One of the glitziest dates in the gay calendar is the annual Stonewall Equality Dinner. This year’s event took place last Thursday (29 March 2012) at London’s Dorchester Hotel, and it proved to be another huge success. The event was attened by 500 guests, including celebrities, supporters, politicians and all of London’s mayoral candidates. The event raised a record-breaking £393,000 to support Stonewall’s Education for All campaign tackling homophobic bullying in schools. During the event it was announced that Aviva has just signed a new sponsorship agreement to support the Equality Dinner and Stonewall’s work for a further three years from 2013-2015 in the sum of £250,000.
Hosted by Stella Duffy, the Dinner included a live auction led by Christopher Biggins. Guests included Dr Christian Jessen, Val McDermid, Charlie Condou, Harry Derbidge, House of Commons Speaker John Bercow, Lord Alli and MPs Lynne Featherstone, Angela Eagle and Margot James. Munroe Bergdorf played a DJ set at the end of the night.
Given that this is the year of the London Olympics, Clare Balding (pictured here with partner Alice Arnold and Home Office minister Lord Henley) gave an emotional keynote speech about sport, saying: “If we convince coaches that the sporting world will be improved if people can be out and comfortable, that will translate across to performance. Each of us makes a little personal triumph every time we persuade someone that I can still do my job, I can still have fun and be everything you want me to be, and I’m gay. Not “but I’m gay” but “and I’m gay”.”
Auction lots included meet-and-greet experiences with Elton John and opera star Renée Fleming, dinner dates with Ian McKellen and Ben Cohen, VIP tickets to the MTV Europe Music Awards and a unique Maggi Hambling painting.