The fourth Stonewall Awards, hosted by Gok Wan, were held on Novenber 5 at London's V&A and attended by more than 400 people including celebrities, politicians, sportspeople and writers. The event, sponsored by Barclays, celebrated those who have made a positive impact on the lives of lesbian, gay and bisexual people in 2009.
Hero of the Year - chosen by Stonewall thousands of supporters – Reverend Scott Rennie. The Church of Scotland’s first openly gay minister was inducted in July in the face of shrill opposition from some quarters yet backed by his own Aberdeen congregation.
Broadcast of the Year – Corrective Rape in South Africa. Samira Ahmed’s special report from Johannesburg focused on a horrific phenomenon emerging in South Africa – the targeting of lesbians for ‘corrective rape’. The judges singled out the report as a ‘shocking piece of television, which cast a light on discrimination suffered by lesbians, all too often overlooked in the media.’
Entertainer of the Year – Boyzone. The Judges noted the huge influence that boy bands have on young people in particular. Stephen Gateley’s brave decision to come out was an important step and the band made pop history with their video featuring a same-sex couple a year ago.
Journalist of the Year – Johann Hari and Joan Bakewell. The judges described Joan Bakewell as ‘an institution, who has supported us for decades.’ Johann Hari was described as ‘a force to be reckoned with. He’s quickly established himself as a leading commentator.’
Politician of the Year – Ben Bradshaw MP. The first person ever elected as an openly-gay politician to reach Cabinet rank, Ben Bradshaw won and held on to his parliamentary seat in the face of strong homophobic opposition.
Publication of the Year – g3. The leading free magazine for gay and bisexual women g3 this year celebrated its 100th issue.
Stonewall Sports Award – Michael Hill. This year saw Michael achieve a season best of sixth place in the British 125cc Motor biking Championship.
Writer of the Year – Sarah Waters. For her fifth novel, The Little Stranger, which impressed fans and critics and was short-listed for the 2009 Man Booker prize.
Stonewall & Barclays Community Group of the Year – Allsorts youth project, based in Brighton. Winner of a £5,000 cheque presented at the ceremony.
Bigot of the Year – Father John Owen (voted by thousands of Stonewall supporters) and Jan Moir. Father John Owen claimed on BBC One’s The Big Questions that the majority of child abuse was carried out by gay men. Jan Moir became a late entrant to the award, following unprecedented requests from Stonewall supporters prompted by her Daily Mail piece on the death of Stephen Gately.
The Hero, Bigot and Community Group of the Year Awards were voted for by 6,000 Stonewall supporters across Britain. All other categories were chosen by a judging panel including Evan Davis, Sue Perkins and John Amaechi.
In his acceptance speech, Reverend Scott Rennie said: “Because I do not see myself as a hero, I would rather accept this on behalf of all those in the LGBT community who contribute to the life of churches and faith communities, simply by living out love in their lives, for God, for their neighbour, and who share their gifts with those communities in the hope of making a difference to the world they live in. On their behalf, and not for me, I accept this lovely award.”
Carl Watt, director, Stonewall Scotland, said: “We’re proud to give Scott this award in recognition of the courage, dignity and leadership he has shown over the past year.
“The Stonewall Awards offer the opportunity to celebrate work across Britain in all walks of life championing gay equality.
“During the evening the celebrations paused to reflect on recent homophobic hate on the streets and in the media.”
Collecting the Entertainer of the Year Award on behalf of Boyzone, Stephen Gately’s widower Andrew Cowles – in his first public appearance since the singer’s death – said: ‘For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Stephen Gately’s husband. When Boyzone did their video a year ago, it featured Stephen with another man. It wasn’t a press stunt – they wanted to show Stephen as he was. The other guys just respected Stephen and my – our – relationship. The boys wanted to be here tonight – they’ll be so proud. I also want to say thanks for your support in the last few weeks – especially to all who contacted the Press Complaints Commission over Jan Moir’s article.’
For media enquiries in the first instance please contact Stonewall Scotland on 0131 474 8019 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have an out of office media enquiry please call 07870 650 662.