Belfast Telegraph

Irish backing for gay marriage named best moment by Attitude awards

The moment people in Ireland voted Yes to gay marriage has been named the greatest of the year at the Attitude awards.

Sir Ian McKellen, Boy George and Saturdays star Frankie Bridge were among those who attended the ceremony at Banqueting House in London.

Winners included One Direction's Liam Payne, who was named Sexiest Man of the Year, while late fashion designer Alexander McQueen won the Legend award.

Payne, who did not attend the ceremony, said in an interview with Attitude magazine last month that he finds it "strange" that some countries have not made gay marriage legal.

Voters in Ireland made history in May by becoming the first country in the world to legalise gay marriage by popular vote.

Other winners at Wednesday evening's ceremony were Newsnight host Evan Davis, named Man of the Year, television host Lorraine Kelly, who was named Honorary Gay, and SNP MP Mhairi Black was was named Politician of the Year.

The magazine is celebrating the awards with eight special covers featuring winners, and exclusive interviews.

Liverpudlian April Ashley, one of Britain's first transsexual women to have gender reassignment surgery, shared the Icon Award for Outstanding Achievement with Yoko Ono and Holly Johnson.

Magazine editor Matthew Todd said: "We're absolutely delighted to recognise such a wide variety of winners, all of whom have shaped the world of our readers, both gay and straight, trans and cisgendered. We're delighted to honour the legendary April Ashley MBE with an Icon Award.

"She is a woman who was living in truth and dignity long before the growing understanding of trans people's needs that we have finally begun to see. It's an honour for us to be able to celebrate her with this award and a special cover."

The special editions are available in-store and online.

Boy George, a former winner who has previously appeared on the cover, praised the magazine for its "in-depth" coverage and said he was delighted to be presenting an icon award.

The newly installed Voice coach said he is really looking forward to being part of the BBC One talent show this year, with his team of "great singers".

He added that he has been reassured speculation over the programme's future is not true.

"As I've only just joined this one I would be pretty disappointed (if it was axed). I'm hearing it from reliable sources that it's just not true.

"I'm really happy to have the gig, it's a great gig, a great show. I think the show has great integrity. You're listening to people's voices and you're judging them on the way they sound, which is quite unique."

Also at the awards was former X Factor contestant Fleur East, who revealed she considered quitting the ITV singing show just before the arena stage because of the pressure.

Tom Bleasby, one of the contestants on this year's programme, announced that he was pulling out despite securing a place in judge Nick Grimshaw's final six boys category.

East said she could empathise with him.

"When I went through the experience myself I contemplated pulling out of the competition before the arena stage because I think, once you get into the whole system, it is quite scary and you realise you're getting into something quite big. And I think maybe he just realised that he wasn't prepared, because it is a tough gig, it's major."

Explaining his decision to quit, Bleasby said: "It was a tough decision, I think I really discovered it at the six-chair challenge. I just don't know if I felt vocally ready to take on the competition and the pressure."

Don't remember what I said, but Phillip videoed me accepting an Attitude Award on behalf of the people of Ireland for voting YES on May 22nd. I was honored and privileged to do it.

Posted by Panti Bliss / Pantibar on Wednesday, 14 October 2015


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