Sunday, November 11, 2007

Stonewall Hero of the Year: Antony Grey

The Second Stonewall Awards ceremony, hosted by TV presenter Anthony Crank, took place at London’s V&A Museum on 1st November before an audience of 400 people. The event celebrated the positive contributions made by individuals and organisations – both gay and straight – to the lives of gay people in Britain in 2007.

Antony Grey, former Secretary of the Homosexual Law Reform Society, who spearheaded the campaign which resulted in the first partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967 received an award as Hero of the Year. The winners were selected by a panel of judges including Clare Balding, Matt Lucas, Nicky Campbell and Paul Gambaccini. Three awards – for Hero, Bully and Community Group of the Year - were voted for by 6,000 Stonewall supporters from across Britain.

In his acceptance speech, Antony Grey – who received two standing ovations – said that the significant thing about the award was not winning it, but being honoured by the nomination, and he thanked all concerned on behalf of himself and his co-nominees.

One of these, Lisa Power, the policy director of the AIDS charity Terrence Higgins Trust, had said that “history is for interfering in”, and he preferred to think of himself as a modest interferer in history rather than as a hero.

He recalled that during one of the law reform debates of the 1960s, Viscount Montgomery, the Victor of Alamein, had tabled an amendment proposing that the age of consent should be 80, on the ground that by that age, it didn’t really matter what you did. “Well”, Antony said amid laughter, “ I am delighted to say that I recently had my 80th birthday, so that I would now be ‘legal’ even under Lord Montgomery’s proposed law, and it still matters very much indeed to me what I do!”

“The road to homosexual emancipation which I and a few others embarked upon following the Wolfenden Report has been a long and arduous one. But now here we are, and we can be thankful for what has been achieved. At least, we are able to celebrate our identities in this magnificent building, instead of being thrown off the top of it for being who we are – as some of our enemies would like to happen. But the price of liberty is eternal vigilance, and ours is a never-ending struggle not just for our own rights, but for human rights. Stonewall is at the cutting edge of this ongoing fight, and I urge you all to give it your unstinted support.”

Stonewall awards.

Although in bad health, Anthony Grey still finds the time and energy to have his own blogs:
anticant's arena
anticant's burrow

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