Stonewall announces hero and bigot nominees for 2012. Ben & Jerry’s founders and Jessie J among gay heroes. Bigots of the Year include Cardinal Keith O’Brien

Updated: 24/09/12 4.00PM

Stonewall today announces nominees for its annual Hero and Bigot of the Year Awards. The charity’s 7th Stonewall Awards take place at the V&A on 1 November, and celebrate people who have made a positive impact on the lives of Britain’s 3.7 million lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

Seven of the awards are selected by an independent judging panel, but three – Hero, Community Group and Bigot of the Year – are voted on by Stonewall’s supporters.

WE COULD BE HEROES..

This year’s five Hero nominees include The Voice judge Jessie J, nominated as a role model for bisexual people. Ben & Jerry’s founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield earn a nomination for their company’s staunch support for gay equality. Former Manchester Pride Director Jackie Crozier is nominated for years of charitable work.

Speaking to a spokesperson for Ben & Jerry’s they said:

‘We are udderly delighted we have been nominated for the Stonewall Hero of the Year Award for supporting a cause that’s at the core of our values’ said Ilaria Ida, Ben & Jerry’s European Social Mission Manager from the Barn in Datchet.

‘Since the company’s very beginning 34 years ago, Ben & Jerry’s has been an advocate for equal rights regardless of sexual orientation simply because it’s the right thing to do,

‘We will continue to campaign to raise awareness of the importance of marriage equality, and to encourage the UK government to follow through on its promise to legalise same-sex marriage’

John Stewart – Chief Executive at Manchester Pride said:

‘Jackie worked hard over many years to establish Manchester Pride as the UK’s leading pride event and we are very proud that Jackie has been nominated, we wish her every success in the category.’

Tim Franks – former CEO of Pace, who retired this September, said that he was ‘absolutely delighted’ and it was ‘lovely and great to be recognised’ however remained ‘realistic’ about going ‘up against Ice Cream.’

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Mr Franks had been working in the LGB&T sector for over 20 years said that this was his first time nominated for the Stonewall award.

Bigot Nominations

The five nominees for Bigot of the Year include Cardinal Keith O’Brien, who has led a vitriolic campaign against equality in Scotland. Uganda’s Ethics and Integrity Minister, Simon Lokodo, is also nominated for his role in the repression of his country’s 2.1 million gay people.

Stonewall Deputy Chief Executive Laura Doughty said:

‘The Stonewall Awards are an opportunity to celebrate the often courageous individuals who have made a huge difference to millions of gay people at home, at school and at work. As ever, it’s humbling to see the selflessness with which so many people work for equality.’

One of the nominees Alan Craig spoke exclusively to TheGayUK saying:

‘The Bigot of the Year Award is a vicious name-calling Stonewall annual event that reflects more on the donor than the recipient. By attempting to bully, intimidate, humiliate and generate hatred of individuals through the Award, Stonewall fully justifies the Gaystapo tag which I gave the organisation and for which I have been nominated.

‘Nonetheless if I win the Award over the other candidates and if Stonewall are big enough to invite me and allow me without harassment to make a proper acceptance speech, I plan to attend the glittering Awards dinner at the V&A on 1st November.’

Tickets for the Stonewall Awards cost £155 plus VAT and are available online from www.stonewall.org.uk/awards.

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