A budding UK actress has received a prestigious award for her campaigning video against homophobia.
Laura Finnigan, 17, from Bootle, Merseyside, made her short film Changes late last year to make people aware that sexuality is not a choice.
It quickly went viral and has now received more than 35,000 views on YouTube.
The film shows her changing her clothes, hair and life choices before concluding that she can’t change her sexuality.
She made the film with Fixers, a charity that works to allow young people to get their message across in any medium they choose.
I wanted to do homophobia because it’s an issue I feel really strongly about. People seem to think that it’s a choice and I just wanted to state a fact that it’s not. You can’t just turn gay. It’s very frustrating. I want people to know as much as possible and to show them that there is no choice.”
She said she was stunned by the reaction to her video.
I think it’s amazing- I didn’t expect it. People all over the world were commenting on the video and saying that it made a really good point.”
Laura now plans to take it into Merseyside schools to educate local teenagers about homophobia.
The Diana Award was set up in memory of Princess Diana and rewards young people who have made a significant impact on society.
Tessy Ojo, chief executive of the Diana Award said:
We are incredibly proud to honour Laura for her qualities of selflessness, altruism and compassion. In the long term we aim not only to award these socially active young people for their achievements, but also to engage, motivate, and empower them to do even more through our training and network programmes.”