Lord Chris Smith, the first openly gay MP, will celebrate his 25th year in his career this month.

Twenty-five years ago today, Smith began a speech to a rally in Rugby, Warwickshire, against a possible ban on gay employees by the town council with the words “Good afternoon, I’m Chris Smith, I’m the Labour MP for Islington South and Finsbury and I’m gay.”

To mark his silver anniversary, LGBT Labour is holding a celebratory dinner in central London next week. Funds from the dinner will go towards “Dorothy’s List” – the LGBT Labour campaign fund for openly-LGBT candidates standing for Labour at the coming general election.

LGBT Labour co-chair Katie Hanson said: “Chris Smith inspired a generation of people in politics and beyond to be open and honest about being gay. Twenty-five years after Lord Smith’s brave announcement, and thanks to 12 years of a Labour government, our country’s laws and society’s views have radically changed for the better.

“We will be celebrating this important anniversary next week and raising money to help new LGBT general election candidates get elected as Labour MPs.”

Smith was secretary of state for culture, media, and sport from 1997 to 2001. In 2005, he revealed he had HIV and became a life peer in the House of Lords after stepping down from the Commons. He is currently chair of the Environment Agency.

For full details of the dinner, visit www.lgbtlabour.org.uk/25years