Stonewall Grants Anti-Gays Awards on Being Year’s Most Outstanding Bigot

It’s award season again! Time to don your best tux, top hat and/or inappropriately shiny formalwear as you flop down on your couch to watch it on your MacBook. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will be hosting the Golden Globes, Katy Perry is picking one up from the Trevor Project and on the other side of the pond, the Stonewall Awards gave out their fair share of shiny accolades. The seventh annual event recognizes people and groups that have made an impact in the lives of LGBT people — for better or for worse. Much like other social justice awards, the charity bequeaths awards for Hero, Broadcast, Entertainer, Journalist, Politician, Publication, Sports Award, Writer and Community Group of the Year, but unlike other groups, they also christen someone as Bigot of the Year.

That’s right, Bigot of the Year! Although the award ceremony focuses on how far we’ve come and the people that have helped, the charity also acknowledges individuals that have “gone out of their way to harm, hurt or snub lesbian, gay and bisexual people in the last year.” Sadly it’s an award worth giving, since there are plenty of people trying to erase the progress our trailblazers have made.

In its sixth year, the award isn’t sitting too well with a number of groups. The Christian Concern took it upon themselves to advocate for the nominees, saying that the Stonewall Awards were unfairly targeting religious figures. They petitioned Stonewall’s sponsors, saying that the Bigot of the Year Award was hypocritical given that the charity condemns bullying.  The Catholic Church says Stonewall and other gay rights activists use the terms “bigot and homophobe relentlessly, in order to intimidate and vilify anyone who dares oppose their agenda.” Maybe it’s coincidence or maybe the campaign worked, but Barclay and Coutts threatened to pull their sponsorship if Stonewall hands out the award. Although both sponsors supported the ceremony (that included the award) for a number of years, now they’re worried about being associated with the B word. Mark McLane, Managing Director and Head of Global Diversity and Inclusion at Barclay says, “To label any individual so subjectively and pejoratively runs contrary to our view on fair treatment, and detracts from what should be a wholly positively focused event.”

Is it hypocritical to call out your bullies? Should Stonewall continue giving out the award? Do these individuals warrant such harsh, public criticism? Let’s let the nominees’ actions speak for themselves.

Alan Craig, leader of the Christian Peoples Alliance,  compared the gay rights movement to the political battles before the Nazis rose to power. He claimed anyone that was intolerant of his intolerance was part of the Gaystapo, a fascist group set on destroying traditional marriage.

Via the Guardian

Cultural domination is their aim and fascist-type intolerance of politically-incorrect dissent is their weapon. The eradication of marriage as “the life-long union between a man and a woman” is a huge next step along their way.

Cometh the hour, cometh the man or woman. Who will stand up and publicly confront this new domination and intolerance? In 1938 it was perfectly reasonable to like the German people but hate Nazi ambitions and ideology. Today it is perfectly reasonable to warmly engage with your gay neighbours while at the same time forcefully confronting the vaulting ambitions of gay leaders and their atheist and humanist fellow-travellers.

Simon Lokodo, Uganda’s Ethics and Integrity Minister, accused NGOs of promoting a homosexual agenda and subsequently arrested some members and banned the organizations.

I have established beyond reasonable doubt that the 38 NGOs, if not even more, exist not for humanitarian reasons but to destroy the traditions and culture of this country by promoting homosexuality. We found that, on the pretext of humanitarian concerns, these organisations are being used to promote negative cultures. They are encouraging homosexuality as if it is the best form of sexual behaviour.

Lord Maginnis, an ex-Ulster Unionist Party member, appeared as a guest on the Nolan Show saying he would never dictate how another person ran their life, yet proceeded to demean homosexuals calling them sexual deviants and professing that they are not equal to their heterosexual neighbours. He compared homosexuality to an illness and urged queer teens to get psychiatric help.

Does that mean that every deviant sexual practice has to be accommodated? Will the next thing be that we legislate for some sort of bestiality?

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia callously blamed MP David Cairns’ death on his sexuality.

The late David Cairns and Archbishop Tartaglia via BBC

If what I have heard is true about the relationship between physical and mental health of gay men, if it is true, then society has been very quiet about it. Recently in Scotland there was a gay Catholic MP who died at the age of 44 or so and nobody said anything and why his body should just shut down at that age, obviously he could have had a disease which would have killed anyone, but you seem to hear so many stories about this kind of thing.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, called Scotland’s movement towards marriage equality a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right.” He outlined the “dangers” that lay ahead if gay marriage were legalized and created the National Commission for Marriage and the Family to campaign against marriage equality.

Same-sex marriage would eliminate entirely in law the basic idea of a mother and a father for every child. It would create a society which deliberately chooses to deprive a child of either a mother or a father.

Other dangers exist. If marriage can be redefined so that it no longer means a man and a woman but two men or two women, why stop there? Why not allow three men or a woman and two men to constitute a marriage, if they pledge their fidelity to one another?

In my opinion, these men deserve more than a simple nomination. When is it ever appropriate to compare someone to the Nazis or blame someone’s death on a characteristic unrelated to their health? If the tables had been turned and these illogical, unproven arguments had been used against religious or political groups, the commenters would be harangued. Instead Barclay and Coutts would prefer if Stonewall zipped their traps and pretended everything was hunky dory. The Bigot of the Year identifies people for their repeated prejudiced actions against the entire LGBT community, not simple petty remarks. These nominees have proven time and time again that these are their firm opinions and they want to indoctrinate their audience with the same hate.

The Christian Concern claimed that the nominees weren’t given a fair chance to defend themselves against these accusations. Given that all of these people gained their notoriety because of their social standing and media presence, any of them could have apologized or explained their misinterpreted actions. But they didn’t, and in fact some spoke to the media, proving they deserved their nomination.

By attempting to bully, intimidate, humiliate and generate hatred of individuals through the award, Stonewall fully justifies the Gaystapo tag which I gave the organisation and for which apparently I have been nominated. Nonetheless if I win the award over the other candidates and if Stonewall invite me, and permit me without harassment to offer a proper acceptance speech, I plan to attend their awards dinner and ceremony. — Alan Craig

If people are truly doing things to hurt us, they deserve to be held accountable. Critics of the award are arguing that the term “bigot” is too harsh and is nothing more than immature name-calling. If this really is an argument about semantics, the award can revert to Bully of the Year or something “less offensive” to the recipient. Call it petty, call it childish, call it bullying, but all we’re doing is returning the disrespect these people have shown us. We’re oppressed and silenced so often, why wouldn’t we use one of our only platforms to speak the truth? It’s disingenuous for sponsors to only support gay causes when they’re shiny and press-worthy. It’s fantastic that Ben and Jerry’s support of gay marriage or Jessie J is raising the profile of bisexuals on a global stage, but sadly that isn’t enough when it comes to equal rights. If they think the nominees’ actions aren’t worthy of criticism, they might be supporting the wrong charity. Part of making a difference and promoting change means you have to get your hands dirty and take an actual stand on an issue. Ben Summerskill, Stonewall’s chief executive replies to the criticism,

We have never called anyone a bigot just because they disagreed with us. All the nominees have gone well beyond what anyone normal would call a decent level of public discourse. We welcome sponsorship from anyone who shares our core values, but we have an obligation to the 3.6 million gay people to do what is right, and highlighting extreme examples of bigotry when we know how harmful this unpleasantness is to the self-esteem of young people is right.

Kudos to Stonewall for not backing down when awarding Cardinal O’Brien for his outstanding commitment to quashing same-sex marriage. I’m sure one of the voters knows a sponsor that supports your work.

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Hailing from Vancouver, Kristen's still trying to figure out how to survive Montreal's Real Legitimate Canadian Winter. So far she's discovered that warm socks, giant toques and Tabby kittens all play a role in her survival. Her ultimate goal is to rank higher than KStew in the "Kristen + Autostraddle" Google Search competition.

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26 Comments

  1. Thumb up 5

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    “If marriage can be redefined so that it no longer means a man and a woman but two men or two women, why stop there? Why not allow three men or a woman and two men to constitute a marriage, if they pledge their fidelity to one another?”

    UGH I hate that this is an automatic slippery slope argument, because I honestly see nothing wrong this! (as opposed to, say, the “bestiality!” slipperly slope argument, which is also a bullshit argument but I’d guess that very VERY few people think beastiality is a-ok)

    • Thumb up 4

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      That bigots are able to conflate being in a gay relationship (with a consenting, adult partner) with being in a relationship with a non-consenting partner (and by most definitions both children and animals would be considered ‘non-consenting’) is troubling.

      Personally, I don’t think there’s any difference between my reasons for being in a relationship and the reasons for straight people to be in a relationship. The only discernible difference is that I would want to be with someone of the same gender. Unfortunately other people don’t see it that way.

    • Thumb up 11

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      This.

      Of course, to any sensible person, same-sex relationships are not somehow inherently linked to polyamorous ones. But really, why are either of these things issues? He acknowledges that everyone involved in his horrible immoral hypothetical is a consenting adult. So why NOT allow it?

      It’s patently ridiculous that people fall in line based on these “threats” to their “traditional” lifestyles. It’d be funny if it weren’t so pathetic.

  2. Thumb up 2

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    Insulting, demeaning, obnoxious remarks (or, in most of these cases, a lifetime of such remarks) are not saved from being stupid, wrong, and bigotry because they are religious beliefs. Religion is evidence to the fact that people are capable of believing anything at all–no matter how idiotic and malicious. Worse, of course, is the insistence that their silly ideas have to be imposed, by law, on everybody else. They invent and spread around the ugliest lies about people they disagree with, and then demand to be respected for it. Still, this is better than the old days; modern secular govenments do not permit the Roman church its tradtional responses to difference: torture and mass murder.

  3. Thumb up 2

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    Living in Northern Ireland, I got to see the whole Lord Maginnis story unfold as it was happening, and the amount of people I saw defending him was absolutely sickening. Sometimes it amazes me how backwards people can be, not just here, but globally…

  4. Thumb up 7

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    The Stonewall Awards are on my “awards non grata” list. Back in 2008, they nominated Julie Bindel, a well known uber transphobe, as ‘journalist of the year’ and then threw a bunch of attitude back at members of the UK trans community when they protested at the awards. This organization has lost a lot of cred among the more progressive elements of the British queer community.

    • Thumb up 1

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      Unfortunately, as described, ‘…acknowledges individuals that have “gone out of their way to harm, hurt or snub lesbian, gay and bisexual people in the last year.”‘

      Woot, people of diverse sex and gender conveniently forgotten about, yet again. (Not sure about you but I am completely not surprised.) I seem to recall trans people having more involvement in the Stonewall riots than to just be forgotten like that…

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      Can we have a “transphobe of the last three decades” award? I can think of a few nominees: Bindel (obvs), Keith Ablow, Janice Raymond, Queerty commenters as an aggregate…

      My personal choice would be Germaine Greer, though. Frothing hatred (“ghastly parodies”–nice), ridiculous counterfactual assumptions (“No so-called sex-change has ever begged for a uterus-and-ovaries transplant; if uterus-and-ovaries transplants were made mandatory for wannabe women they would disappear overnight.”), and outing trans women.

  5. Thumb up 10

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    “[G]one out of their way to harm, hurt or snub lesbian, gay and bisexual people in the last year.”

    Hmmm, aren’t you forgetting someone?

    *checks their website*

    Nope, turns out Stonewall is a UK-based organization that while stealing the name of the riots STARTED BY TRANS WOMEN(!), don’t include transgender people in their mission statement.

    Maybe they should be receiving bigot awards instead of handling them out?

  6. Thumb up 7

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    When did bullying become such a buzzword? Bullying is “the use of force or coercion to abuse or intimidate others” (from Wikipedia). Acknowledging someone’s asshat behaviour isn’t bullying, it’s acknowledging someone’s asshat behoviour.

  7. Thumb up 7

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    Goddammit, this is as dumb as the time nick clegg was forced to give an apology for calling the same people bigots, because being correct by a dictionary definition is just plain wrong guys. blargh. *giant squid of anger*

  8. Thumb up 12

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    “Why not allow three men or a woman and two men to constitute a marriage, if they pledge their fidelity to one another?”

    Excellent idea, Cardinal! Why NOT allow loving and consenting adults to form relationships however they damn well please.

  9. Thumb up 9

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    C’mon bigots! Love is not a finite resource! It’s not like every time a gay marriage happens it means there’s one less straight marriage that can happen! The love that gay people feel for their children and families will not mean that there is less love available for straight people!

    Also, maybe it’s just poor time management on my part, but when exactly am I supposed to have all of this free time to participate in the ‘homosexual agenda’? I barely have time for brunch, let alone participation in the downfall of society.

  10. Thumb up 4

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    They don’t like being called “bigot” because they know it’s a factually accurate description. And therefore it’s a highly effective term to use against them. It suits their agenda if people indulge them in the pretense that it’s perfectly reasonable to deny gay people civil rights. Nobody should back off using it.

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    I’m going to make a contentious point and say that I don’t think an award for bigotry is a good idea. These people are dangerous lunatics in my mind considering their positions of power, and I could go off on one about the power and influence the church still has in government.

    However I don’t think using negative language helps because it is more likely to make these people convinced they are right. It’s not changing anything drawing more lines in the battleground in fact they probably feel vindicated for it. Just my opinion please don’t lynch me for it.

  12. Thumb up 1

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    I get so angry about the Philip Tartaglia thing, because he knew *perfectly well* that David Cairns (an ex-priest) died of pancreatic cancer and not AIDS, as he insinuated. In fact, Tartaglia was one of the officiants at Cairns’ funeral.

    I just can’t imagine how awful David Cairns’ partner and family must feel, knowing that this hate-filled man officiated at his funeral. It would certainly ruin the memory of the day for me, even if he managed to keep his bigotry entirely under wraps for that day.

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