Ten years ago, the term “Influencer” was not something considered a career path. But in the last decade, people having been utilising the growth of social media to their advantage. Social media is now a place to share experiences, educate others and promote diversity and equality through understanding. This is particularly prominent and important in the LGBTQIA+ community. There are now literally hundreds of LGBTQIA+ influencers in the UK who are deeply loved by their fans and followers.
Here we have compiled a list of the Top 10 LGBTQIA+ Influencers in the UK. These are people making waves for their ongoing activism and contribution to equality and diversity across the UK.
Top 10 LGBTQIA+ Influencers in the UK
10) Rose and Rosie
Rose and Rosie are a married couple who have gained a substantial number of dedicated followers over the years.
They release weekly videos ranging from general chats to more themed comedy videos such as ‘Lez Confess’. This is where viewers anonymously submit their confessions for them to react to. ‘Reactions’ is a weekly video where they react comically to online content as well as their general comedy improv videos direct from their couch.
Rose Ellen Dix uploaded her first YouTube video in September 2010. In 2014, she left her job at the Apple Store to dedicate all her time to her YouTube channel.
Rosie Spaughton uploaded her first YouTube video in December 2011 to her channel TheRoxetera, with a video entitled YDAHD.
Rose and Rosie have been posting as a duo since 2012. Fans love the personal touch they get from their videos, almost feeling a part of their lives. They also have a gaming channel and a dedicated Vlog. Their main channel has a whopping 934k subscribers. In 2018 they released their first book, “Overshare: Love, Laughs, Sexuality and Secrets.”
People identity with Rose and Rosie because of their open book nature. They are honest about the bad as well as the good, talking about suffering with OCD and anxiety. They keep each other real and their sense of humour ensures fans come back for new content each week.
In August 2016 they also made the AfterEllen Hot 100 list. Rosie was at number 23 while Rose at number 18. They’re funny, lively and smart women who have a lot of amusing observations to offer the world.
9) Suki Sandhu
Suki is the CEO and founder of INvolve and Audeliss.
INvolve is a membership organisation championing diversity and inclusion in business with membership initiatives working respectively across LGBTQIA+, ethnic minority and gender diversity.
Audeliss was born from a conviction that inclusivity and diversity across the executive business industry wasn’t good enough. Their aim as a company was to level the playing field for leadership teams and boardrooms globally so that everyone has a fair chance at the same opportunities. Diversity is at the heart of what they do, and they specifically represent LGBTQIA+, ethnic minorities and women.
Suki is an ambassador for Stonewall, the LGBTQIA+ rights charity. He also devotes his time to a number of charities with various means of support including the StandUp Foundation, Smartworks and The Albert Kennedy Trust.
At the European Diversity Awards he was awarded the “Innovator of the Year” prize. He also featured in “The Independent’s” Rainbow List of 101 LGBTQ people, placed at number 64.
Suki recently turned to the film industry, executive producing his first film, The Wedding, in 2018 about a young Muslim man preparing for his wedding while fulfilling a queer sexuality in secret due to a strict religious and cultural upbringing, and Alia’s Birth in 2020.
He received an OBE on the New Year’s Honours List 2019 for services to diversity in business. Also, Suki’s Twitter account is followed by over 24k people.
Follow Suki on Twitter here!
8) Munroe Bergdorf
Munroe is a British model and activist and was the first transgender model in the UK for L’Oreal.
She is best known for her frank insights into feminism, transgender rights and racial equality.
Munroe challenges the societal norms that have been in place for generations and encourages us to consider not just where we have come from, but where we are going as a society. She does this in order to promote diversity, inclusion and equality across all genders and all backgrounds.
She has been featured in a number of publications worldwide including “The Sunday Times” and “US Vogue”. The model has also fronted a number of campaigns for the likes of “Misguided” as well as Channel 4 documentary What Makes a Woman.
Munroe was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Brighton in 2019 in recognition of her campaigning for transgender rights. She is also a patron for transgender youth charity, Mermaids.
With over 61k followers on Twitter and in excess of 182k on Instagram, she is a guiding light for many young transgender people seeking comfort and hope that their existence will be accepted in a time where trans rights are coming under the microscope, and transphobia in the media and on social media platforms is rife.
Follow Munroe on Instagram here.
7) Sade Giliberti
Sade hails from South Africa but has been based in London for a number of years now working as a production manager, actress and TV presenter.
A former child star, beginning her career at the age of 7, she has been in the public eye for over 26 years.
In more recent years she started to speak publicly about her sexuality and is a strong symbol of representation for a number of young queer people.
She has over 44k followers on Twitter and over 50k on Instagram. Many of her followers admiring how she’s always remained true to her own aesthetic and embraced her unique style.
She also uses her platform to continue raising awareness about social issues in her home country of South Africa, including challenges and dangers faced by the LGBTQIA+ community.
Sade has been very open about her depression and talks candidly about mental health in a bid to support others suffering with similar issues. She became an ambassador for the South African Anxiety and Depression Group, and still works closely with them today.
You can currently see Sade in Spectrum London available on YouTube
Follow Sade on Twitter.
6) Oliver Thorn – AKA The Philosophy Tube
Oliver Thorn is a British bisexual actor who is best known for his YouTube Channel Philosophy Tube, which has 622k subscribers.
He launched his channel in 2013 as a response to the increase in UK university tuition fees, offering to teach philosophy for free. He used the platform to talk about the works of philosophers and his mission statement was to “give away a philosophy degree for free”.
His Patreon account states that “There are lots of channels on YouTube that will just summarise famous works of philosophy for you; I want to get people in a position where they can take cutting edge academia and apply it to the real world. So, as well as the classics like Socrates and Kant I also teach economics, global justice, feminism, the philosophy of gender, politics, art, and more!”
The channel has evolved over the years where Oliver uses his experience as an actor to make more theatrical videos using costumes, props and make-up.
Oliver has also written for publications “Huff Post UK”, “The Independent” and “Broadway Baby”.
In 2019 he read the Complete Works of Shakespeare on a Twitch stream to raise money for the Samaritans charity. He began on Friday August 23rd and completed the marathon on Tuesday August 27th, raising £109,447.54.
Subscribe to Philosophy YouTube here.
5) Travis Alabanza
Travis Alabanza is a London based performance artist, writer and theatre maker.
In the last two years they have been noted by publications such as “ARTSY” and “ID” as one of the most prominent emerging queer artistic voices. They have also been listed in “OUT” as an influential queer figure.
Travis gained exceptional recognition for their theatre show Burgerz, which received numerous 4 & 5 star reviews from the likes of The Stage and The Guardian. The show also won a Total Theatre Award in 2019.
Inspired by the time someone threw a burger at them and shouted a homophobic slur when walking across Waterloo Bridge, they became obsessed with burgers and used the visceral memory of the experience to explore gender, street harassment and colonisation.
In the spring of 2019, they created an immersive bedroom instillation at London’s Free Word Centre as part of the “All the Ways We Could Grow” exhibition. In an interview with The Guardian in March 2019, they said that the instillation was taking a look at what we learn about gender from how a bedroom is decorated.
With 19k followers on Twitter, they are using their platform to challenge stereotypes and promote diversity through their art and performance.
Many remember when Travis was prohibited from using a female changing room at a Topshop branch in 2017 and they tweeted about it, leading to a media frenzy and severe public backlash.
This is the source of a lot of their conversations on gender. For them, it’s not about the labels and how they are identified, but about the abuse they receive simply for looking and dressing how they do and feel this is the essential discussion to be had.
Follow Travis Alabanza on Twitter.
4) Jessica Kellgren Fozard
Jessica is a TV presenter and YouTube Vlogger from Brighton who began her vlogging career in 2011.
She is deaf and disabled and makes videos about living with her chronic illness and disabilities. She has been married to her wife, Claudia, since 2016 and they live with their dogs, Walter and Tilly.
An activist for LGBTQIA+ and disability awareness, she uses her platform to educate others about the realities of living with disabilities in a warm and amusing way.
Jessica’s biggest challenge has not been her sexuality but being constantly faced with how other people react to her “invisible” disabilities.
At 17, she was diagnosed with hereditary neuropathy with liability to pressure palsies (HNPP). The results are extreme palsy in her arms as well as numb areas of skin. She has difficulty with her grip, weakness in her limbs and suffers with severe fatigue.
She also has mixed connective tissue disorder (MCTD), an autoimmune disease where the body’s defence system attacks itself, which causes chronic joint pain, muscle inflammation and hypermobility amongst many other symptoms.
Her disabilities have led people to become impatient or angry at her when they don’t see any physical reason why she cannot do something, or why she’s using the disabled toilet or parking space.
She is a big fan of the vintage era and her Instagram, which pays homage to vintage fashion beautifully, has over 200k followers. Her message is to show that a little positivity will go a long way and prides herself on her sunny outlook on life.
She also loves Diet Coke.
Subscribe to Jessica’s YouTube channel here.
3) Jake and Hannah Graf
London based transgender power couple, Jake and Hannah Graf, have been making waves for some years now as transgender rights activists. Jake has inspired many with his filmmaking as a multi award-winning director and writer.
Jake transitioned in 2008 and drew on his experiences to make his first film, XWHY. He uses the medium to utilise trans representation in film in order to promote understanding and acceptance.
Jake uses his platform to advocate for trans equality. He has written on the topic for a number of magazines and is a patron of the transgender youth charity, Mermaids. He also gives numerous talks about the importance of supporting transgender rights and recognising that trans people are people.
Jake is married to Captain Hannah Graf, a decorated former Army Officer who served with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. In 2019 she was awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours list.
Coming out as a transgender woman in 2013, Hannah is one of the highest-ranking transgender soldiers in the British Army. Serving as a member of the Army LGBT Forum, she also became the Army’s Transgender Representative.
Hannah prides herself on being a visible role model for others and proving that trans women don’t have to live up to female stereotypes when it comes to their choice of career.
Hannah works both independently and with her husband as a transgender advocate and has made numerous TV appearances on UK chat shows.
Most recently, Jake and Hannah announced the birth of their first child via a surrogate. Their daughter, Millie, arrived in April 2020. They have also announced on ITV’s Lorraine that they have been making a documentary with Channel 4 following the process of surrogacy that will be aired in June 2020.
2) Lady Phyll
Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, more commonly known by Lady Phyll, is a co-founder and executive director of UK Black Pride. An event which promotes strength through unity for LGBTQIA+ people of African, Asian, Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Latin American decent.
Lady Phyll is also Executive Director at Kaleidoscope.
Kaleidoscope is the UK’s leading charity working to uphold and advance human rights for the LGBTQIA+ community.
She is an inspiring and motivating voice in the fight for equality for queer people of colour with over 20 years experience as an LGBTQIA+ rights activist and anti-racism campaigner.
Her nickname, Lady Phyll, was inspired by her public rejection of an MBE in 2016. In a recent interview for The Voice she said she feels the UK has a lot of work to do and a responsibility to dismantle the systems and structures that continue to leave LGBTQIA people around the world vulnerable and marginalised.
With over 17k followers on Twitter and a “DIVA” magazine column, Lady Phyll has a dedicated following and has inspired people to speak up across the UK in defence of LGBTQ+ equality for people of colour.
You can follow Lady Phyll on Twitter here.
1) Lucy Spraggan
At number one of our LGBTQIA+ UK Influencers is Lucy Spraggan!
Lucy is an English singer/songwriter from Stockport. Arguably, she is best known for her appearance on the UK talent show, The X Factor in 2012. She finished in 9th place after having to resign from the competition due to illness.
During the shows, Lucy was loved for her talent not just as a singer but also as a songwriter. She auditioned with her own composition, ‘Last Night’, which reached number 11 in the UK charts.
Her success and role as an influencer, however, has far surpassed her original appearance on the ITV1 show.
She came out as a lesbian at 14 years old and has never been afraid to be herself.
Her honesty and openness on her Instagram profile is what keeps her at 119k followers and growing.
In recent years, Lucy has undergone a significant body transformation. Having suffered from chronic pain and injury, she always found exercise difficult, but with dedicated physio and a specific regime.
She now has abs that Chris Hemsworth would be jealous of!
But she is mindful to promote body, health and positivity no matter your shape.
Her positivity and determination to always survive inspires her followers and makes her a truly admirable person.