Writer, campaigner and presenter Paris Lees has topped this year’s Independent Pink List, with PinkNews founder Benjamin Cohen coming in seventh.
Nominated by the public and curated by a panel of judges including the Stonewall CEO Ben Summerskill and the publisher of DIVA magazine Kim Watson, the list is designed to highlight LGBT heroes – both those in the public eye and the unsung heroes and heroines dedicated to campaigning for progress and equality.
As well as broadcaster and journalist Lees, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, and broadcaster Clare Balding, came in joint second.
Paris Lees said: “Don’t let anybody tell you that recognition doesn’t matter. Obviously this is hugely invigorating to me personally, but I think it’s even more valuable in terms of what it means for the trans community and raising awareness.
“I hope that this recognition will help to open doors for All About Trans, and the work that I’m doing there which I am really passionate about, but although I’m really pleased to be named and recognised for leading a full and meaningful life, it makes me very sad that many trans people are not able to fulfil their potential whether they’ve been murdered or taken their own life, or are simply too scared to fully be themselves. So I hope that going forward all trans people will be able to flourish and prosper and reach their full potential.”
PinkNews founder and publisher Benjamin Cohen, alongside other founding members of the Out4Marriage campaign group, James-J Walsh and Mike Buonaiuto came in at number seven.
Out4Marriage, and subsequently LobbyALord were set up to campaign for equal marriage in England and Wales.
Benjamin Cohen said: “I’m not in general a fan of lists but I am grateful that my work with Out4Marriage has been recognised. When we came up with the idea last spring, we just wanted to launch a viral video campaign where ordinary people would be able to explain why they supported equality in marriage. I never expected that within a few weeks, people including Nick Clegg, Sir Richard Branson, Ed Miliband, Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Stephen Fry and Hugh Grant would take the time out to call for same-sex marriage. It shows what you can achieve with no donations, YouTube and of course PinkNews to first publicise the campaign.”
Also featured on the list were Jackie Green, trans rights campaigner, entertainer Sue Perkins, and columnist Owen Jones.
The top ten for the UK Pink List is available to view below:
1 Paris Lees – Broadcaster and journalist
2 Clare Balding – Broadcaster
2 Peter Tatchell - Human rights campaigner
4 Nicola Adams - Olympic gold medal-winning boxer
5 Ruth Hunt - Stonewall’s Director of Public Affairs
6 Owen Jones – Columnist
7 Benjamin Cohen, Mike Buonaiuto with a special mention of James J Walsh – the founding members of Out4Marriage
8 Jackie Green – Trans rights campaigner
9 Phyllis Opoku-Gyimah – UK Black Pride director
10 Sue Perkins – Entertainer
The paper also lists the top straight friends to LGBT people. It is topped by the actress Tilda Swinton who flew a rainbow flag in Moscow, ahead of British Prime Minister David Cameron, noted for his policy of equal marriage and the Liberal Democrat minister Lynne Featherstone, who was the minister responsible for initiating the consultation that led to same-sex marriage.
The full list will be published in the Independent on Sunday.