21 September 2012

Stonewall announces hero and bigot nominees for 2012

Ben & Jerry’s founders and Jessie J among gay heroes
Bigots of the Year include Cardinal Keith O’Brien

AwardLogoStonewall today announces nominees for its annual Hero and Bigot of the Year Awards. The charity’s 7th Stonewall Awards take place at the V&A on 1 November, and celebrate people who have made a positive impact on the lives of Britain’s 3.7 million lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

Seven of the awards are selected by an independent judging panel, but three – Hero, Community Group and Bigot of the Year – are voted on by Stonewall’s supporters.

This year’s five nominees for Hero of the Year include The Voice judge Jessie J, nominated as a role model for bisexual people. Ben & Jerry’s founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield earn a nomination for their company’s staunch support for gay equality. Former Manchester Pride Director Jackie Crozier is nominated for years of charitable work.

The five nominees for Bigot of the Year include Cardinal Keith O’Brien, who has led a vitriolic campaign against equality in Scotland. Uganda’s Ethics and Integrity Minister, Simon Lokodo, is also nominated for his role in the repression of his country’s 2.1 million gay people.

Voting will also take place for the Community Group of the Year (supported by Square Peg Media and the Inclusive Foundation), with the winner receiving £5,000 to support their work.

Stonewall Deputy Chief Executive Laura Doughty said: ‘The Stonewall Awards are an opportunity to celebrate the often courageous individuals who have made a huge difference to millions of gay people at home, at school and at work. As ever, it’s humbling to see the selflessness with which so many people work for equality.’

Tickets for the Stonewall Awards cost £155 plus VAT and are available online from www.stonewall.org.uk/awards.

Full award shortlists and judges’ names will be released before the end of September.

Shortlist for Hero of the Year.

An individual who has encouraged, inspired or achieved the most for lesbian, gay and bisexual people in the last year.

Ben & Jerry. Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield founded Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in 1978 in Burlington, Vermont. Long-time supporters of equality for lesbian, gay and bisexual people, they’ve previously renamed one of their flavours from Chubby Hubby to Hubby Hubby to celebrate the legalisation of same-sex marriage in the company’s home state. In March the company teamed up with Stonewall to produce Apple-y Ever After to support the campaign for marriage equality in Britain.

Jackie Crozier. Jackie Crozier was Manchester Pride Festival Director between 2005 and 2011. Nicknamed ‘Queen of the Village’, her six years at the helm of Manchester Pride saw the event voted ‘Best UK Pride Event’ for five consecutive years and raise £1 million for charitable causes. Attitude magazine named her one of the ‘Top 40 Most Influential LGB&T Individuals’ and in 2011 the Independent listed her as one of the 100 most important LGB&T people in the UK.

Tim Franks. Tim's work with the lesbian and gay community began more than 20 years ago with his involvement in a peer run youth project in Nottingham. After completing his law degree he went on to create outreach projects in Nottingham to promote better sexual health and community development across the city. Tim joined Pace in 2007 as CEO, a role he held until September 2012, where he led their invaluable work offering counselling, family support, mental health advocacy and youth support for LGB&T people.

Rev Giles Fraser. Giles Fraser came to national prominence in October 2011 as Canon Chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral during the Occupy London protests. He’s long been an outspoken advocate of equality for gay people and tolerance within the church. He is a founder of Inclusive Church, the best-known group campaigning for the full recognition of gay relationships, and has used his Guardian column to decry the Church of England’s stance on homosexuality.

Jessie J. It’s been another incredible year for Jessie J. As well as joining BBC One’s The Voice as a celebrity judge she wowed a global audience at the Olympic Closing Ceremony. She tackled tabloid gossip about her sexuality head on, proudly reaffirming that she was bisexual and dismissing rumours as ‘boring’ and ‘untrue.’ She’s been praised as a role model for young women growing up realising that they’re lesbian or bisexual.

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.

Alan Craig. In October 2011 Alan Craig caused outrage by comparing gay equality advocates to the invading forces of Nazi Germany and dubbing them the ‘Gaystapo’. In an incendiary Church of England Newspaper article he claimed ‘gay-rights storm troopers take no prisoners as they annex our wider culture’ and that the modest measure to extend marriage to same-sex couples was proof that ‘Nazi expansionist ambitions are far from sated’. In later comments he compared those who challenge bigotry to perpetrators of the Holocaust.

Simon Lokodo. Simon Lokodo, the Ugandan Ethics and Integrity Minister, disbanded the meetings of gay equality groups and arrested activists. According to Lokodo gay people are ‘sick’ and seek to ‘pervert’ children. For a so-called Ethics and Integrity Minister to peddle such inflammatory propaganda is an ironic tragedy for Uganda’s gay population.

Lord Maginnis. Lord Maginnis made headlines by referring to same-sex marriage as ‘unnatural and deviant behaviour’ and questioning if marriage equality would ‘mean that every deviant practice has to be accommodated? Will the next thing be that we legislate for some sort of bestiality?’ The Ulster Unionist Party quickly removed the whip from him and he resigned from the party, complaining there was no room left in politics for his unique brand of ‘logical thinking’.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien. Keith O’Brien has been a prominent opponent of marriage equality and made headlines with deeply offensive comments about same-sex couples. He’s stated that same-sex relationships are ‘harmful to the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing’ and compared equal marriage to slavery and child abuse. Under his leadership the Catholic Church in Scotland has pledged to ‘declare war’ on marriage equality and committed an additional £100,000 for the fight.

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia. Philip Tartaglia caused outrage in July when he claimed that the late David Cairns MP had died due to the fact he was gay and that a ‘conspiracy of silence’ prevented people from stating that being gay directly led to premature death. His words caused deep offence to the former minister’s partner, Dermot Kehoe, who has said that the comments have added to his ‘grief and pain.’

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