the lesbian, gay and bisexual charity

Gok Wan to host Stonewall Awards

  • Hero and Bigot of the Year nominees set to cause a stir
  • Celebrity judging panel announced

The fourth Stonewall Awards ceremony will take place on Thursday 5 November at the V&A in London. The ceremony, which has become an essential fixture in the lesbian and gay calendar, will be hosted by TV presenter Gok Wan. Once again supported by Barclays, the ceremony celebrates those who have made a positive impact on the lives of lesbian and gay people in Britain. Last year’s winners included Sue Perkins, Waheed Alli and Sandi Toksvig.

Beverley KnightGok Wan and Cleo Rocos

Three of the Awards will be voted for by thousands of Stonewall supporters from across Britain: ‘Hero of the Year’, ‘Bigot of the Year’ and the ‘Stonewall & Barclays Community Group.’ The chosen Community Group of the Year – won last year by the Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group - will receive a cheque for £5,000 to support its work.

 Mark Feehily and Kevin McDaidDan Gillespie Sells and guest

Nominees for Hero of the Year include Carol Ann Duffy, Britain’s first female and openly gay poet laureate, Reverend Rennie, the Church of Scotland’s first openly gay minister and Nick Partridge, Chief Executive of THT and veteran campaigner. Bigot of the Year nominations include BBC presenter DJ Spoony, Fred and Shirley Phelps and Doctor Sheila Matthews who sat on an adoption panel and refused to consider same-sex couples as potential adopters.

The other seven awards – including Writer and Entertainer of the Year - will be chosen by a panel of judges including TV personality Sue Perkins, presenter Evan Davis, former basketball player John Amaechi, Angela Eagle MP and Assistant Editor of the Daily Telegraph Andrew Pierce. 

Ben Summerskill, Stonewall Chief Executive, said: ‘In Stonewall’s 20th anniversary year, we’ve had the opportunity to celebrate the heroes of the gay equality movement from the last two decades. Our Awards ceremony continues this recognition, but also shines a light on those who are making an important contribution to equality in Britain today – inspiring lesbian and gay people to lead fulfilling lives at home, at school and at work.’ 

Antony Jenkins, CEO, Barclaycard said: 'Barclays is delighted to continue our relationship with Stonewall. Celebrating diversity is at the heart of what we do so we’re proud to support the Stonewall Awards for a fourth successive year.’ 

Last year Bishop Gene Robinson was named Hero of the Year for his dignity and bravery as the church debate on homosexuality intensified, after being barred from the Lambeth conference. Iris Robinson MP was voted Bigot of the Year after describing homosexuality as ‘disgusting’, ‘loathsome’ and ‘viler…than sexually abusing children.’

Tickets for the 2009 Stonewall Awards ceremony at London’s V&A on Thursday 5 November are £150 + VAT. To book your ticket visit www.stonewall.org.uk/awards or contact bimla.safka@stonewall.org.uk / 020 7593 1875.

Contact: Gary Nunn, Communications Officer, 020 7593 1856 / 07985 439 660

Notes

1.Shortlist for Hero of the Year - an individual who has encouraged, inspired or achieved the most for lesbian, gay & bisexual people in the last year.

  • Carol Ann Duffy – Appointed our first female, and the first openly gay, poet laureate in May. ‘Sexuality is a lovely, ordinary, normal thing’ she said on her historic appointment. Duffy, whose works are an established feature in the school curriculum, is widely described as our most famous - and most popular - living poet.
  • Jim MacSweeney –Gay's the Word, the UK’s first and only remaining lesbian and gay bookshop, celebrated three decades of bookselling and community work this year. Jim has managed the London-based store for over 20 years.
  • Nick Partridge – Nick was appointed Chief Executive of the Terrence Higgins Trust in 1991. He’s been a consistent voice in media coverage of AIDS and sexual health for two decades. Nick was knighted in the New Year honours.
  • Reverend Scott Rennie - The Church of Scotland's first openly gay minister was appointed in May, in the face of shrill opposition from some quarters yet backed by his own congregation. He’s said he hopes his appointment will ‘give other gay and lesbian ministers the strength to come out.’
  • Lindsay River – Polari closed its doors in March, after 16 years of dedicated campaigning for older lesbians and gay men led by Director Lindsay River.

2. Shortlist for Bigot of the Year - an individual who has gone out of their way to harm, hurt or snub lesbian, gay and bisexual people in the last year.

  • Dr Sheila Matthews – As a member of Northamptonshire Council’s adoption panel, refused to approve children for placement with same-sex couples saying, ‘I cannot recommend a same-sex household to be in the best interest of a child’.
  • Father John Owen – Sparked controversy this year when he claimed in a live TV debate that the majority of paedophilia was being perpetrated by gay men. Father John is Catholic chaplain to the University of Cardiff and a press officer for the Archdiocese of Cardiff.
  • Fred & Shirley Phelps – Earlier this year the anti-gay Phelps family threatened to fly thousands of miles to picket a London primary school covering same-sex relationships and homophobic bullying in class, describing the school as ‘fag infested’. The Home Office barred Kansas-based Phelps and his daughter Shirley from entering the UK.
  • DJ Spoony – The Radio 5 Live presenter caused deep offence in January when he said that ‘hot and fit’ women should be ‘saved’ for heterosexual men. ‘Let the munters and mingers get each other… no-one really wants them’.
  • Bishop of Winchester – In the House of Lords in July, the Bishop suggested that sexual orientation was not an innate characteristic but a matter of personal choice, a theory which he claimed was backed by ‘substantial scientific, psychological and medical research.’

 


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