Sebastian Croft at the British Film Institute's LOCO London Comedy Film Festival, July 2019
Heartstopper's Sebastian Croft is an absolute badass when it comes to allyship with his LGBTQ peers.
We need more people like Croft, who is loud and proud when it comes to LGBTQ rights. Sure, this year’s Pride Month is now in the rearview mirror, but as a reminder on this side of the pond, the number of anti-LGBTQ bills that have been simmering across the U.S. has resulted in less of a laundry list and more of a disturbing nationwide purge determined to strip queer citizens of their rights. At last count, about three dozen anti-transgender bills alone have made their way to state legislatures across America.
Judging by what’s been transpiring so far in 2022, the festooning of rainbows on corporate logos and proclamations of “standing with” or “supporting” LGBTQ employees and the community really haven’t been moving the needle. Such action is about as effective and inspirational as a Nancy Pelosi poem reading at yet another U.S. Capitol open mic.
Claiming to be an “ally” is easy. The hard part is the follow through.
Enter 20-year-old Sebastian Croft, a U.K. actor with whom you might be familiar if you’re a fan of HBO's Game of Thrones or the British historical comedy flick, Horrible Histories: The Movie – Rotten Romans, for which Croft scored a BAFTA nomination. His most recent work can be watched on the first season of Netflix's Heartstopper, in which he plays a closeted, angry and toxic teen who does what he can to bully and gaslight the series’ lead character, Charlie Spring, whose experience as a year 10 student thanks to Croft's character is often miserable.
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To be clear, IRL Croft is nothing like Ben Hope; in fact, on his social media accounts he makes it clear that he’s part of the “Ben Hope Hate Club” and is no where even close to Ben at all.
If anything, Croft has been stepping up, and doing far more to express his support for the LGBTQ community than frequently posting warm photos on social with his fellow Heartstopper cast members — mind you, they are a bouquet of positive, happy vibes.
To start, Croft collabbed with an LGBTQ designer on this “Queer was always here” T-shirt campaign, currently available for pre-order on Everpress. As he explained:
“I remember when my brother told me that there were animals that some were gay. Quite a lot in fact. Completely naturally, without any concept of what it would mean to love the same sex and why that might be different to any other kind of love. I found that incredibly empowering. Often being queer is sold as a choice or watered down to a trend. But it’s not, and exists across nature. We’re also robbed of a lot of gay history, and can easily forget how long we have been here for.”
Some of the proceeds from the sale of these T-shirts will go to the nonprofits Choose Love and Rainbow Railroad, which are working together to support LGBTQ refugees seeking an escape from threats of violence and persecution.
Incidentally, there’s another side to this campaign: sustainability. Everpress is only taking pre-orders for these T-shirts — which are Fair Wear certified — in an effort to reduce any unnecessary textile waste. If you want to hop onto our queer bandwagon and join TriplePundit in supporting this campaign, as of press time you have less than three days to score one of these shirts. They’ll start shipping on July 18.
Finally, if you really want to see how Croft makes his alliance with the LGBTQ community known, watch a few videos from last weekend’s Pride parade in London. While Joe Locke and other Heartstopper cast members don’t exactly shy away from giving a murder of cawing homophobic protestors the middle-appendage salute (deservedly), Croft clapped back, literally, with relentless joy, dancing to Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.”
That reaction was about far more than any cliche about having "the guts." Croft responded with unconditional love and an unrestrained side of emotional intelligence. If there’s a video of a Big 4 accounting firm or CPG company employees reacting the same way at a Pride event in their rainbow logo T-shirts, please do send it onto us.
As Croft reminds us with his final pitch for the Everpress campaign:
“I wanted to remind people with this T-Shirt, that queer has not just always been here throughout human history, but almost definitely predates us. Homophobia is the newcomer…”
Image credits of Sebastian Croft: @voidlucy on Twitter via Wiki Commons; Edward Maestom via Wiki Commons
Leon Kaye has written for 3p since 2010 and become executive editor in 2018. His previous work includes writing for the Guardian as well as other online and print publications. In addition, he's worked in sales executive roles within technology and financial research companies, as well as for a public relations firm, for which he consulted with one of the globe’s leading sustainability initiatives. Currently living in Central California, he’s traveled to 70-plus countries and has lived and worked in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.
Leon’s an alum of Fresno State, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California's Marshall Business School. He enjoys traveling abroad as well as exploring California’s Central Coast and the Sierra Nevadas.