If you haven’t seen part one of our awards features, check it out here. This time, we will be giving awards for the best LGBT heroes in Politics & Charity.
Gold – Michael Cashman
Michael has had a colourful and diverse role in the fight for gay visibility and equality, from his character Colin Russell sharing the first ever gay kiss on a UK soap on EastEnders (watched by a staggering 17 million people), to being a founder member of Stonewall. As a member of Labour’s National Executive Committee both he and his civil partner Paul Cottingham were invited to Chequers on several occasions by Tony Blair, while as an MEP he now heads up the European Parliament’s LGBT right group and has been voted MEP of the Year for Justice and Fundamental Rights by his peers.
Silver – Angela Eagle
The Shadow Leader of the House of Commons became the first out lesbian in Parliament (and, along with her sister, Maria, the first ever twins in to sit in the House), and has tirelessly campaigned on gay issues, including civil partnerships.
Bronze – Waheed Alli
The first openly gay life peer in the House of Lords, he was central in the formation of the gay rights bills in Tony Blair’s government and is also a patron of both Oxford Pride and the Albert Kennedy Trust.
Gold – Elton John
The Elton John AIDS Foundation was set up in 1992 after the singer lost many close friends to the disease. Since that time the charity has raised over £91 million to support programmes across four continents through prevention and education, elimination of prejudice and discrimination, and providing services to people living with the disease. Every year the 61-year-old opens his house for a White Tie and Tiara Ball in aid of the Foundation, as well as hosting legendary Grammy and Oscar parties as fundraisers. As well as being one of the most successful recording artists of all time, Elton John has also become a spokesman for gay rights, and he and his partner David Furnish became the most high profile gay couple in the world to both tie and knot and adopt. We salute the real Queen of England!
Silver – Drag Queens
As well as helping kick-start gay liberation through their active part in the Stonewall riots, drag queens have collectively raised thousands of pounds through the hundreds of charity events that take place in gay venues across the UK every year.
Bronze – The Gay Community
Walk into just about any gay venue any you’ll spot a poster for a charity event. The gay community are brilliant at supporting LGBT charities in endlessly inventive, fun and generous ways.