Over 450 people attended the Stonewall Awards last night which were hosted by Gok Wan and staged in the Raphael Gallery of the Victoria & Albert Museum.
TV favourite Sue Perkins was among 11 winners at the annual awards which celebrate those who have made a positive contribution to the lives of Britain’s 3.7 million lesbian, gay and bisexual people.
Great British Bake Off host Perkins was named Entertainer of the Year and she dedicated her award to her comedy partner Mel Giedroyc.
Almost 10,000 Stonewall supporters voted for Reverend Giles Fraser to receive the Hero of the Year Award as an inspirational faith leader who supports gay people.
Collecting his award, Giles congratulated Stonewall for standing up to bigotry as the charity’s supporters voted for Cardinal Keith O’Brien, who has called gay relationships ‘grotesque’ and ‘harmful’ and compared them to slavery, to receive the Bigot of the Year Award.
“I’m ashamed that I share the same profession as so many of the people that were nominated and received the Bigot of the Year Award. Why I’m proud of Stonewall, and why I’m proud and delighted to have received this award, is because what you seek to attack, and what you seek to challenge, is fear.”
The Rugby Football League received the Sports Award of the Year.
Its Equality and Diversity Manager, Sarah Williams, said:
“This is a fantastic honour for rugby league. We’re proud to stand up and say there’s no place for homophobia in sport.”
Other winners included columnists Owen Jones and Hugo Rifkind, who collected a joint award for Journalist of the Year.
Britain’s Got Talent won the Broadcast of the Year Award. Their award was collected by the production team and the Sugar Dandies dancing duo.
The Sugar Dandies said:
“We’d like to thank ITV for having the courage to put obviously gay acts on prime time television. They allow us to be ourselves, and to tell our story openly and honestly in front of millions of viewers.”
East London-based charity, East London Out Project (ELOP), was named Community Group of the Year, and collected a £5,000 cheque from the Inclusive Foundation to support its work with vulnerable gay people.
Stonewall Chief Executive Ben Summerskill, said:
“As ever, I’m humbled by the dedication with which this year’s Award winners have been advancing equality for millions of people. Their efforts have never been more valuable and we will never be deterred from celebrating their contribution – or from highlighting the bigotry and malice expressed by some public figures towards gay people in this country.”
The winners were:
• Hero of the Year (supported by PwC) – Reverend Giles Fraser
• Broadcast of the Year (supported by London Women’s Clinic) – Britain’s Got Talent
• Entertainer of the Year – Sue Perkins
• Journalist of the Year – Hugo Rifkind (The Times) and Owen Jones (The Independent)
• Politician of the Year – Ruth Davidson MSP
• Publication of the Year – GayStarNews.com
• Sports Award of the Year – Rugby Football League
• Writer of the Year – Jeanette Winterson (Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?)
• Community Group of the Year (supported by Square Peg Media and the Inclusive Foundation) – East London Out Project
• Bigot of the Year – Cardinal Keith O’Brien