Popstar Jessie J and the founders of Ben & Jerry’s are amongst those nominated for the ‘Hero of the Year’ award by Stonewall.
The organisation highlighted Jessie J, real name Jessica Cornish, for her head-on tackling of tabloid rumours over her sexuality, and for serving as a role model for bisexual Brits.
The organisation also gave a nod to Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, who founded ice cream giant Ben & Jerry’s in 1978. The pair have received acclaim for their unwavering support of gay rights. In March the company renamed their ‘Oh! My! Apple Pie!’ flavour ‘Apple-y Ever After’ in support of the government’s proposals to allow same-sex marriage. They also produced a special edition tub for the then Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone, named ‘Lynne Honeycomb’.
Former Manchester Pride Director Jackie Crozier, is also nominated for his years of charitable work.
In contrast, the leader of Scotland’s Catholics, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, has been nominated for Stonewall’s ‘Bigot of the Year’. The Edinburgh Archbishop, who previously claimed LGBT people to be ‘captives of sexual aberrations’, has been heading up Scotland’s anti-marriage equality lobby in the face of a consultation on reforming the law.
He has previously compared marriage equality to slavery and called such unions a ‘dangerous experiment’.
Other nominations for the infamous title include Uganda’s Ethics and Integrity Minister, Simon Lokodo. A former Catholic Prest himself, Lokodo supported a bill which would have made Ugandan’s found guilty of ‘aggravated homosexuality’ face the death penalty. More recently he pressed for 38 non-governmental organisations, (NGOs) accused of ‘promoting’ homosexuality, to be banned from Uganda.
Their names have been put forward as part of a shortlist of five, which will be voted on by an independent judging panel and Stonewall supporters for the charity’s annual awards this November. O’Brien and Lokodo are not expected to attend.
Previous recipients of the title include the Secretary of State for Justice, Chris Grayling, and ex-radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles who was named ‘Bully of the Year’ in 2006.
Laura Doughty, Stonewall Deputy Chief Executive 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.’
Other awards to be announced include Politician of the Year, Journalist of the Year and Broadcaster of the Year. Winners will be announced at the seventh annual ceremony to be hosted in the V&A Museum on November 1, 2012.