Iris Robinson MP voted Bigot of the Year
The third Stonewall Awards, hosted by actor Richard Wilson, were held tonight at London's V&A and attended by 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 and gay people in 2008.
Stonewall & Barclays Community Group of the Year UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group. Winner of a £5,000 cheque presented at the ceremony.
The Hero, Bigot and Community Group of the Year Awards were voted for by 7,000 Stonewall supporters. All other categories were chosen by a judging panel including artist Maggi Hambling, MP Diane Abbott, Channel Five Chair Dawn Airey and Coronation Street's Antony Cotton.
On being voted Stonewall's Hero of the Year, Bishop Gene Robinson said: What an honour to receive this award! I'm delighted that LGBT people are joining hands across the pond to accomplish the goal of equality for all. To be recognised in this way warms my heart and emboldens me for the future.
Sandi Toksvig, winner of Stonewall's Broadcaster of the Year award, said: Thank you for noticing my work on the wireless. It means a lot to me. I raise a glass to all those living their lives out and proud in the passionate belief that secrets are a cancer of the soul and closets are for mothballs.
Ben Summerskill, Stonewall Chief Executive, said: It's hugely humbling to honour those both gay and straight - who have inspired or encouraged Britain's 3.6 million gay people. Every year, the Stonewall Awards highlight just how much we have to celebrate in an increasingly gay-friendly modern Britain.
Of course, hostility towards gay people still exists. It's telling that this year's winners of Hero and Bigot of the Year are two Robinsons who use their Christian beliefs in such very different ways. This is supported by recent Stonewall research which found that many religious people hold significantly more moderate views of homosexuality than is often claimed on their behalf.
Attendees at the ceremony included singer Beverley Knight, Mark Feehily of Westlife, TV personality Sue Perkins, Daily Mirror advice columnist Dr Miriam Stoppard and the Revd Martin Dudley.
Contact: Gary Nunn, Communications Officer, 020 7593 1856 / 07985 439 660
1. Stonewall is the gay equality charity founded in 1989. www.stonewall.org.uk