PinkNews Awards 2018: Stonewall wins Lifetime Achievement Award

Stonewall has won the PinkNews Lifetime Achievement Award.

The LGBT+ charity was given the honour by former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who praised the organisation’s “unrelenting pressure and campaign against Section 28 and on lifting the ban on LGBT soldiers.”

Read more: The complete list of winners of the PinkNews Awards 2018

Blair said Stonewall, which was founded in 1989 by activists who fought to overturn Section 28, “was the physical drive and moral heart behind those successful steps being taken.”

Blair with PinkNews CEO Benjamin Cohen (Paul Grace)

Stonewall founder Lisa Power thanked all past and present members and staff of the charity, telling the audience: “It was 30 years ago yesterday that after a rather boozy lunch at Sir Ian McKellen’s house that some of the men wrote out a manifesto that said: ‘That’s it, we’ve had enough, we need to do something.'”

After the crowd applauded loudly, she added: “When we started it, we had no idea we would be here 30 years later. We had some dreams, but many people have helped us along the way. Thank you to everyone.”

She told everyone who has helped them that “you’ve created something unique in LGBT activism across this globe. It’s one of the strongest movements in any country.”

This year, the charity has repeatedly spoken out in favour of transgender equality, fighting back in the face of attempts by anti-trans groups to take over the narrative.

On Wednesday (October 17), the group joined PinkNews and around 100 other organisations in supporting the trans community in a full-page advert published in the UK free newspaper Metro.

Stonewall CEO Ruth Hunt (Stonewall/Twitter)

Last month, the charity released t-shirts bearing the slogans ‘Trans Women Are Women. Get Over It!’, ‘Trans Men Are Men. Get Over It!’, and ‘Some People Are Non-Binary. Get Over It!’ as part of a campaign urging people to take part in the public consultation on the reform of the Gender Recognition Act.

The relatively minor changes do not impact single-sex space provision or anti-discrimination laws, but anti-trans campaigners have vowed to oppose them and unleashed waves of hate against the charity.

The pro-trans t-shirts (Stonewall)

Nevertheless, Stonewall CEO Ruth Hunt criticised Pride in London in July after a group of lesbian, anti-trans protesters called Get The L Out ‘hijacked’ the parade and led it for much of the route.

And when a number of phallus-shaped stickers carrying the phrase “women don’t have penises” were found across London, including on Stonewall’s office building, the charity condemned the messages as “puerile and disgusting.”

A number of anti-trans stickers were photographed at various locations across London (sargesalute/Twitter)

Lord Smith of Finsbury, the first MP to come out as gay and the first gay member of a cabinet, won the award last year.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and Lib Dem leader Vince Cable were also present at the event at central London’s Church House, along with Celebrity Big Brother winner Shane Jenek, singer and PinkNews Award nominee Will Young and BBC broadcaster Victoria Derbyshire, among other stars.

Attendees saw awards handed out to the best campaigner, third sector organisation and politician of the year, as well as a Lifetime Achievement award.

The PinkNews Awards is supported by Lloyds Banking Group.