Gay equality organisation Stonewall has announced the nominees for their annual awards.
Coronation Street actor Antony Cotton, comedian Sue Perkins, singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright, rapper Mz Fontaine and The Feeling vocalist Dan Gillespie-Sells are nominated for Entertainer of the Year.
In the category of Broadcast or Broadcaster of the Year, BBC sci-fi hit Doctor Who, Channel 4′s teen soap Hollyoaks, ITV drama Housewife 49, Capital Radio show [i] Lucio’s Drivetime and digital radio station Gaydar Radio are the nominees.
Two senior Cabinet ministers are in contention for the coveted Politician of the Year.
Secretary of State for Health Alan Johnson and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Peter Hain are up against Treasury minister Angela Eagle, former Tory equality spokesperson Eleanor Laing, gay peer Lord Alli and MSP Iain Smith.
[i]GT, formerly Gay Times, The Guardian, the londonpaper, G3 magazine and the BBC website are nominated for Publication of the Year.
Sportsperson of the Year nominees are football pundit and ex-player Graeme Le Saux, snowboarder Jo Chastney, international referee Nigel Owens, the London Lesbian Kickabouts and the bid team for the London 2008 International Gay and Lesbian Football World Championships.
Nominated for writer of the Year are Paul Burston, Russell T Davies, Val McDermid , Charlotte Mendelson and Louise Welsh.
In the category of Journalist of the Year, Mariella Frostrup of The Observer, Philip Hensher of The Independent, Tim Teeman of The Times, Zoe Williams of The Guardian and PinkNews.co.uk editor Tony Grew are the nominees.
Winners from six categories will be chosen by judges including Matt Lucas, Clare Balding, Nicky Campbell, Paul Gambaccini, Johnny Capps and Robin Grew from Barclays.
Ben Summerskill, Stonewall chief executive, said: “We are delighted at the range of lesbian and gay talent recognised by the Awards shortlist.
“But we’re equally delighted that so many people across the media and political worlds have been giving positive support to gay people too during the last year.”
Thousands of Stonewall supporters across Britain are voting for the winners in three other categories – Hero of the Year, ‘Bigot of the Year (see below) and the Stonewall Barclays Community Group of the Year.
The successful community group will receive a cheque for £5,000 at the award ceremony on 1st November.
Stonewall members can nominate any group for the community award. About 6,000 people can vote and so far 60 different community organisations across the country have been nominated.
The current frontrunners, after about 800 ballot papers have come in, include Albert Kennedy Trust (last year’s winner), London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard, Gay Lesbian Humanist Association and the Lesbian and Gay Foundation.
The awards ceremony will be held in the Victoria Albert Museum.
Preceded and followed by champagne receptions, tickets for the evening are available at £100 from firstname.lastname@example.org and from the Stonewall website www.stonewall.org.uk.
Thanks to the support of Barclays, every pound from ticket sales will go towards Stonewall’s key campaigns, including tackling homophobic bullying in our schools and securing a new criminal offence of inciting homophobic hatred.
Hero of the Year – chosen by Stonewall supporters:
John Amaechi – former professional NBA basketball star, spoke powerfully earlier this year about life as a closeted gay athlete sparking debate on both sides of the Atlantic on homophobia in sport.
Sgt Julie Barnes-Frank – one of the first openly lesbian or gay police officers, founded Greater Manchester Police Lesbian and Gay Staff Affiliation in 1998 which now offers 24-hour advice and support to LGB police staff.
Beth Ditto – lead singer of rock band The Gossip and outspoken advocate of gay equality, combines non-conformity with mainstream appeal, penning an advice column for The Guardian and nominated NME Sexiest Woman 2007.
Antony Grey – veteran equality campaigner. As Secretary of the Homosexual Law Reform Society played a key role in securing the 1967 Sexual Offences Act to partly decriminalise homosexual acts.
Lisa Power – veteran of human rights campaigns for over 25 years, first as a writer and activist for lesbian and gay rights and since the 1980s, in HIV and sexual health. The first person to speak at the UN on gay equality.
Bigot of the Year – chosen by Stonewall supporters:
Archbishop of Birmingham – spoke out against new goods and services protections for gay people, threatening to close welfare services and adoption agencies unless the Government agreed to sweeping exemptions.
Jeremy Clarkson – Top Gear presenter and journalist, refused to apologise after being reprimanded by BBC bosses for derogatory gay jibes on primetime TV.
Bishop of Hereford – withdrew a job offer to a youth worker because he was gay, after subjecting him to a series of humiliating personal questions.
Patricia McKeever – secretive editor of the Catholic Truth website and newsletter. Co-ordinates a relentless campaign to ‘name and shame’ gay Catholic priests, and has been widely condemned for conducting a ‘witch-hunt’.
Ian Paisley Jnr – minister in the new Northern Ireland Executive. Said he was ‘repulsed’ by lesbian and gay people – has since refused to apologise.