Sir Richard Branson and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have triumphed as winners at the star-studded 2018 NatWest British LGBT Awards.
Hosted by Spice Girls star Mel B and Blue’s Duncan James, the event recognised the best British and international gay talent, and the straight people who support them in helping to advance the rights of the LGBT+ community.
Other winners included Great British Bake Off hosts past and present Sue Perkins and Sandi Toksvig, comedian John Bishop and transgender actress Laverne Cox.
Virgin boss Sir Richard, praised for having a diverse employment policy and for his backing of same-sex marriage, was honoured for his lifelong support for the LGBT+ community.
In a pre-recorded acceptance speech, he said: “In places like Africa and the Far East, the battle’s far from won.
“I was recently in Uganda, where gay people are put into prison for life.
“The important thing is that we all now turn our attention to countries that are prosecuting and imprisoning gay people – and even executing gay people.”
Mr Trudeau claimed the media moment of the year prize for his formal apology to the LGBT community over Canada’s decades-long campaign against gay civil servants or those in the military.
“In Canada and around the world, pride in who we are, how we identify and who we love makes us strong,” Mr Trudeau said in a message.
“Our diversity grows stronger communities and pushes us towards a stronger future for everyone. Every one of us should be proud of who we are and have the chance to achieve our highest potential.”
The glitzy event, held at the London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square on Friday evening, drew in star guests including Paloma Faith, Shirley Ballas, Scarlett Moffatt, Dame Joan Collins and Catherine Tyldesley.
Orange Is The New Black star Cox, a campaigner for LGBT+ and transgender rights, won the LGBT+ celebrity gong, while Bishop won the Virgin Atlantic celebrity ally accolade.
Toksvig took the lifetime achievement award, and Perkins won the broadcaster/journalist prize.
Singers Jess Glynne and Calum Scott and comic Julian Clary were also named as winners on the night.
Sarah Garrett MBE, co-founder of the British LGBT Awards, said: “Every year the NatWest British LGBT Awards gets bigger and better.
“Our winners and nominees continue to make the world a better place for the LGBT+ community, using their platform to educate people in Britain and beyond about the need for equality.”