The sixth annual Stonewall Awards, hosted by Stephen K Amos and supported by Nationwide, were held last night at London’s V&A and attended by over 400 people including celebrities, politicians, sports people and writers. The Awards, one of the most glamorous events in Stonewall’s fundraising calendar, celebrate those who have made a positive impact on the lives of lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Britain in the last 12 months.
Hero of the Year – Roger Crouch. Chosen by thousands of Stonewall supporters. Since 2010 Roger has dedicated himself tirelessly to working to raise awareness of homophobic bullying in schools, after his son Dominic took his own life in 2010. Roger said: ‘I see this as an award for Dom. I want to say by choosing us for this award you’ve also chosen to take a stand alongside all the young people whose lives have been ended by bullying. We are parents who loved our son. We stood by him in life and we stand by him in death.’
Broadcast of the Year – The World’s Worst Place to be Gay? (Scott Mills/BBC 3). Openly-gay Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills travelled to the centre of an international row about homophobic legislation by visiting Uganda in the midst of debate over the so called ‘Kill the Gays’ Bill. The judges were struck by the ‘courageous and inspiring story’.
Entertainer of the Year – Jane Hazlegrove. Jane Hazlegrove joined the cast of Casualty in September 2006. As an openly-lesbian paramedic Kathleen ‘Dixie’ Dixon has appeared as a credible character in a continuing drama, with a mass audience, for more than five years. Jane said: ‘Thank you so much, this means the world to me. And thanks to my missus, you mean the world to me. Ain’t it great to be gay!’
Joint Journalist of the Year – Vanessa Feltz, Daily Express, and Matthew Todd, Attitude. Vanessa Feltz regularly uses her platforms in both the broadcast media and her national newspaper column to encourage fair discussion of gay issues. Vanessa said: ‘If I get another caller saying “It’s Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve” I will shoot myself in the heart. I am fighting the good fight as hard as I can, and will continue to fight!’
As Editor of Attitude, Matthew Todd has been recognised for bringing a new edge and maturity to gay publications. Matthew said: ‘We all hear people say that “everything is fine”. It is not fine if you are a kid. I have interviewed a 14 year old boy who lost a tooth after being head butted and a teacher who broke her arm defending a kid in an attack. Roger Crouch is here today and I want to pay tribute to him and his son Dom who killed himself last year. It has to be our number one priority. It’s not just a priority for gay people, it’s straight people’s kids who are killing themselves too.’
Politician of the Year – Chris Bryant MP. Chris Bryant has been garlanded with plaudits from across the political spectrum for his tenacious campaign against News International phone hacking. The judges were impressed with ‘the resolve and tenacity’ that Chris has demonstrated, as an equality advocate, in the last decade.
Publication of the Year – Guardian Weekend. Judges noted that during the last year the magazine had ‘successfully created a balanced dialogue and covered lesbian, gay and bisexual issues in a commendably incidental and conversational manner’. Merope Mills, Editor of Guardian Weekend, said: ‘Thank you. It is especially nice because it’s so surprising. Featuring lesbian, gay and bisexual people, that just seems to me a normal thing to do. Here’s to being normal!’
Sports Award of the Year – Anton Hysen. Twenty year-old Anton Hysen became the only openly-gay professional footballer in the world when he came out in March.
Writer of the Year – Alan Hollinghurst. The Stranger’s Child, is an elegant and erudite book about the life and legacy of a gay war poet. The judges said: ‘Alan stood out not just for his latest work but for a catalogue of superb novels representing the intricacies of gay life across the decades.’ Alan said: ‘It feels so especially wonderful that it [my work] should be recognised by such a great campaigning organisation like Stonewall who fight for the larger and important things that we all hold dear.’
Stonewall Community Group of the Year – UK Black Pride. UK Black Pride, recognised for their continuing work to tackle homophobia and racism, were presented with a £5,000 cheque at the ceremony. Phyll Opoku-Gyimah said: ‘Thank you to all of you who voted and who keep on supporting us. And thank you to Nationwide – without this we cannot keep working.’
Special Entertainer Award – Cosmo the Jack Russell (Beginners). Cosmo stole the show as well as viewers’ hearts in his role as Arthur in the hit movie Beginners. He won a Stonewall Award as the most gay-friendly dog in cinema history.
Bigot of the Year – Melanie Phillips. Chosen by thousands of Stonewall supporters. Long infamous for her shrill views on just about everything from the NHS to Barack Obama to gay rights, this year Phillips really outdid herself by comparing gay people to animals.
The Hero, Bigot and Community Group of the Year Awards were voted for by thousands of Stonewall supporters across Britain. All other categories were chosen by a judging panel including England women’s national football team coach, Hope Powell, John Partridge, Gok Wan, TV producer Maureen Chadwick and Eddie Mair.
Ben Summerskill, Stonewall Chief Executive, said: ‘The Stonewall Awards celebrate those who have made a positive impact on gay people’s lives, and also provide a platform to showcase inspirational lesbian, gay and bisexual role models. Those role models make a massive difference to the quality of many young gay people’s lives.’