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Tony Blair 'proud' to scoop gay icon accolade

By Anthony Barnes

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has been recognised as one of the top gay icons of the past three decades, with figures such as Boy George, Sir Ian McKellen and Barbra Streisand.

He has been given the accolade by Gay Times to mark its 30th anniversary and has been featured as a cover star for an electronic version of the magazine.

Mr Blair's period as PM saw the lowering of the homosexual age of consent, bringing it into line with that for straight couples, as well as the introduction of civil partnerships. Gay Times said Mr Blair's "status as an ambassador of gay rights is undeniable".

"An equal age of consent, the abolition of Section 28, legal recognition for trans people, civil partnerships, banning employers from sacking you because of who you love and making homophobia a hate crime – they were all on Blair's watch."

Responding to his "gay icon" title, he said: "It's something I'm very proud of. I consider it a significant part of my legacy.

"It created a very ugly atmosphere in society – as I was growing up in politics, I disliked the hypocrisy where people had to conceal their own identity. And I saw the pain they had in their own lives, because they couldn't be who they were."

Editor Darren Scott said: "Wherever you stand politically, you'd be hard pushed to deny what Tony Blair and his government did for the LGBT community."

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