Stonewall awards, Gok Wan and me……..

gok smallWell – as predicted – I failed to win Politician of the Year at the Stonewall Awards last night. Ben Bradshaw (Labour Minister) won the accolade as the first openly gay Minister. I think, judging from the blurb in the program – that I was nominated because of my work both on the Equality Bill and my campaign to end the blanket ban on gay men giving blood donations. (It should be about behaviour – not discriminating against one group. A monogomous gay man is a lot safer than a rampant heterosexual).

Anyway – I don’t do many of these glittery evenings – but I have to say Stonewall threw a good party (sponsored by Barclays). You would not have known that there was a recession outside of the V & A. In the most beautiful of surroundings the champagne flowed, the stars were out in force and the canapes and the bowl food was of the highest order.

The awards themselves were hosted by Gok Wan, fashion guru, who I adore actually. And they were the point of the evening and both nominees and winners are people who have genuinely moved the agenda forward, been brave, stood up and contributed to the improvement in all walks of life for the gay community.

And – of course – for those who don’t know – I have been on ‘How to Look Good Naked’ a couple of times – thankfully (for all watching) with my clothes on – as I am joint campaigning with them to give girls ‘body confidence’ a fight back against the pressure of stick thin images and the loss of self confidence and self hate that is a consequence.

How to look good naked

Screenshot from How To Look Good NakedI have joined forces with Gok Wan and How to Look Good Naked. They contacted me before the summer recess to see if I would help with their campaign to give young people ‘body confidence’. Obviously this fitted in brilliantly with our Liberal Democrat campaign for Real Women.

We Liberal Democrats are campaigning for advertisers to have to label adverts to let readers know if and how much the photography in it has been retouched. With rocketing numbers of ever younger girls with eating disorders – we have said enough is enough. We are also campaigning for the lessons in school to contain issues like body confidence – so it obviously fitted in perfectly with what the campaigning program ‘How to look good naked’ is also doing to make women feel happy in their own skin. They have a young champion, Shona, who has a six minute slot in each program in which she takes her campaign forward particulary targeted on young women and their body image.

When I originally went into my office and one of my staff said that How to Look Good Naked had phoned – I was a bit concerned as to whether I would have to bare all for the campaign. Luckily for both you and me – this wasn’t necessary! According to the program – they approached all three parties but only the Liberal Democrats responded positively.

So – whilst I have explained to the program that campaigning and Parliamentary procedures are long-winded and demand perseverance that doesn’t fit neatly with the demands of TV – we are going to be pursuing the issue through both the program and through Parliamentary means too.

In terms of the program I have advised them to start with a No. 10 petition (as they need to garner support across the poltical spectrum and more importantly have a mandate from the people) and to encourage through the very popular program enough people to write to their own local MP – lobbying them to get involved and support the campaign.

Thank goodness I didn’t have to remove a stitch!

You can (for the moment) still catch the program online. I’m just over 30 minutes in.