The fourth Stonewall Awards ceremony is to take place in London on November 5th.
Openly gay TV presenter Gok Wan is to host the event, which will be held this year in the V&A Museum. As yet, only nominations for only two of the awards have been revealed.
Those in the running for Bigot of the Year are Dr Sheila Matthews, the doctor who refused to approve gay couples to adopt, Father John Owen, who claimed most paedophiles were gay men, Fred Phelps and Shirley Roper-Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Chuch, who picket AIDS victims funerals with ‘God Hates Fags’ placards, DJ Spoony, who said that attractive women should be “saved” for straight men, and the Bishop of Winchester, who told the House of Lords in July that homosexuality was a personal choice.
The Bigot of the Year award recognises those who have gone out of their way to “harm, hurt or snub” lesbian, gay and bisexual people in the last year. Previous winners have included Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles, for calling a ringtone he disliked “gay”, and Northern Ireland MP Iris Robinson, who called homosexuality “an abomination”.
Those nominated for Hero of the Year are poet Carol Ann Duffy, the first lesbian (and woman) to be made poet laureate, Jim MacSweeney, owner of the UK’s first and only lesbian and gay bookstore, Nick Partridge, chief executive of Terrence Higgins Trust, the Reverend Scott Rennie, who was made Scotland’s firs openly gay minister, and Lindsay River, the director of older gay and lesbian charity Polari, which closed in March.
Hero of the Year 2008 was the Bishop of New Hampshire, Gene Robinson, who was barred from the Lambeth Conference after revealing he was gay.
Hero and Bigot of the Year were voted on by Stonewall supporters, while the other seven awards are to be discussed by a panel of judges, which includes TV personality Sue Perkins, presenter Evan Davis, former basketball player John Amaechi, Angela Eagle MP and assistant editor of the Daily Telegraph Andrew Pierce.
Stonewall chief executive Ben Summerskill said: “In Stonewall’s 20th anniversary year, we’ve had the opportunity to celebrate the heroes of the gay equality movement from the last two decades. Our Awards ceremony continues this recognition, but also shines a light on those who are making an important contribution to equality in Britain today – inspiring lesbian and gay people to lead fulfilling lives at home, at school and at work.”
Tickets for the 2009 Stonewall Awards ceremony at London’s V&A on Thursday November 5th are £150 + VAT. To book your ticket visit www.stonewall.org.uk/awards or contact firstname.lastname@example.org / 020 7593 1875.