£340,000 raised to help tackle homophobia in schools

Almost 600 guests – including ministers and celebrities – attended Stonewall’s annual Equality Dinner at London’s Dorchester Hotel last night. The fundraising event, supported by Aviva, raised £340,000 towards Stonewall’s campaigning work for lesbian and gay equality at home, at school and at work.

Jane Hill, the keynote speaker on the night, said: ‘How many gay women are there on telly? I am the only gay on the BBC News Channel. It’s 2011 – do we not have a right to see ourselves reflected? Stonewall’s Unseen on Screen research showed how little positive representation there is of lesbian, gay and bisexual people. What we crave isn’t tolerance – it’s ambivalence. We still really need Stonewall to fight the bigger battles. But the real good news is when it’s no news.’

The Dinner was hosted by Amy Lamé and the celebrity auctioneer for the night was Christopher Biggins. A DJ set at the end of the night was played by Jodie Harsh. Guests included Sue Perkins, Speaker John Bercow MP, Nigel Evans MP, Crispin Blunt MP, Margot James MP, Lord Alli, Baroness Scotland and Angela Eagle MP.

Stonewall Deputy Chief Executive Laura Doughty said: ‘All funds raised tonight will go towards Stonewall’s pioneering campaigns for lesbian, gay and bisexual equality – at home, at school and at work. What was fantastic about this year’s Equality Dinner was the variety of attendees it attracted – from newly-out MPs to gay parents and newsreaders – and everyone in between. What we all had in common was the desire to continue the momentum of Stonewall’s campaigning towards full equality.’

Auctioned at the Dinner were a range of lots including meet-and-greet experiences with Soap’s favourite gay couple John Partridge and Marc Elliott, opera diva Renée Fleming and TV chef Allegra McEvedy; tickets to the Ellen show, a unique Maggi Hambling painting and other once in a lifetime experiences.

All funds raised will go towards Stonewall campaigns such as Education for All, tackling homophobic bullying in Britain’s schools.

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