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Pick the PinkNews Awards Politician of the Year 2017

Joseph McCormick September 26, 2017
Mr Speaker John Bercow

Mr Speaker John Bercow (Photo by Chris Jepson for PinkNews)

The PinkNews Awards takes place on 18 October 2017 at a central London location.

The event recognises the important contributions by politicians, community groups, campaigners, businesses and broadcasters towards improving LGBT+ life at home and abroad.

The Politician of the Year Award seeks to recognise politicians from both Houses of the British Parliament, Scottish Parliament, Assembly for Wales and Northern Irish Assembly.

Contributions made include legislation put forward as well as individual and personal campaigns and for being outwardly visible to improve LGBT+ life at home and abroad.

The full list of nominated politicians is available to view below, along with a voting form to rank your favourites.

Hannah Bardell MP – SNP MP for Livingston

The out gay SNP MP for Livingston often draws on her personal experience to campaign on LGBT+ issues.

Ms Bardell has called on the UK Government to do more to condemn anti-LGBT violence abroad including an anti-gay purge in Chechnya, as well as condemning the Conservative Party for making a deal with the adamantly anti-LGBT Democratic Unionist Party to form a Government following the general election.

This year Bardell hosted a documentary for the Victoria Derbyshire Show on the BBC to mark the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality.

She has also spoken in Parliament to call for more balanced and fair transgender representation in all areas of life, especially the portrayal in the media, and has heavily condemned anti-LGBT attitudes in sport.

Baroness Barker – Lib Dem peer

Baroness Barker is a long-time advocate of LGBT rights and a previous PinkNews Award winner.

She came out during the debate in the UK Parliament on same-sex marriage back in 2013 and has been a long-time advocate for LGBT+ rights.

In the past year, Baroness Barker has called on the Government to do more about an anti-LGBT purge in Chechnya, asking an official question to the Government.

She has also called for the “rights and principles of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights will be incorporated into a British Bill of Rights” to protect LGBT+ citizens post-Brexit, and spoke impassionately on International Women’s Day for the recognition of the rights of LGBT+ women at home and in other countries.

Other issues she has spoken vocally on the House of Lords and in written questions includes detention of LGBT asylum seekers being sent back to countries where they face persecution like Uganda and Russia, and has her finger on the pulse of LGBT+ issues at home and abroad.

Lord Ray Collins of Highbury – Labour peer

An out gay member of the House of Lords, Ray Collins often speaks on LGBT+ issues in and out of Parliament and is a long-time strong advocate of LGBT+ rights.

This year he has called for more awareness of anti-LGBT attitudes throughout the Commonwealth and commented during the debate on the Queen’s Speech this year on the anti-gay purge in Chechnya.

Late last year he also commended the United Nations for appointing Vitit Muntarbhorn as its independent expert on LGBT rights.

He has spoken out on a number of LGBT+ issues in the past twelve months including human rights abuses like LGBT+ people being denied access to HIV and AIDS treatment abroad.

Stephen Doughty MP – Labour and Co-op MP for Cardiff South and Penarth

The out MP for Cardiff South and Penarth often speaks out on LGBT+ issues, lobbies for equality and has spoken frankly and honestly about hearing anti-LGBT sentiments while campaigning.

Earlier in 2017 Mr Doughty joined other out LGBT+ politicians in a protest calling on the Government to drop its ties with the adamantly anti-LGBT Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland.

He told the gathering of politicians: “We’re here today standing up as out LGBT MPs and parliamentarians to speak up for the equality and rights of all LGBT citizens across the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland.

“It is deeply dismaying that Theresa May is trying to cobble together a deal with the DUP, who have such a terrible record when it comes to equality, when it comes to the rights of LGBT people.”

Earlier this year Mr Doughty wrote for PinkNews in defence of House of Commons Speaker John Bercow, who faced an impartiality vote of no confidence for wading into a debate over whether US President Trump should be granted a state visit to the UK.

He defended Mr Bercow, saying he had made Parliament a much more equal place since taking up the role of Speaker.

Annie Wells – Conservative MSP for Glasgow

The MSP for Glasgow is openly gay and a single mother. She often speaks out in the Scottish Parliament on LGBT+ issues.

During LGBT+ History Month she opened up about her personal journey to coming out as a lesbian, describing her marriage to a man as “some of the darkest years” of her life. She went on to say she was much happier having come out and celebrated steps forward for LGBT+ people in Scotland and in the UK.

She is a vocal campaigner for inclusive sex and relationships education (SRE) for all schools, and has also campaigned for appropriate mental health support for LGBT+ people.

Ms Wells has also spoken extensively on support for LGBT+ domestic abuse survivors.

The Rt Hon Justine Greening MP – Conservative MP for Putney and Education Secretary

Justine Greening getty

As Education Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, Ms Greening often speaks on LGBT issues.

She became the first female Cabinet Minister in a same-sex relationship when she came out in June 2016 just in time for Pride in London.

During her time in the Cabinet, Ms Greening has hit out at the DUP for its anti-LGBT stance, condemned anti-LGBT bullying, and has pledged that the Government will streamline the gender recognition process.

Ms Greening, who has spoken at the PinkNews Awards in the past, drew up plans to make SRE mandatory in all schools, after pressure on the issue from sexual health and children’s campaign groups.

Patrick Harvie MSP – Scottish Greens co-convener and MSP for Glasgow

The Scottish Green Party co-convener last year became then one of four out LGB leaders in Scotland.

In 2016, Mr Harvie said that any political party should not select candidates with anti-LGBT views.

He often campaigns on LGBT+ issues and has called for full acceptance and equality of LGBT+ people in all walks of life.

Earlier in 2017, he gave a powerful speech to kick of LGBT History Month.

He said: “We should be judged not only by what we do in this place, but by what all our political parties do as they select candidates—who may be beginning their political careers—at local government level in the next few months. Will they be the kind of people to follow in the footsteps of Nicky Fairbairn, or will they follow in the footsteps of Ruth Davidson?

“Will we all, as parties, commit to not selecting anyone who will not implement the goals of the TIE campaign and genuinely commit to inclusive education? It is those local council candidates who will have the power to make it happen or to block it, and we all need to take responsibility for the decisions that we make in that regard.”

Lord Scriven – Lib Dem peer

The Lib Dem peer has been a long-time supporter of LGBT+ rights.

In the past year, the member of the House of Lords has called out the Government’s deal with the DUP to make a majority following the General Election result and has called on justice for LGBT+ asylum seekers detained in UK detention centres and deported to countries where they likely face persecution.

Earlier this year Lord Scriven called on the Government to reveal whether it had raised the issue of violence against and LGBT Pride celebration in Turkey during an official visit. The Government refused to answer whether it had raised the issue.

Also in 2017, Lord Scriven made history by becoming the first male in the House of Lords, other than clergymen, to speak without a tie during a debate.

John Swinney MSP – Deputy First Minister of Scotland, Cabinet Secretary for Education and MSP for Perthshire North

John Swinney

The SNP Deputy First Minister of Scotland and Scottish Education Secretary has consistently supported LGBT rights in Scotland.

As Education Secretary, he has been instrumental in introducing compulsory SRE in Scottish schools.

He has met with LGBT Youth Scotland and TIE campaigners to discuss how LGBT+ issues can best be handled in Scottish classrooms.

Since joining the Scottish Government, Mr Swinney has also called for an end to anti-LGBT+ bullying, saying it is “unacceptable”.

Use the link below to vote for your favourites in all categories.

Click here for the form to vote for your favourites for the PinkNews Awards 2017

Click here for the full shortlist of nominees in all categories.

The PinkNews Awards is generously supported by Lloyds Banking Group

Lloyds Banking Group logo

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