Gay rights hero Michael Cashman to publish memoir

British Labour Party politician Michael Cashman

Stonewall co-founder and former EastEnders star Michael Cashman has announced he is set to release a memoir.

The peer announced the release of One of Them, which will be released in 2020, reflecting on his extraordinary life.

Michael Cashman has had a distinguished career of fighting for LGBT equality spanning several decades.

Michael Cashman made history with gay kiss on EastEnders

He started out as an actor and is best known for appearing on EastEnders as Colin Russell, making TV history with the first- ever gay kiss in a British soap in 1987.

Michael Cashman as Colin Russell on EastEnders

Michael Cashman as Colin Russell (L) on EastEnders

The actor became a prominent campaigner against anti-gay law Section 28, and in 1989 he co-founded the gay rights group Stonewall, alongside Lisa Power and Sir Ian McKellen.

Dedicating himself to the fight for equality through Stonewall and the Labour Party, Lord Cashman was influential in shaping government policy on LGBT+ issues during the premiership of Tony Blair.

Michael Cashman and Ian McKellen on an early gay rights march

Michael Cashman and Ian McKellen on an early gay rights march

The campaigner was elected as a Member of the European Parliament for the West Midlands in 1999, leading cross-party efforts to tackle homophobia across the continent and serving as President of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBTI Rights.

Lord Cashman still champions LGBT+ rights in the House of Lords

After leaving the European Parliament in 2014, Cashman was appointed by Labour leader Ed Miliband to serve in the House of Lords, where he continues to champion LGBT+ issues.

Ahead of the 2015 election, Miliband pledged to make Lord Cashman the UK’s first ever special envoy on LGBT issues, recognising his decades of work.

The Labour leader also presented Cashman with a PinkNews Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2014, while his late partner Paul Cottingham was also recognised with a posthumous award.

Michael Cashman was honoured by Ed Miliband at the PinkNews Awards in 2014

Michael Cashman was honoured by Ed Miliband at the PinkNews Awards in 2014

Cashman has had a less close relationship with current Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, quitting his party role in 2016 after disagreements with Corbyn. The peer was ousted from the party’s conference arrangements committee in 2017 after opposition from the pro-Corbyn Momentum group.

The gay activist’s memoir will be published by Bloomsbury in spring 2020.

Alexandra Pringle of Bloomsbury said in a release to The Bookseller: “Michael Cashman has led many lives, all of them remarkable: as a beloved actor of stage and screen, as a playwright, an activist, and politician, he has lived both bravely left of field and firmly embedded in the heart of what makes our country liberal and good.

“But his book is remarkable for more reasons than that, for like its author it contains multitudes: glorious nostalgia, wickedly funny showbiz gossip, a stirring history of a civil rights movement, a sorrowfully clear-eyed exposition of Britain’s standing in Europe, and an unforgettable love story.”

“It is also one of the most moving accounts of how irrevocably grief changes us that I have ever read. I cannot wait for the world to fall in love with this book—and Michael—as we have.”

Cashman said: “To find someone who beautifully and instinctively understands what you feel and how are you are trying to convey it is a gift that most writers dream of. And so I have been given this amazing gift to work with Alexandra and the astounding team at Bloomsbury.”