The night marked Stonewall’s 25th anniversary, with speeches from presenter, broadcaster and writer Sue Perkins and journalist and Stonewall founder, Matthew Parris. Both emphasised that while there was much to celebrate, there was still much to do.
The Dinner also saw the launch of Stonewall’s No Bystanders campaign, with a 60 second film. The hard-hitting and powerful film demonstrates that, unchecked, the abusive language children learn in the playground stays with them into adulthood. It encourages people – including gay people – to check their own language, and pledge not to be a bystander whenever they hear it from others.
In support of the campaign Stonewall co-founder Sir Ian McKellen, who also lends his voice to the film, said: ‘Abuse ruins people’s lives. We all have a responsibility to take a stand and put a stop to it. By making sure that bullying is reported and prejudice is challenged, we can help ensure that every person in Britain lives free from fear of persecution and violence.’
Ruth Hunt, Stonewall’s Acting Chief Executive said: ‘This powerful film starkly shows how easily prejudice and bullying can escalate from playground teasing to grown-up violence. No one can afford to be a bystander to this bullying and that is why we are calling on people to make the pledge: hear it, stop it. ’
The No Bystanders film and pledge can be found at: www.nobystanders.org.uk