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Ed Miliband dedicates PinkNews Award to ‘LGBT campaigners who made real change happen’

Joe Williams October 22, 2015

PinkNews Exclusive
Former Labour Leader Ed Miliband received a Special Award at the PinkNews Awards.

Mr Miliband, who stepped down as leader in May, was given the Special Award at the third annual PinkNews Awards at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, for his ongoing contribution to achieving LGBT rights both nationally and internationally.

A champion of LGBT rights, Mr Miliband first voiced his support for the LGBT community in a column for PinkNews.co.uk. back in 2010 – shortly before his election as Labour Leader.

At the time he wrote: “’Separate but equal’ is not good enough and PinkNews.co.uk’s own recent poll demonstrated the huge support in the LGBT community for a right to marry.

“I want to see heterosexual and same-sex partnerships put on an equal basis and a Labour Party that I lead will campaign to make gay marriage happen.”

During a PinkNews Q&A session in the run up to the election, Labour politician also said he would “do his best” to support his children if any of them came out as transgender, revealed he has attended a same-sex wedding, and backed the legal recognition of humanist weddings in England and Wales.

Upon receiving the award – presented by PinkNews CEO Benjamin Cohen – Mr Miliband championed “the power of the LGBT movement” and “the campaigners who made change happen”.

“I want to just say something about who really deserves this award and who this award is really about,” he told the audience.

“And it’s not about me and it’s not about Alex Salmond and it’s not about all the politicians.”

“Let’s be absolutely honest about this – it’s about the campaigners, it’s about the people who made change happen,” he added.

“And why did it happen? It happened because of the power of the movement.”

He then went on to discuss “why so many people across this country have changed their attitudes to gay and lesbian people.”

“It’s actually because of the everyday contact they had with gay and lesbian people, which was so at odds with what some of our tabloid newspapers and others were saying, and so the demand for justice, the demand for equality was combined with that.”

However, he warned that the fight for LGBT must continue, as “we’re not finished yet”.

“Because if you think about the change we need in our culture still, if you think about the hidden barriers of discrimination in this country and then you think about the outrages happening around the world to the LGBT community, we know the battle is not won.”

Mr Miliband also revealed some of the more “interesting requests” he has received during life “life as a recovering political leader”.

“It is from a programme soon to be aired on your television screens called Drive ITV, when nine well known faces take on the challenge of motor sport and I was offered the chance, believe it or not, to take part in everything from stock car racing to buggy racing.”

Unsurprisingly, Mr Miliband declined the offer: “Now, somehow I think they may have got the wrong guy, so I said no.”

The PinkNews Awards are generously supported by Lloyds Banking Group.

More: Ed Miliband, Labour, LGBT, PinkNews Awards

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