Stonewall nominates gay heroes and villains

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Radio1 DJ Chris Moyles and former Muslim Council of Britain leader Sir Iqbal Sacranie will fight it out for Bully of the Year after being nominated for a Stonewall Award today.

Nominees were announced this afternoon for the 2006 ceremony which includes awards recognising the contribution to the gay community of politicians, entertainers and employers as well as bullies and heroes.

The Bully of the Year shortlist includes Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles for repeatedly and deliberately using the word ‘gay’ in a derogatory manner, Sir Iqbal Sacranie, former head of the Muslim Council of Britain, after he used a BBC Radio 4 broadcast to link lesbian and gay people with ‘illness and disease’ and Lowri Turner, a TV presenter and journalist, after using her newspaper column to claim gay people are not fit for public office.

The Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O?Connor also gets a mention after he sacked his press officer because he was gay and was then obliged to pay £20,000 compensation for breaking the law.

Hero of the Year nominees include Adnan Ali, openly gay Muslim and founder of Al Fatiha group for LGB Muslims, Maureen Chadwick, co-founder of shed Productions, who continue to produce gay-friendly TV such as Bad Girls and Waterloo Road and Sheri Dobrowski, the mother of Jody Dobrowski, who spoke out against homophobia after her son’s killers were sentenced to 28 years earlier this year. has been nominated for Publication of the Year along with lesbian magazine Diva, The Economist, Guardian Unlimited, and The Independent.

Television presenter Paul O’ Grady and actor John Barrowman are among those shortlisted for ‘Entertainer of the Year’ in this year’s awards which are sponsored by Barclays Bank.

Alan Bennett, Sarah Waters and Whitbread Novel Award winner Ali Smith are among those shortlisted as ‘Writer of the Year’.

Labour Peer Waheed Alli, Constitutional Affairs Minister Baroness Ashton and Conservative Party Vice-Chairman Margot James are among those nominated as Politician of the Year.

Ms James told “I am honoured to be recognised by Stonewall, an organisation for whom I have the greatest respect.”

Channel 4 has been nominated in the Broadcaster category in a year which has seen groundbreaking documentaries such as Gay Muslims and dramas such as Sugar Rush.

Jon Snow, presenter of Channel 4 News told “It’s a great accolade but I think that if any of us are honest we still have a long way to go. There’s still a lot a prejudice even in a channel like ours”

Meanwhile BBC series The Line of Beauty and Waterloo Road both get a mention.

Winners from six categories will be chosen by judges including actor Simon Callow, author Stella Duffy, entertainer Amy Lamé and Lt Cdr Craig Jones of the Royal Navy.

Thousands of Stonewall supporters across Britain are voting for the winners in three other categories – ­’Hero of the Year’, ‘Bully of the Year’ and the ‘Stonewall Barclays Community Group of the Year’. The successful Community Group will receive a cheque for £5,000.

The winner will be announced at the Royal Academy of Arts on 2 November 2006, hosted by actor Sir Ian McKellen.