David Tennant’s longstanding history of LGBT+ support

David Tennant, an award-winning ally of the LGBT+ community, has drawn criticism for telling Women and Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch to “shut up”, after she voiced her plans to make biological sex a protected characteristic.

While some, including Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, have criticised the Doctor Who star for his statement, many have rushed to praise him, citing his longstanding support for the community. Labour MP Dawn Butler and former SNP politician Mhairi Black are among those supporting his stance.

He has since been spotted doubling down on his position by wearing a pin in support of trans rights to the Mean Girls Musical premiere in London on Wednesday (26 June).

The heated exchange takes place during Pride month, a period dedicated to celebrating LGBT+ communities around the world.

Below, we look at the actor’s history of vocal support and his political statements throughout the years.

Showing his Pride

When he’s not clashing with government ministers on the issue, Tennant shows his support by wearing Pride pins and other merch supporting trans and non-binary people in particular, in interviews and other public spaces.

In February last year, he wore a pin in solidarity with the non-binary community while promoting his show, Good Omens.

Actor won award for his vocal support (Getty Images)
Actor won award for his vocal support (Getty Images)

During the ensuing press tour, the Bafta presenter also wore a t-shirt under a smart suit, reading “Leave trans kids alone you absolute freaks”, in July 2023.

In November 2023, Tennant wore a pin shaped like a Tardis in solidarity with the trans community to the Rolling Stone UK awards, where he picked up an award for Best TV Show. He wore the same badge on The One Show and The Last Leg.

The badge’s creator, Dr Jamie Gallagher, announced that he had raised over £18,000 in badge sales following the promotion, with proceeds donated to LGBT+ homeless charity AKT.

Star wore a pin in support of the trans community to the Rolling Stone UK Awards (Getty Images)
Star wore a pin in support of the trans community to the Rolling Stone UK Awards (Getty Images)

During Pride month last year, the actor choked up as he talked about the importance of the movement on former politician Ed Miliband’s Reasons to be Cheerful podcast.

He said it made him “emotional” to see “the fact that Pride Month is existing and flourishing and is something that’s happening at a time when the world seems to be getting in some corners worryingly intolerant and weirdly backward”.

Breaking gender stereotypes

In an interview with The Times in 2008, the actor blasted the idea that being called “gay” was an insult, or that dressing ostentatiously should reflect badly on him. When asked what if he was bothered by speculation that he wasn’t straight, Tennant hit back, “Why would it?” He is reported to have embraced his “metrosexual” moniker.

Charity work and awards

Earlier this month LGBT+ anti abuse charity launched their “It’s Not All Sunshine and Rainbows” campaign, in partnership with creative studio Gravity Road and the ADOT Foundation.

Tennant won an award for his support earlier this year (Getty Images)
Tennant won an award for his support earlier this year (Getty Images)

Featuring the voices of LGBT+ celebrities and allies – including Tennant, comedian and I Kissed A Girl narrator Charley Marlowe, and former Coronation Street star Charlie Condou – an immersive digital experience was created to bring the campaign to life in London, and the installation is available until the end of June.

Earlier this year, the actor received the LGBT+ Celebrity Ally award at the 2024 British LGBTQIA+ Awards for his ongoing and very visible support for the community.

But far earlier than 2024, he backed the Diversity Role Models campaign in 2012 to tackle homophobic bullying.

Good Omens kiss

In Prime Video show Good Omens, Tennant plays fast-living demon Crowley who has been banished from heaven, while Michael Sheen plays fastidious angel Aziraphale.

Both join forces to stop the end of the world in the series based on the Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman book of the same name, released in the 1990s.

In the final episode, their characters are presented with an ultimatum that could see them reunited in heaven, but Crowley refuses and they are once again separated.

But before they split, Crowley grabs his angelic friend’s face, and they share a passionate kiss. While the romantic tension was made apparent at the end of the season, fans will have to wait until the next one to see where the connection leads.

Crowley and Aziraphale kiss in the final episode of the second series (Amazon Prime Video)
Crowley and Aziraphale kiss in the final episode of the second series (Amazon Prime Video)

Potrayal of transgender character in 1980s sitcom

Tennant made an early appearance in the 1980s Scottish TV sitcom, Rab C Nesbitt, as a transgender barmaid called Davina.

Tennant played transgender barmaid Davina (BBC)
Tennant played transgender barmaid Davina (BBC)

The show, which started in 1988, and ran until 2014, featured Davina, whose gender is at the centre of speculation by pubgoers, but whose presence is much beloved.

While the episode has been considered offensive to some, others have praised Tennant’s performance.