On Tuesday evening the Independent on Sunday hosted a reception to celebrate the Rainbow List 2014 at Grange St Paul’s Hotel in the shadow of St Paul’s Cathedral. The Rainbow List celebrates lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who make a real difference. The six judges reduced the list of 4,390 heartfelt nominations to 101 brilliant people (in the words of the IoS).
There are four Anglicans on the Rainbow list this year together with a fifth on the Ones to Watch list and a sixth on the Straight Allies list.
At number 3 on the Rainbow list, appearing for the first time this year, is Vicky Beeching. Vicky is a prominent member of the UK and US religious community, a religious commentator and musician. Her coming out in August made huge waves in the church, gaining her huge support as well as rejection from many conservatives who had been, until then, some of her most enthusiastic fans.
Moving up from 95 to 29 is the Revd Richard Coles, broadcaster, musician and now Anglican parish priest, former member of the Communards, followed by 678,000 on Twitter. Richard’s autobiography, Fathomless Riches: Or How I went From Pop to Pulpit has recently been published.
Not far behind Richard is Kelvin Holdsworth, the Provost of St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow, who moves up from 85. Kelvin first appeared on the list for his support for equal marriage. He appears again thanks to his emphatic blogging about homophobic behaviour in the church and the media. More recently he has declared himself in favour of outing those clergy “who use their authority to inhibit the lives of those gay people in their care”.
A new entry at 91 is the writer of this blog, the Founder of Changing Attitude England, “the spearhead of an organisation that promotes full inclusion and equality of LGBTI people in the Anglican Communion. He diplomatically confronts bishops from the Church of England over their stance on women and LGBTIQ as bishops in the future”.
On the Straight Allies list is Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham, who is making regular appearances at gay events these days. He is recognised for being one of the most vocal supporters of equal marriage in the Church of England.
Canon Jeremy Pemberton, one of the two known-to-be-married gay priests in the Church of England is on the Ones to Watch list.
Patrick Strudwick, the journalist who has set up the Stop Gay Conversion Therapy Task Force, is on the list at number 11, Chris Bryant, the Shadow Minister for welfare reform and a former Anglican priest, is at number 49 and Bisi Alimi, a good friend, the first Nigerian to come out on Nigeria television and now a key member of Kaleidoscope Trust, blogger, and university lecturer in Berlin is at number 80.
I met a number of other key people at the reception, notably Andrew Foreshew-Cain, husband of Stephen and the first Anglican Vicar to marry. I congratulated Peter Tatchell on his recent article about . It was a pleasure to catch up with Jim from Gay’s the Word bookshop and with Matth Cain whom I last met at a 10 Downing Street reception. He is now writing novels having risen to fame as Channel 4’s first Culture Editor.