Ugandan activist named Hero of the Year at Stonewall awards

Ugandan gay rights activist Pepe Julian Onziema has been named Hero of the Year at this year's annual Stonewall Awards.

Onziema was praised for his bravery in fighting for gay rights in Uganda where homosexuality is illegal, and gay men and women are the target of homophobic attacks and murder.

Stonewall Chief Executive Ruth Hunt said: "Our Hero of the Year, Pepe Julian Onziema, is a global beacon of hope who inspires and influences so many people — not just those in his home country of Uganda, but all those fighting for equality around the globe."

Interviewed by the Guardian, Onziema, who receives regular death threats, said: "To receive this award is incredibly exciting. This kind of recognition keeps us on the map. It means that people are still keeping an eye on what is happening in Uganda and on the work we do.It is a boost for activists working in the country who do not want to leave."

The Stonewall Awards, which honour people who have made a positive contribution to the lives of LGBT people, were held last night at London's Victoria and Albert Museum.

Pride, the film telling the story of gay rights activists supporting striking miners in the 1980s, was voted Broadcast of the Year.

Emmerdale's Alicya Eyo was voted Entertainer of the Year for her portrayal of lesbian character Ruby Haswell in the popular soap, and for being an openly lesbian role model.

Stonewall founder Lord (Michael) Cashman was named Politician of the Year together with Liberal Democrat Home Office Minister Lynne Featherstone.

The Publication of the Year went to i newspaper for its coverage of gay issues throughout the year including the Sochi Olympics and Thomas Hitzlsperger's coming out.

Channel 4's Liz MacKean was named Journalist of the Year for her Dispatches documentary Hunted that exposed the brutal treatment of gay people in Putin's Russia.

The winners

Hero of the Year: Pepe Julian Onziema

Broadcast of the Year: Pride

Entertainer of the Year: Alicya Eyo (Emmerdale)

Journalist of the Year: Liz MacKean

Politician of the Year: Lord Cashman and Lynne Featherstone MP

Publication of the Year: i

Sports Award of the Year: Pride House

Writer of the Year: Sarah Waters

Community Group of the Year: OLGA (Older Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Association)

Advert of the Year: London Pride and Barclays (#FreedomTo)