Gok Wan hosted the gay right’s charity Stonewall Awards last night at the V & A, which was opened by Stonewall’s Chief Executive Ben Summerskill who spoke about the recent homophobic attack against policeman James Parkes. Ben also took the opportunity to criticise the ever-controversial Section 28 legislation which banned the teaching of homosexuality in schools, saying:
If any government tries again to introduce a piece of legislation as offensive and demeaning as Section 28, Stonewall is here and we will fight back.
The evening then continued with the likes of Joan Bakewell and Johann Hari being awarded ‘Journalist(s) of the Year), and Channel 4 news reporter, Samira Ahmed winning ‘Broadcast of the Year’ for her documentary of the practice of ‘corrective rape’ of lesbians in South Africa. The Sports Award of the Year went to motorbike racer Michael Hill, and Boyzone won Entertainer of the Year, with Stephen Gately’s husband Andrew Cowles collecting the award to a raptuous applause.
Perhaps inevitably, Daily Mail columnist Jan Moir shared the dubious honour of ‘Bigot of the Year’ following her column on the death of Stephen Gately, with Father John Owens who this year asserted the claim that ‘most paedophiles are gay’.
The biggest award of the evening, Hero of the Year was saved until last, and went to Rev Scott Rennie, the gay man who was appointed as minister of Queen’s Cross Church, Aberdeen.Rennie’s ordination was opposed by many because he lives with another man, but his congregation overwhelmingly selected him as their minister.Rennie said,’Thank you very much. I am deeply humbled to receive this’. He also paid tribute to his congregation, thanking them for their support.