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Bi Awareness Week: Ten influential Brits who are out and proud

Nick Wells September 23, 2015

As the world marks Bisexual Visibility Day, we count down ten influential people in British culture who don’t identify as gay or straight.

This week is Bisexual Awareness Week, which runs from September 20 to September 26.

Bi Visibility Day attempts to combat the ‘erasure’ of bisexual people from mainstream culture and entertainment, and is celebrated with events around the world.

Alan Cumming

The Scottish actor is famous for TV roles  including on The Good Wife, and recently reprised his on-stage Broadway role as Cabaret’s Emcee.

The actor tied the knot with his current husband Grant Shaffer in 2007, having been previously married to Hilary Lyon.

Speaking about his sexuality, he said: “I’ve always been bisexual…I never had any shame about sexuality – I just never did.”

“My sexuality has never been black and white; it’s always been gray. I’m with a man, but I haven’t closed myself off to the fact that I’m still sexually attracted to women.”

The actor is also a supporter of both LGBT and AIDS related charities and was vocal in his support of the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Scotland.

In 2014, the star compared the fight for Scottish independence to the battle for LGBT equality saying “It’s absolutely an equality issue. It’s a very similar thing.”

Pam St Clement

Pam St Clement is the actress most famous for playing Pat Butcher on EastEnders for over 25 years.

Appearing in 2,183 episodes of the soap, Pat Butcher was famed for her feisty attitude, tumultuous relationships and trademark earrings.

The actress opened up about her bisexuality in her 2015 autobiography, The End of an Earring – where she revealed that she had an affair with a woman while married to her first husband in 1975.

She wrote: “I fell for an attractive woman who was intelligent, witty and fun to be with.”

The soap star also highlighted her involvement in founding Stonewall, the LGBT rights charity and campaigns for equality saying “striving for justice and fairness for all seems logical.”

Cat Smith
One of 32 out lesbian, gay or bisexual MPs in Parliament today, Cat Smith was elected this year as Labour’s MP in the Lancaster and Fleetwood constituency, unseating gay Tory MP Eric Ollerenshaw.

Just four months after her election to Parliament, Smith – considered a rising star on the left of the party – was appointed Shadow Minister for Equalities by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Cara Delevingne

Supermodel-turned-actress Cara Delevingne dominated the catwalk, but recently traded it in for acting – swapping modelling for roles in teen drama Paper Towns and upcoming supervillain movie Suicide Squad.

Delevingne has spoken previously about having relationships with both men and women, and is currently in a relationship with singer St Vincent.

She told Vogue earlier this year: ““It took me a long time to accept the idea, until I first fell in love with a girl at 20 and recognized that I had to accept it.

“But I have erotic dreams only about men. I had one two nights ago where I went up to a guy in the back of a VW minivan, with a bunch of his friends around him, and pretty much jumped him.”

Delevingne shut down the interviewer after they observed: “her parents seem to think girls are just a phase for Cara, and they may be correct”. She hit back: “My sexuality is not a phase. I am who I am.”

Nicola Adams

Nicola Adams became a household name in 2010, after becoming the first British female to win an Olympic gold medal in boxing, and the first LGBT person to win an Olympic boxing gold.

In 2012 she topped the Independent on Sunday Pink List of most influential LGBT figures in Britain.

She told Marie Claire: “I worried about how everyone would react, so I used to say I was single, rather than say I was with a girl. I felt like I was lying all the time. I didn’t like living like that so, in the end, I thought, ‘Well, this is who I am. It’s not as if I can stop it.’

However, she added: “[One] label that has been attached to me is ‘bisexual’, although I would rather be just a person and not be categorised.”

Kray Twins

Twin brothers Ronnie and Reggie Kray were renowned East End gangsters who, as part of their gang ‘The Firm’, were involved in armed robberies, protection rackets and murders.

They achieved fame throughout the 1960s, appearing in television interviews, as well as being photographed by David Bailey.

The pair continued to find fame behind bars, selling stories about romances with women to the tabloids after they were both jailed for life. The sexuality of both twins has long been speculated upon.

As addressed in new Tom Hardy film Legend, Ronnie was famed for parading his younger male lovers in public, and spoke on various occasions of being gay or bisexual.

However, there has since been speculation that in fact both twins had sex with men, and they are often noted as part of LGBT and bisexual history.

Karen Danczuk
Former Labour councillor Karen Danczuk, the ex-wife of Labour MP Simon Danczuk, rose to fame through the tabloid press through her often risqué selfies.

In 2015 she attempted to head off attempts to out her, by coming out on social media herself.

She tweeted: I’m bisexual… I admit it. So ex G friend your plan has failed”.

The self-dubbed ‘Queen of the Selfie’ has claimed in the Telegraph that she’s turned down porn offers but would have to “think hard” about featuring in Playboy if she received an offer.

Simon Hughes

Former Lib Dem Justice minister Simon Hughes came out as bisexual in 2006. He lost his seat earlier this year, after over three decades in Parliament.

Mr Hughes was famously accused of smearing gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell while running against him in the 1983 Bermondsey by-election, with the Liberals positioning Hughes as the “straight choice, while he was still in the closet.

Hughes and Tatchell have since made peace over the famous incident, with Hughes becoming a supporter of LGBT rights – though he abstained from the vote on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act in 2013.

Morrissey The former Smiths singer has spent nearly 40 years in the public eye, and has spoken out on issues ranging from UK politics to animal rights.

He is typically candid about his sexuality, but revealed in 2013 that his first ever serious relationship was with a man.

Despite claiming he does not recognise the terms heterosexual, bi and homosexual, he revealed that he was attracted to both genders when he said: “I am not homosexual. In technical fact I am humasexual. I am attracted to humans.”

He recently claimed to have been sexually assaulted during a routine security pat down at an airport saying the security officer “went straight for my private bits and put his finger down my rear cleavage.”

(Note: not everyone on the list specifically identifies as ‘bisexual’. We are celebrating people with identities beyond ‘gay’ or ‘straight’.)

More: bi, bisexual, Bisexual Awareness, Bisexual Visibility Day, LGBT, Pride

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