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13 May 2021, 12:17
In a speech made to parliament by the Queen on Tuesday, plans to finally take action against conversion therapy were announced. From Dua Lipa to Elton John, here are some of the biggest stars that championed the change!
Along with the ban on conversion therapy, the LGBTQ+ community has been promised greater support in the UK – long-promised changes changes have been fiercely supported by some of the biggest names in the music industry for quite some time.
Dua Lipa, Jade Thirlwall and Olly Alexander are just a few artists who have spent their careers pioneering for LGBTQ+ equality.
Conversion therapy is any practice that aims to change, convert or ‘cure’ a persons gender or sexual identity. The plan to outlaw the convention was first announced back in 2018 by then leader Theresa May and few steps have been taken to put this into action since. The public is yet to see a comprehensive plan to be published.
Ban Conversion Therapy is a group of faith communities and mental health practitioners who are united in calling for the UK government to illegalise the harmful practice. In July of 2020, Ban Conversion Therapy released an open letter to the government urging for the outlawing of the so-called ‘therapy’.
Many LGBTQ+ public figures and allies signed the letter in support of the long-overdue and urgently necessary change, so we’re going to be looking back at times the stars involved have championed for better LGBTQ+ rights.
Olly Alexander has had a busy year between Years & Years becoming a solo project and his acclaimed acting role in the hard-hitting mini-series, ‘It’s a Sin'. The show depicts a friendship group of gay men during the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 80s.
Before the popular acting role he had been a frequent advocate for HIV screening, urging people to get tested regularly as well as tackling topics around safe sex and anti-LGBTQ+ bullying.
He even presented a documentary in 2017 exploring the relationship between being queer and having mental health struggles, ‘Olly Alexander: Growing Up Gay”.
He frequently sheds light on these important topics during his live shows, notably making a spontaneous speech at Glastonbury in 2016 in light of the tragic Orlando nightclub shooting.
Olly had the privilege of collaborating with fellow trailblazer, Elton John, to perform 'It's a Sin', a cover of the Pet Shop Boys tracks that critiques the notion of making people believe their lifestyles are 'sinful'.
As a member of the LGBT community himself and undoubtedly one of the most famous openly gay musicians in the industry, Sir Elton John has long been involved in the conversation around gay rights.
In the 1980s he gave a founding donation to Stonewall, a charity campaigning for gay, lesbian and bi equality. Elton also established the Elton John Aids Foundation in 1992, Elton was ahead of the curve when it came to representation within music scenes. “I’m gay and I’m proud” he declared as he accepted the British LGBT Award in 2020.
Olly Alexander also won big that night, the pair have made a longstanding impact in the fight against HIV/AIDS in their respective careers.
So it came as no surprise that Elton was the first name attached to this hugely influential open letter to add pressure to the UK government on this issue.
Throughout Dua Lipa’s career, she has been repeatedly vocal about issues within the community. In 2018 she defended a fan at a Shanghai concert who was forcibly removed after waving a gay rights flag, visibly very upset she expressed to the crowd that she wanted her music to be a safe space for all.
Many in the community see Dua as an iconic ally who takes her duty in the public eye seriously. She gave a teary-eyed speech at the Attitude Awards in December 2020 that paid tribute to LGBT youth, highlighting how the effects of the pandemic have especially been hard on the queer community.
Jade Thirlwall is an avid member of the gay community, with many bestowing an icon ally status onto her. Little Mix’s music is held to high regard among the gay club scenes in the UK, she also had a wildly successful stint as a guest judge on RuPaul's Drag Race.
Her allyship has set the bar for those who look up to her, setting an example to fans on how they too can be an ally to the community.
The Little Mix ballad, 'Secret Love Song', is frequently dedicated to gay fans during live shows with Jade saying "this song is very important to us because of the impact it's had on our fans, especially our LGBT fans. Love whoever you want to love!"
#LGBT is trending? Remember that ICONIC moment Little Mix sang their LBGTQ anthem at Dubai, and displayed a pride flag, where in Dubai they could’ve been charged as homosexuality is illegal there pic.twitter.com/dwnbGR7TQE— CONFETTI OUT NOW (@suportlittlemix) March 4, 2021
The futuristic pop songstress has cemented herself into gay culture with bop after bop, growing an inclusive audience along the way. She is a frequent collaborator with the majority of her releases being alongside queer talent, the likes of Troye Sivan, Christine and the Queens and Kim Petras to name a few - another listen to '1999' anyone?
Upon receiving the Gay Times Honour for Allyship in Music she said "The LGBTQ community has been such a huge part of my career, it’s a community that’s constantly inspired me, constantly lifted me up"
Charli and fellow queer icon, Troye Sivan, even co-founded Go West Fest, a one-day festival celebrating LGBT people.
MARSHA P JOHNSON: LEGENDARY. POWERFUL. ICONIC. PROGRESSIVE. LEARN HER LEGACY. EDUCATE YOURSELVES 💖 pic.twitter.com/UBdtddrsLW— Charli (@charli_xcx) June 6, 2020
Declan McKenna has been a vocal LGBTQ+ rights advocate since bursting onto the scene in 2015 after winning Glastonbury Festival's Emerging Talent Competition.
After adopting a more glam-rock style whilst on tour he was quickly subjected to questions surrounding his sexuality. Declan declines to label himself, something many more individuals are opting to do. Although he has stated that the identity pansexual may be the closest term that he relates to.
Fans were thrilled to see Declan's signature on the influential Ban Conversion Therapy open letter, and it looks like we may finally be seeing results from the pressure applied.
The road to completely banning these awful conversion practices may not be as straightforward as we would want them to be, but we are delighted to see that these stars have come out in the masses to support this crucial cause.
If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please check our article on How To Get Help With Your Mental Health or the below LGBTQ+ links
MindOut is a mental health service run by and for lesbians, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer people.
Stonewall campaigns for the equality of lesbian, gay, bi and trans people across Britain.
A charity helping gender-diverse kids, young people and their families since 1995.