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The Queen makes Britain’s gay poet laureate into a Dame

The Queen makes Britain’s gay poet laureate into a Dame

Britain’s first female Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, has been made a Dame in the Queen’s New Year’s Honors list. Duffy, aged 59, is a Scottish poet and playwright, and is openly gay.

She became Poet Laureate – an honorary position bestowed by the British monarch – in May 2009, since when she has penned poems to coincide with events of national significance.

Speaking of the honor, Duffy said: ‘I am delighted that the long tradition of the laureateship and poetry in general are part of these celebrations. We have many wonderful poets in this country and it is a privilege to represent them.’

A total of 1,164 people have been awarded honors by the Queen in her annual New Year honors – almost three-quarters of who have been awarded for work in their communities.

Among those receiving recognition this year are four LGBT rights campaigners. These include Jenny Broughton, the 80-year-old co-founder of Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (FFLAG), who received an MBE.

An MBE also went to Nigel George Warner, ILGA-Europe’s Council of Europe adviser, for his services to the international movement for lesbian and gay rights.

Dr Jay Stewart, co-founder of Gendered Intelligence, received an MBE for his service to the transgender community. Also receiving acknowledgement for services to the trans community was Jenny-Anne Bishop, who was awarded an OBE.

Famous names from the world of entertainment and arts to be honored include Joan Collins. The former Dynasty star has been made a Dame, alongside Oscar-nominated actor Kristin Scott Thomas. John Hurt, who played the part of Quentin Crisp in seminal 1970s drama, The Naked Civil Servant – among many other notable roles – has been knighted.

The Queen’s honors are awarded following nominations from members of the British public and government departments. A Cabinet Office committee then scrutinizes the nominations before an announcement is made each New Year’s Eve. Further honors are announced to coincide each year with the Queen’s birthday.