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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 3 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 01
Queen honors Gay men
Section One
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Queen honors Gay men

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Several prominent LGBT Brits were named in Queen Elizabeth's annual New Year's Honors List.

The list names individuals to orders of chivalry, including, but not necessarily, knighthoods, and is intended to recognize special achievements and service to the country or the Royal Family. While the honors are awarded in the name of the reigning monarch, in this case the Queen, the list is usually compiled by the Prime Minister.

At the head of the list is openly Gay Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, the Master of the Queen's Music, or official composer for the monarch.

He was named a Companion of Honor, an order for outstanding achievements in the arts, literature, music, science, politics, industry or religion. An exclusive award, there are only 40 other Companions in existence.

Davies' appointment in 2004 was controversial, because of his active opposition to Britain's participation in the Iraq war. Although he has described himself as an 'old fashioned socialist,' and a republican, he said that after working closely with the Queen he found her to be a 'marvelous person' and a 'great role model.'

Davies is battling leukemia and will retire in 2014.

Gay nightclub owner Basil Newby was named a Member of the British Empire for his achievements in business and his service to Britain's LGBT community.

Newby started out as a busboy in the early 1970s, before opening his hometown's first Gay nightclub, The Flamingo, in 1979. The Flamingo building was demolished in 2007. He launched the cabaret show bar Funny Girls in 1994, described as a 'Broadway musical meets rock concert meets Lily Savage.'

He currently runs several LGBT venues in Blackpool, a resort town in Lancashire.

'I kind of feel like this is for Blackpool as well as for me because I'm a Sandgrownun [native of Blackpool, in local dialect]. I was born and bred in Blackpool,' Newby told BBC News.

'The businesses I've been [running] now for 35 years and it's just lovely after all that time that something that is part of Blackpool gets recognition.'

Openly Gay producer Michael Codron was also honored with a knighthood for his services to theatre. The 83-year-old producer is well known for popularizing the work of Harold Pinter, David Hare, and Tom Stoppard.

Another openly Gay personality, Sandi Toksvig, was created a Commander of the British Empire for his work as a TV and radio presenter, comic, and writer.

Conservative members of Parliament Peter Luff and Richard Ottoway, while straight, voted for the government's marriage equality bill, as did Labor Party member Kevin Baron. All three were honored on the list for their parliamentary service.

The 2014 list is also notable for being 51% women, the first time women honorees have ever outnumbered men. Among the illustrious women on the list are actresses Angela Lansbury and Penelope Keith, who both received knighthoods and the title 'Dame.'

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