Organisers of the UK’s most prestigious gay awards have said that more than half of the nominees have indicated they will attend, more than a month before the ceremony.
The Stonewall Awards, sponsored by Barclays, celebrate people who have had a positive impact on the lives of British lesbian, gay and bisexual people.
Nominees for Entertainer of the Year include Simon Amstell from Never Mind the Buzzcocks, singer Sam Sparro, Maestro winner Sue Perkins, and Queen of Shops host Mary Portas.
Thelondonpaper columnist Joshua Hunt, Daily Mirror agony aunt Miriam Stoppard, and Julie Bindel from The Guardian are among the nominees for the Journalist of the Year award.
Tickets are still available for the ceremony on November 6th from the Stonewall website.
A Stonewall spokesperson told PinkNews.co.uk that this year’s host will be announced later this week but would not reveal any names of confirmed celeb attendees.
More than half of the nominees have already accepted invitations, though DUP MP Iris Robinson is not thought to be among them.
She is up for Bigot of the Year after her comments about homosexuality on Ulster radio earlier this year.
“Just weeks after suggesting that gay people could be ‘cured’, describing homosexuality as ‘disgusting’, ‘loathsome’ and ‘an abomination’, in June she went on to say: ‘There can be no viler act, apart from homosexuality, than sexually abusing innocent children,’” said Stonewall.
On a more positive note, Bishop Gene Robinson is in the running for Hero of the Year.
He is a figure of controverssy for some in the Anglican communion, but an inspirational voice to millions of others.
His election as an openly gay man to the post of Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003 caused divisions within the Church that have deepened in the intervening years.
Anglican leaders have sought a compromise with traditionalists over the acceptance of gay priests and the blessings of same-sex relationships, while Bishop Robinson has been a clear and consistent voice for gay people.
In an interview with PinkNews.co.uk earlier this year he revealed that he received death threats ahead of his civil partnership ceremony in New Hampshire in June and that at times he wears a bulletproof vest.
Politician of the Year nominees include Justice Minister Maria Eagle. Today it was announced that she will take on Equalities duties as part of the government reshuffle.
Bigot and Hero of the Year will be voted for by Stonewall supporters.
The other winners will be chosen by a judging panel which includes artist Maggi Hambling, MP Diane Abbott, TV executive Dawn Airey and Coronation Street’s Antony Cotton.
The third Stonewall Awards ceremony takes place on Thursday November 6th at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
Tickets start at £125 and are available from firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7593 1874.
Thanks to the support of Barclays, all proceeds will go towards Stonewall’s campaigns, including its Education for All programme, tackling homophobic bullying in schools.
Stonewall Awards 2008 – Shortlists
Broadcast/er of the Year
1. Fi Glover (Saturday Live – Radio 4)
2. Skins (C4)
3. The Sunday Night Project (C4)
4. Sandi Toksvig (The News Quiz and Excess Baggage)
5. Wife Swap (C4)
Entertainer of the Year
1. Simon Amstell (Never Mind the Buzzcocks)
2. Amy Lamé (TV and radio personality)
3. Sue Perkins (Maestro, The Supersizers Go…)
4. Mary Portas (Queen of Shops))
5. Sam Sparro (pop singer
Journalist of the Year
1. Julie Bindel (The Guardian)
2. Joshua Hunt (thelondonpaper)
3. Suzanne Moore (Mail on Sunday)
4. Karl Riley (Boyz)
5. Miriam Stoppard (The Daily Mirror)
Politician of the Year
1. Lord Alli
2. Lord Carlile
3. Maria Eagle MP
4. Patrick Harvie MSP
5. Emily Thornberry MP
Publication of the Year
2. The Herald
3. The Independent
4. Out In The City
5. Time Out
Stonewall Sports Award
1. Clare Balding
2. BLAGGS – Brighton Lesbian and Gay Sports Society
3. Ben Cohen
4. Matthew Mitcham
5. Stonewall Lions FC
Writer of the Year
1. Jonathan Coe (The Rain Before it Falls)
2. Stella Duffy (The Room of Lost Things)
3. Philip Hensher (The Northern Clemency)
4. Rebecca Lenkiewicz (Her Naked Skin)
5. Adam Mars-Jones (Pilcrow)
Hero of the Year – chosen by Stonewall supporters.
1. Rev’d Martin Dudley – blessed the civil partnership of two friends, both gay priests, in June at St Bartholomew’s Church in the City of London. Courageously defied critics demanding an apology, insisting he had no regrets.
2. Natalie Gamble – prominent in the campaign to secure equal legal recognition for same-sex families and an end to discrimination against lesbians in fertility treatment; spoke publicly of her own positive experience as a lesbian mum.
3. Brian Paddick – Formerly Britain’s most senior gay police officer, Brian Paddick turned his talent and outspokenness to the political arena with his nomination as the Liberal Democrat’s candidate to be Mayor of London.
4. Rt Rev’d Gene Robinson – openly gay Bishop of New Hampshire. Has bravely endured sustained personal attacks in recent months, as church debate on homosexuality has intensified. Recently barred from Lambeth conference.
5. Rose Troche – writer and director of smash hit US TV show The L Word, groundbreaking in its portrayal of lesbian lives and relationships. The show aired its fifth season in 2008 and remains hugely popular. She also directed the seminal Go Fish.
Bigot of the Year – chosen by Stonewall supporters.
1. Lord Devon – Earlier this year, the 18th Earl of Devon unlawfully refused to permit civil partnership celebrations as well as weddings at Powderham Castle, his ancestral seat.
2. Heinz – the corporation caved in to a small number of orchestrated complaints and withdrew their light-hearted Deli Mayo TV ad following claims that a so-called ‘gay kiss’ between two men would confuse and damage children.
3. Lillian Ladele – Islington registrar who refused to perform civil partnerships because of her disgust at same-sex unions, even though paid from the public purse to serve all the community.
4. Bishop of Motherwell – Roman Catholic bishop claimed gay people use the Holocaust to get sympathy. On Sir Ian McKellen’s New Year’s honour for services to equality said ‘A century ago, Oscar Wilde was locked up and put in jail.’
5. Iris Robinson MP – just weeks after suggesting that gay people could be ‘cured’, describing homosexuality as ‘disgusting’, ‘loathsome’ and ‘an abomination’, in June the Unionist MP went on to say: ‘There can be no viler act, apart from homosexuality, than sexually abusing innocent children.’