Hurrah. What more can I say? A much deserved award for Ms Phillips. The Annual Stonewall Awards took place at a swanky do held in the V&A. A Pie and Pea supper this wasn’t. In many ways, the event was perfect fuel for those who see Stonewall as a luvvie-orientated celebrity homosexual group which has become out of touch with the ‘grass-roots’. Whilst I’ve certainly been among those who have criticised Stonewall int he past, this Annual Awards ceremony is an important way of a) garnering publicity for the group – and the fund-raising that can follow, and b) a way of networking with the great and good. Influence comes from contacts and so drawing people in to this event and making them -and the event – visible is important. To do that, a nice (and expensive) venue is needed. A few glasses of wine or champagne are mandatory and so it creates the impression of begin aloof. It needn’t be. Stonewall has an obligation outside of these events to really engage with dissenting and diverse voices, explaining their own strategy and vision together with listening to the desires of those who are more likely to clean up at the V&A the morning after than attend a champagne bash the night before.
Stonewall is an amazing group that does some terrific work. It’s a sign of how important they remain that people are exercised about how and what they should influence when it comes to social and legal change.