Stonewall Awards – Melanie Phillips nominated as ‘Bigot of the Year’.

Stonewall, the LGBT rights campaigning charity, has announced its nominees for its annual awards, which will be held at the V&A on 3 November. The event, which will be hosted by the comedian Stephen K Amos, will see awards given out in ten categories, including three which will be voted on by Stonewall’s supporters across the UK: Hero of the Year, Bigot of the Year and the Stonewall Community Group.

This year’s nominees for Bigot of the Year include one that will be more than familiar to So So Gay readers: the Daily Mail and former Spectator journalist, Melanie Phillips. In January, after Phillips penned an attack on recommendations that schools should be asked to help children understand LGBT rights, So So Gay’s Editor-in-Chief responded with an opinion piece that became one of the magazine’s most-read features, complaining about Phillips’ ‘moral hypochondria’. A follow-up article by Lee Williscroft-Ferris warned that we ignore Phillips’ bigotry at our peril.

Stonewall’s citation for Phillips suggests she is worthy of the award:

Other nominees for Bigot of the Year include: Stephen Green, the leader of the fundamentalist Christian organisation Christian Voice; the Catholic Bishop of Leeds, Rt Rev Arthur Roche, who mounted a costly legal campaign to block gay couples from adopting children; Brian Souter, the Stagecoach boss, who was awarded a knighthood earlier this year despite a lengthy history of homophobic campaigns including an effort to retain Section 2A, a Scottish law equivalent to England and Wales’s Section 28; and the Scottish National Party’s Bill Walker MSP, who condemned gay relationships as being ‘in no way equal’ to heterosexual ones, and compared an anti-homophobia campaign logo to a swastika.

The Hero of the Year category includes nominations for Lady Gaga, Joan Armatrading, Bette Bourne, Roger Crouch and Paul Martin OBE. Lady Gaga (one of So So Gay’s own LGBT Heroes) is nominated for her ‘enthusiastic campaigning for LGBT equality’, and for lending her clout to the campaign against Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Joan Armatrading, the song-writer, received her nomination in recognition of her long and illustrious career, as did Bette Bourne, a legendary drag queen, actor and equal rights activist. Paul Martin OBE, chief executive of the Lesbian and Gay Foundation, was nominated for his hard work to support the LGBT community in Manchester. Roger Crouch’s nomination was given for his campaign against homophobic bullying, which he started after his son, Dominic, took his own life at the age of 15 after being bullied.

Stonewall will announce nominees for its other awards – which include Writer and Entertainer of the Year – later this month.

Tickets for the 2011 Stonewall Awards ceremony are available now, and cost £150 + VAT. To book your ticket visit www.stonewall.org.uk/awards or contact Maria Anna Petrou on 020 7593 2294.

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