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
    Winner: TwoDadsUK
    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
    Winner: Wickes
    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