Telling fans I'm gay has been great -- Kieron
Hollyoaks star Kieron Richardson said his decision to come out in public as gay has encouraged other people to discuss their sexuality.
The actor, who revealed his sexuality on This Morning earlier this month, said he has had a "really positive reaction" and received 17,000 emails of support that day.
On the red carpet at the Inside Soap awards, the 24-year-old said: "Luckily, lots of people have come forward to say that I did gave them the courage to come out to their parents.
"It's not really a big deal but some people see it as a taboo subject still. It's nice to be quite young and be a role model to people going through it and hopefully make their lives a bit happier."
Richardson led several Hollyoaks stars down the red carpet at the annual awards bash, which took place this year at London venue Shaka Zulu.
Bronagh Waugh, who plays Cheryl Brady in the soap, donned a daring copper Jasmine de Milo jumpsuit with a plunging neckline, while her co-star Carley Stenson sported a pink off-the-shoulder frock by the event's sponsor, Littlewoods.
The blonde, who has filmed her final scenes as Steph Roach at the teen soap after 10 years, said her new role in Legally Blonde, The Musical meant she had to stay off the booze at the ceremony.
"I don't really drink because I'm singing now so I have to save my voice, but I'll enjoy watching everyone else making a fool of themselves."
Coronation Street star Paula Lane, who plays newcomer Kylie Turner, and Emmerdale's Kirsty Leigh Porter, who plays Roz Fielding in the rural soap, both sported designs by Alex Gerrard, the wife of footballer Steven.
Nina Wadia, Marc Elliott, John Partridge and Shona McGarty were among the EastEnders stars who saw their soap triumph with six gongs, including Best Soap.
Coronation Street took home four trophies, while Emmerdale and Neighbours scooped two awards each, including a Best Daytime Soap gong for Neighbours.