Michael Cashman has been named in the New Year’s Honours List as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), for his tireless fight for equality,
“This announcement is as big a surprise at it is an honour”, he commented
“I have had an amazing life where I have been able to stand up for the values and principles which I believe in and to effect real change for my life and the lives of others. Not a day goes by when I don’t recognise how lucky and fortunate I have been in my life.”, he continued.
“Whilst we have achieved so much in terms of legal equality for LGBT people in the UK we still have so much more to do. Discrimination still exists and it destroys and blights so many lives. In other parts of the world people are imprisoned, criminalised or face capital punishment simply because they are different. On behalf of all those people I proudly accept this honour and commit to continue the fight for equality”, he concluded.
From participating in the first gay kiss in a British Soap Opera on EastEnders to becoming the founding Chair of the Stonewall Group in the UK which put forward the case for equality for LGBT people on the mainstream political agenda in 1989, and to being the outgoing Chair of the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party, Cashman has been an active campaigner across a wide range of issues and is a trenchant critic of any form of discrimination, a defender of human rights and has worked to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Cashman has been a Labour Member of the European Parliament for the West Midlands for the last 15 years. In this capacity, he is co-presiding the Intergroup for LGBT Rights and is continuously campaigning for inclusive legislation, horizontal non-discrimination frameworks and a more transparent and democratic decision-making process within the EU and beyond. For his work, he was 2 times awarded the title of MEP of the year (2007 and 2012) and received the European Diversity Lifetime Achievement Award (2012).