Political and personal friends will gather to pay tribute to Michael Cashman for a lifetime of commitment to LGBT rights as he retires from the European Parliament after 15 years as a Labour MEP.
The event will be hosted by long-term friends and fellow campaigners Lisa Power and Simon Fanshawe who founded Stonewall alongside Micahael Cashman.
Tom Burke, Co-chair LGBT Labour, said:
“It's time to say #ThanksMichael on behalf of all those who have benefited from his commitment to LGBT equality and human rights around the world. That’s why LGBT Labour is delighted to be hosting this event for Michael Cashman.”
Simon Fanshawe, co-founder of Stonewall, Labour activist, broadcaster and diversity expert, said of Michael:
"Michael has always been an advocate. Whether in East Enders, as Chair of Stonewall, as an MEP or Chair of Labour’s NEC and he does it with a certain style and a definite twinkle of the eye.
“I have argued with him, fallen in and out with him. But we have remained friends because he always sees those who are committed to the same cause as allies in life as well as politics. He gives good fun, good leadership and takes good sides and it's a privilege to know him."
Lisa Power spent 14 years with LLGS (Switchboard), 17 years with Terrence Higgins Trust and worked with Michael, Simon and others to set up Stonewall. She has been an admirer of Michael's achievements and his style ever since, saying:
“Although Michael was a TV soap star when I first met him, he has always been an activist in my eyes, never too grand whether as an actor or a politician to get stuck in and personally confront injustice.
“He's an inspiration not just to me but to many others - to follow your dreams, to stand up for justice, to expect the same rights for all. He was key to the founding of Stonewall and our first Chair, driving us forward when few outside our core expected we could achieve much. He is the embodiment of my personal motto – ‘history is for interfering with’.”
To buy tickets for the event please go to www.lgbtlabour.org.uk/thanksmichael
- An active member of the Labour Party since 1975.
- Michael first hit the headlines for being a participant in the first gay kiss in a British soap opera as Colin Russell in BBC TV's EastEnders.
- He was a founder of Stonewall, alongside Ian McKellen, Simon Fanshawe, Lisa Power and others, motivated in particular by the Tories’ Section 28 law.
- He was first elected to Labour’s National Executive Committee in 1998 and stood down recently after serving as Chair.
- He was first elected to the European Parliament for the West Midlands in 1999. He stood down at these last elections having served for 15 years.
- During his time in the European Parliament he has been a tireless campaigner for human rights and international development.
- Michael served as Co-President of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights.
- He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for public and political service.
- He registered a civil partnership with Paul Cottingham, his partner of over twenty years, in 2006.