The list will be supported by a week-long LGBT+ takeover on The Dots, only featuring projects created by the LGBT+ community of creative talent.
The list is the result of The Dots asking 10 influential LGBT+ icons to nominate risings stars who they believe are redefining the creator landscape.The result? A unique list of trailblazing LGBT+ creators who are reshaping the industry with raw talent, big ideas and crazy hard work. All with the aim of inspiring the next generation of creative leaders and to shine a spotlight on a diverse and brilliant mix of LGBT+ visionaries.
As a dyslexic sole female tech founder, Jamieson has been a passionate advocate for diversity in all its forms.
The icons asked to nominate their trailblazers include presenter and activist Sandi Toksvig, Chaka Sobhani, chief creative officer at Leo Burnett, ‘the first out muslim drag queen’ Asifa Lahore and founder and editor of Hello Mr, Ryan Fitzgibbon.
The Dots is on a mission to drive diversity across the creative industries. Pip Jamieson, CEO of The Dots, explains: "LinkedIn perpetuates the myth that to succeed we need to conform. But it’s our differences that give our industry its competitive edge - they are the key to unlocking our creative potential. That’s why I put diversity at the core of The Dots . We give unsung diverse talent (and the incredible work they create) the platform they deserve. I know that together we can create a better and more diverse industry for everyone."
As a dyslexic sole female tech founder, Jamieson is a passionate advocate for diversity in all its forms. Currently 62% of The Dots community is female, 31% is BAME and 16% is LGBT+. The Dots’ algorithm ensures more diverse talent features higher in search results.
See the list below to meet the amazing 100 LGBT+ trailblazers and learn more about who is colouring the future of our creative industries.
Bursting with positive energy, Chaka Sobhani, chief creative officer of Leo Burnett, has 20 years of experience in the advertising and broadcast industry. Starting out as a comedy writer, Chaka went on to launch children’s channels across the world, start up ITV Creative and direct at top agency Mother.
- Tara Mckenty, Creative Director, Google Sydney
- Ashly Perez, Director, Actor, Producer, #ladiesmakingthings
- Hayley Kiyoko, Singer
- Shan Huq, Designer
Sandi Toksvig OBE is a comedian, writer, actor, presenter, producer and political activist, well known for her quick-witted presenting of shows including The Great British Bake Off. Her dedication to women’s rights led to her co-founding of The Women’s Equality Party in 2015.
- Shelley Silas, Playwright
- Ayishat Akanbi, Fashion Stylist, Writer, Cultural Commentator & Artist
- Hana Tanimura, Senior Designer, Google Creative Lab NY
- Hannah Peaker, Chief of Staff Women’s Equality Party & Activist
- Zanele Muholi, Visual Activist
In 2018, designer and creative director Ryan Fitzgibbon launched Hello Mr, a magazine crossing boundaries of print, engaging in extended conversation about culture and identity. Ryan’s aim is to create an outlet made up of poetry, essays and photography for a generation of gay men and the wider LGBT+ community misrepresented in the media.
- Ryker Allen, Photographer & Photo Editor, Hello Mr.
- Amit Greenberg, Artist & Creative Director
- Marcelo Gutierrez, Makeup Artist, Writer & Filmmaker
- Yezmin Villareal & Bridget Ore, Co-founders of Dyke Queen Zine
- New Pandemics, Casting & management agency dedicated to increasing LGBTQ+ visibility
Zing Tsjeng is an author and journalist, commandeering Broadly, the digital platform for women, slickly curated with conversations from a diverse array of women on subjects such as identity, sexuality, lore, subculture and politics. Zing’s documentaries have millions of views and her book series Forgotten Women pins down amazing women forgotten in patriarchal history books.
- Amelia Abraham, Writer & Journalist (refinery29, VICE, Guardian)
- Tom Rasmussen, Writer & Journalist (VICE, DAZED, refinery29, i-D, Independent)
- Ayesha Tan Jones, Artist, Musician & Founder of Shadow Sistxrs Fight Club
- Karnage Kills, Grime Artist
- Juno Roche, Writer, Campaigner & Activist
Credited by The Guardian and The Independent as one of the most influential LGBT people in the UK, Charlie first hit headlines with her award-winning campaign nail transphobia where she raised transgender awareness while giving manicures. 2017 saw the publication of her inspirational anthology To My Trans Sisters.
- Mario Pimenta, Graphic Designer
- Alessandro Merlo, Photographer
- Rene Matich, Conceptual Artist
- Le Roni, Headpiece Designer
- Paula Akpan, Director, Black Girl Fest & Social Media Editor, gal-dem
Asad Dhunna is a London-based marketing and communications director, who heads up marketing for London Pride. In his writing, Asad explores what it is like living as a gay muslim man, describing it as ‘living in the world’s smallest venn diagram’. For 2018 Pride, Asad worked on the Somewhere Over The Rainbow Campaign with BMB.
- Sharan Dhaliwal, Founder & Editor in Chief, Burnt Roti Mag
- Chirag H Patel, Art Director
- Poonum Chauhan, Studio Founder of Moon Creative & Head of Design, Pride in London
- Lara Kingsbeer, Marketing Officer, TATE & Marketing Volunteer, PrideAM
- Laurie Garnons Williams, Filmmaker
Asifa is ‘Britain’s first out Muslim Drag Queen’ discussing the intersectionality of being muslim and LGBT+. After rising to prominence for being censored from BBC Free Speech and appearing in C4’s Muslim Drag Queens, Asifa inspires at events such as Women of the World, DJs at top Gaysian clubs and shares her transition experience.
- Vishal Gaikwad, Founder of Glitter Cymru
- Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor, Producer & Director, Joi Productions
- Joseph Adesunloye, Film Director & Founder of DreamCoat Productions
- Travis Alabanza, Artist, Performer & Writer
- Lasana Shabazz, Drag Artist & Performer
In 2012, Jeff Taylor co-founded Courier Media Magazine, a publication reporting on startup culture from around the world and business in the modern age. The magazine sets out to challenge conventions of how and why companies are to inspire a new generation of people who want to work differently.
- Asad Dhunna, Director of Communications, Pride in London
- Megan Lucero, Director of the The Bureau Local, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism
- Charlie Craggs, Trans Activist & Author
- Tom Stevens, Head of Brand, Pride in London
Co-Founders, BBZ London
In 2016, filmmaker Naeem and photographer Tia founded BBZ, a series of all-inclusive parties. By broadening horizons from nightlife accommodating white, gay men, BBZ re-represents and moulds safe spaces for queer, trans and intersexed people of colour - combining curated work from artists and tapping into contemporary youth culture.
Tia & Naeem’s nominations:
- Kai Isaiah Jamal, Writer & Spoken Word Poet
- Travis Alabanza, Artist, Performer & Writer (Second time nomination)
- Bernice Mulenga, Multi-disciplinary Artist
- Sandra Falase, Writer, Artist & Scenic Set Builder
- Imani Robinson, Writer, Researcher, Curator
Mixing marketing, creative strategy, editorial and content, Brendan McKnight has worked at leading publications including Desktop Magazine (design), Dumbo Feather (culture periodical) and Frankie (Australia’s #1 women’s mag). Brendan is now the Head of Content & Community at The Dots, leading the strategy behind its diversity initiatives.
- Rose Pilkington, Digital Artist & Motion Designer
- Andy Dexterity, Performance maker & Deaf Australia Ambassador
- Tin Nguyen, Graphic Designer, Tin & Ed
- Samuel Leighton-Dore, Queer Writer, Director & Visual Artist
- Tanya Compas, Youth Worker, Writer & Head of Youth Engagement, UK Black Pride
Cecilie Harris is an established freelance fashion and portraiture photographer working with brands such as Sony Music, I-D and Pretty Green. In 2011, Cecilie founded Boys by Girls a bi-annual magazine dissolving stereotypes in the photographic gaze, capturing the beauty and voice from contemporary young men through the female lens.
- Mitch Zachary, Photographer
- Matthew Regan, Writer
- Desmond is amazing, Drag kid
- Keiynan Lonsdale, Actor
- Connor Franta, Youtuber, Entrepreneur & Writer
Quickly becoming a queen of the comedy circuit, Duker is a writer and comedian discussing all-important agendas such as the injustices of being a black woman in Britain today via laugh out loud performances. Sophie also stars in C4’s pilot Riot Girls, is a BBC New Comedy Award finalist, and alumni of the Pleasance Comedy Reserve.
- Liv Wynter, Artist, Educator, Activist & Writer
- Ellen Jones, Activist, Writer & YouTuber
- Kemah Bob, Comic, Actress & Producer
- Liv Little, Editor-in-Chief, gal-dem
- Almass Badat, Artist, Creative Consultant & Activist
John’s advocacy of LGBT+ visibility in both creative and social spaces are channelled via his position as COO and CFO of The Dots and a founding member of the UK’s first LGBT+ entrepreneurs network Series Q. The Dots’ mission is to spotlight traditionally underrepresented groups to tell their stories and help them to gain access to creative opportunity.
- Tea Uglow, Creative Director, Google Creative Lab, Sydney
- Mark Runacus, Chief Strategy Officer at Karmarama, Chair of the DMA board & President of PrideAM
- Tamara Littleton, CEO & Founder, The Social Element and Polpeo, Founding Committee Member of SeriesQ
- Samuel Dougal, Designer and Bespoke Tailor
- Harrison Pearce, Sculptor and Artist
- Elizabeth Valleau, Global Creative Strategist, AR Specialist at Facebook London
Words are Rhyannon’s way via magazines and websites such as Elle, Broadly and The Sunday Times Style. Her forte is in fashion and identity with much of her work discussing the journey of transitioning. This has been to acclaim in her memoir The New Girl: A Trans Girl Tells it Like it Is. Rhyannon’s side hustles include performance art and modelling.
- Norman Boulton, Stylist, Not Another Salon
- Travis Alabanza, Artist, Performer & Writer (Third time nomination)
- Lucy Fizz, Dancer & Trans Icon, Glitterbox
- Robbie-Lee Valentine, YouTuber, RLVTV
- Eve Stainton, Contemporary Dancer & Creator