Creative Diversity & Inclusion LGBT

Meet the rising LGBTQ+ stars of the creative sector


By Robyn Cusworth, Writer at The Dots

July 28, 2017 | 12 min read

Inclusivity and diversity are on the rise across the global creative industries, with the growing realisation that people of different backgrounds, ethnicity, gender and age offer varying and new perspectives and ideas.

To highlight this progressive, creative network The Dots partnered with file sharing platform WeTransfer to highlight eight LGBTQ+ stars and companies from around the world. The brands also asked these leaders to nominate the rising stars they think are set to redefine the creative space over the coming years.

Tea Uglow, creative director at Google Creative Labs Sydney


Uglow prefers her less formal title: 實驗負責人 "experimental person in charge" when citing her job title at the Google Lab, which is a combination of culture, tech and digital design devised by a group of creatives dotted around the world.

She directs on "atypical creative projects" at Google, and has an interest in confronting issues such as "doubt, reality, diversity (and biscuits)". Uglow publically came out as a transgender woman in 2016 while on stage at Sydney Writer’s Festival and continues to support and inspire the community with projects such as #Transvoices.

Her nominations for rising LGBTQ+ stars are...

Hana Tanimura

Tanimura works at Google Creative Lab London and uses her design talents to approach issues such as digital gender gaps in India and the lack of technology to support refugees in times of crises.

Nosa Eke

The upcoming digital creative, filmmaker, web series director, producer, writer and generally a jack of all trades from south London is an avid believer in the possibilities that come with the accessibility of technology. She uses her creativity and personal experiences to reclaim the idea of #whatisnormal.

Prumsodun Ok

Tea’s third nomination is a presence in the worlds of choreography, directing, writing, teaching and "all round positive energy-giving to the world". Prumsodun is a TED senior fellow and has published the book ‘Moni Mekhala and Ream Eyso’.

Kate Moross, founder of Studio Moross


Since 2008, Moross’s colourful presence in design, art direction, branding and commercials work has influenced the creative world, and she shows no signs of stopping with her Studio Moross venture.

Moross' nominations:

Peggy Noland

Noland's dauntless approach has seen her fashion designs featured in WWD, Elle Japan, Dazed, Vogue and Rolling Stone, as well as on Rihanna and Miley’s coat hangers. Her ‘gutter-punk’ pieces, sold from Kansas and Berlin Stores, continue to strike chords in the industry.

Noah Camp

Having recently posted about his trans identity on Instagram with this post, Camp’s artistic style feels readymade for a sequel to Drive. His imagery conjures up neon motel signs, the smell fresh coffee and waffles from the diner.

Hello Mr, magazine


Launched in April 2013, Hello Mr is a bi-annual magazine that launched a community of men dating men. Founded by designer and creative director Ryan Fitzgibbon, the aim is to create an outlet for a generation of gay men misrepresented in the media. It unites readers via poetry, essays, features and photography, all in ‘a neatly-curated museum, carefully built to exhibit a universal story of gay men today’.

Hello Mr's nominations:

Nijel Taylor

Taylor is a designer and animator crafting brand identities for clients like Taco Bell. He strives to create meaningful change through his projects and to push the potential of branding. His skills lie in motion, whether behind the screen or in person, sprinting with Chelsea Pier’s track club.

Hunter Schafer

Schafer is an artist, designer, model and trans youth rights activist whose campaigning has already altered discriminatory laws: the 18-year-old illustrator for Rookie magazine sued the North Carolina government for their discriminatory bathroom laws, and continues to speak up through art activism.

Thomas McCarty

McCarty is a photographer from Loveland, Ohio who explores space, American suburbia and non-conventional sexualty in his work. His work has already been noticed by the likes of Dazed and C★NDY Mag.

Martin Firrell, artist


Martin Firrell is a provocative hero of art activism, known best for his text illuminations on iconic buildings such as St Paul’s Cathedral. Martin’s work addresses global warming, cultures, gender equality, sexuality, masculinity, life, government and religion and continues to rouse public dialogues – just this week he launched a billboard campaign marketing 50 years since the decriminalistion of gay relationships in the UK.

Firrell's nominations:

Charlie Cattrall

Cattrall understands that all human identity expression is fluid and in all his work he expresses a tenderness for what is ‘other’. He is a newcomer actor and director; his first film Titus (2013) won him a BIFA nomination for the Douglas Hickox Award for Best Debut Director.

Alice Johnstone

Part of a new wave of creatives shaking up the scene with projects such as Brainchild Festival, Johnson is set for a creative adventure. “I nominate Alice because she declines to be labelled, claiming her right to self-define and the right to change," said Firrell. "I believe it’s this flexibility of thought that enables her to locate new ways to approach making and curating with a ‘tender strength’."

Tom Stuart

Stuart has been in the acting world for 14 years. His first play ‘I Am Not Myself These Days’ has been turning heads for the right reasons – the uncomfortable narrative raises poignant issues on the juxtapositions between conformity and fluidity.

A Nasty Boy, magazine


A Nasty Boy magazine aims to fill a void of non-conformist culture. The publication questions Nigeria’s under representation of sexuality and gender with fashion, culture and art and provides a platform for the hotbed of talent nestled in the African country.

Richard Akuson is the phenomenal spirit and editor behind the magazine, pushing boundaries, increasing visibility and addressing fluidity in a country where LGBTQ+ people are heavily persecuted.

Daniel Obasi

Obasi is a Nigerian stylist and creative director with a gender blurring aesthetic. His work spans gender identity, fashion and politics: from boys in braids, makeup, and jewellery, to crop tops and dresses. Daniel represents a new generation of Nigerian creatives who are daring and adventurous in their crafts. They do not understand the concept of restrain. They’re raw and bold.

Matt Lambert, filmmaker and photographer

Matt Lambert

Filmmaker and photographer Matt Lambert has collaborated with brands such as Givenchy, Gucci, C4, Vogue, i-D and BBC. The Tribeca Film Festival named him as one of the ten filmmakers of the future and 2017 saw him being christened by Dazed as one of its 100-strong army of people ‘instrumental in underlining whose moment is now’. Lambert’s work dances with ideas and narratives of gay youth culture, LGBTQ+ love, intimacy, fantasy and more.

Matt’s Nominations:

Leo Adef

Adef is a director and photographer who works between Argentina and Spain. His work has been been picked up the by likes of Nowness and i-D who both featured a short of intimate, contemporary gay love, filmed in Barcelona. He has also produced ‘Vamp’ described by Nowness as ‘a neon-drenched tale of teenage nihilism for the German rapper youth’.

Campbell Addy

Addy uses his diverse cultural background to represent within race and empower people with his agency “Nii” and his printed publication Niijournal. Earlier this year he partnered with Getty Images to help diversify stock photography.

Stephen Isaac-Wilson

Starting his career on the BBC’s coveted graduate trainee scheme, Isaac-Wilson interlinks journalism skills with an eye for emotional narration and a knowledge of LGBTQ+ British youth culture. He is part of the Tate’s Queer British Art 1861-1967 exhibition and has directed for i-D, Victoria Miro galleries and the Tate.

The Nest Collective

the nest

Founded in 2012, the Kenyan Nest Collective is a space and group of people whose production of film, music, fashion, art and literature that represents diversity amongs African people. One of its recent projects is the film ‘The Stories of Our Lives’, an insight into the stories of ‘queer’ Kenyans.

The Nest’s Nominations:

M+K Muqaddam Latif and Keith Macharia,

This duo are contemporary fashion designers making amazing luxe work in Nairobi. Their aesthetic is reminiscent of 'a sense of breezy fluidity and calm natural beauty'.

Kawira Mwirichia

Mwirichia has just completed a large art project where she subversively remixed a traditional fabric (known as 'khanga') with queer-affirming messages. She has also self-published a lesbian erotic colouring book.

Awuor Onyango

Onyango is an emerging multimedia artist in Nairobi. She's worked with film, photography and text, and explores a politic that centres blackness, femmeness and queerness very deliberately.

John Down, chief operating officer of The Dots

John Down

Down is a passionate advocate of LGBTQ+ and visibility in creative and social spaces as a founding member of the UK’s first LGBTQ+ and entrepreneurs’ network, Series Q. Through The Dots’ he aims to use its platform to let traditionally underrepresented groups in the creative industries tell their stories, particularly female, BAME and LGBTQ+ creatives.

Down's nominations:

Oli Epp

Epp creates paintings with a humorous flair in oil, acrylics and spray paint to instantly capture attention. His prosaic subjects – among others – include body image, materialism and their confluence with LGBTQ+ and identity.

Harriet Horton

The ethical taxidermist uses neon, dyes and texture to create emotive and haunting works. Not following a pre-existing heteronormative path presented obstacles to Horton, which forced her to think differently and creatively in what has traditionally been a macabre, male-dominated medium.

Rose Pilkington

Pilkington's designs are defined by one overriding theme: colour. Pilkington produces textural and colourful 2D and 3D visuals within an entirely digital space, to create an emotional response via the psychology of colour. ‘Auratone’ is a striking play on colour and a rainbow flag for the digital age.

An extended verision of this article orginially appeared on The Dots.

Read more about how the LGBTQ+ community is young and brand saavy, but remains underserved by marketers.

Creative Diversity & Inclusion LGBT

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