Friday, 2 November 2007

Award for Anticant

Amid the architectural and artistic splendours of South Kensington’s Victoria and Albert Museum, Anticant’s public persona, Antony Grey, was last night acclaimed ‘Hero of the Year’ in Stonewall’s prestigious 2007 Awards ceremony held to celebrate the social progress and achievements of gay people.

Sponsored by Barclays Bank, the event was attended by several hundred guests who enjoyed a champagne reception followed by the awards ceremony hosted by TV presenter Anthony Crank in the Raphael Gallery.

The awards and winners [chosen by the votes of several thousand Stonewall supporters] were:

Publication of the Year – The Guardian.

Politician of the Year – Alan Johnson MP and Angela Eagle MP.

Writer of the Year – Val McDiarmid, for her novel Beneath the Bleeding.

Entertainer of the Year - Dan Gillespie-Sells, lead singer of The Feeling [most played band of 2006 on UK radio].

Sportsperson of the Year – Nigel Owens, international rugby referee.

Bigot of the Year – the Bishop of Hereford [who was not present to receive his award!].

Journalist of the Year – Philip Hensher.

Community Group of the Year – Gay Switchboard, who were presented with a £5,000 cheque by Barclays Bank.

Broadcaster of the Year – Channel 4’s Hollyoaks.

Hero of the Year – Antony Grey.

In his acceptance speech, Antony Grey – who, to his surprise, 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.

Fifty years ago, gay people were not merely criminalized; they were looked down upon as sick, degenerate perverts.

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.”

As this was the first occasion that Anticant has been out in the evening for more than two years, it has been quite an eventful week, with this rather special event following hard on the heels of a colonoscopy!


Jose said...

An extremely deserved award, Anticant.

Among your sentences I picked up:

“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."

Indeed, even at your 80 years, this is an obligation you still have, the more so after having been chosen among the best.

My heartfelt congratulations.

lavenderblue said...

Very,very proud of you ! x

Anonymous said...

Wonderful - I too am very proud of you, this is truly well deserved.

trousers said...

That was me by the way!

Ario said...

Wow. Congratulations, Mr Anticant. It sounds like it is more than utterly deserved.

Merkin said...

'Way to go', big man.

Earthpal said...

Congratulations Anticant.

Glad to see the Bishop of Hereford getting a much-deserved award there too.

Hope the colonoscopy went ok. Not a pleasant procedure.

tyger said...

Hi Anticant,

Been reading around the subject of one Mr. Antony Grey.

Wow. Quite a character. I must meet him one day.


anticant said...

He would like that very much, Aaron. Make it a date on your next visit to London.

Meanwhile, get hold of a copy of his book 'Quest for Justice'.

[This is turning into shameless self-puffery week!]

tyger said...

Well, I'm in London on Monday, but I'll have to check my schedule on the morning - I know I have an event in the evening.

anticant said...

Thanks, dear friends, for your kind and generous comments which are much appreciated.

This gives me the welcome opportunity to say how much I value all my regular and occasional visitors to my blogs. Your interest and interaction in what I write greatly enhances what has become, because of ill-health, a too meagre and cloistered social life. Long may our discussions - serious and frivolous - flourish!

pela68 said...

A little slow on the uptake. But heartily congratulations to you.

I'm convinced that the award was very well deserved (even though I have no idea what so ever what's it all about).

I'm prud to call you my friend!

anticant said...

Thanks, Pela. it was about my role in the 1960s as Secretary of the Homosexual Law Reform Society during its successful campaign to decriminalise male homosexual behaviour [which until 1967 was completely unlawful].

Richard W. Symonds said...

Returned home and only just received the news of your award...

AC, well done...truly well done.

"Rage, rage..."