’Shaughnessy – GSK
Financial Times Corporate LGBTQIA Champion Of The Year
Winner: Emily Hamilton – RS Group plc
Winner: Richard Hartley-Parkinson – Metro
Highly Commended: Jacqui Rhule-Dagher – Hogan Lovells International LLP
Corporate Ally Of The Year
Winner: Caroline Frankum – Kantar
Highly Commended: David Ellis – Jacobs
Centrica Community Initiative Of The Year
Winner: UK Black Pride
Highly Commended: Mosaic LGBT+ Young Persons’ Trust
DHL Large Brand Or Organisation Of The Year
Highly Commended: Unilever
GSK Charity Of The Year
Winner: Stonewall UK
Highly Commended: Black Trans Alliance
Sedulo Celebrity Ally Of The Year
Winner: Nicola Sturgeon
Highly Commended: Beverley Knight
Musician Of The Year
Winner: Sam Smith
Highly Commended: Adam Lambert
Campaigner Or Influencer Of The Year
Winner: Jake and Hannah Graf
Highly Commended: Jude Guaitamacchi – Becoming Jude
Media Moment Of The Year
Winner: Eastenders – Suki and Eve’s storyline
Highly Commended: I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! – Jill Scott MBE
Melrose Celebrity LGBTQIA Champion Of The Year
Winner: Dame Kelly Holmes
Highly Commended: Michael Gunning
Raytheon Lifetime Achievement
Winner: Lord Michael Cashman CBE