Michael Cashman CBE – a patron of the UK’s Pink Triangle Trust, Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society, former Labour MEP, former President of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT issues, and former British soap actor – has been awarded a peerage.
Cashman was one of a number of working peers appointed last week, and will add to the House of Lord’s current membership of 770.
He stood down at this year’s European Parliamentry election after serving his Midlands European constituency from 1999 to 2014.
Cashman said his appointment to the Lords was an “honour” and that he realised it was an “enormous responsibility” too.
He added: “It’s a huge opportunity to speak out about the things that I’m passionate about: equality, human rights, inhumanity, and international development”.
Cashman is perhaps best known for his role as Colin Russell on EastEnders – the first character to have a same-sex kiss on a British soap.
He co-founded gay rights charity Stonewall in 1989 and in 2010 led the calls for the charity to give its support to equal marriage.
In May 2012, he became the first member of the European Parliament to join the Out4Marriage campaign.
Last month, he criticised the “deeply worrying” appointment of Nicky Morgan MP, who voted against the same-sex marriage legislation, as the new Minister for Women and Equalities and Education Secretary, replacing Maria Miller MP who resigned after an expenses scandal.
He is a patron of the UK’s only gay humanist charity, the Pink Triangle Trust (PTT), which was set up in 1992 and publishes the quarterly Pink Humanist magazine.
PTT Secretary George Broadhead, said: “The Trust warmly welcomes this appointment”.
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