Ed Firth / Gay Times

Sir Ian McKellen has been named as the recipient of the Gay Times Honour for Lifetime Achievement.

The iconic British actor and activist was honoured during a lavish ceremony at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool this evening, acknowledging his decades-long dedication to LGBTQ visibility in the arts, as well as his continued commitment to LGBTQ activism on a global level.

Since coming out in 1988, Sir Ian McKellen has become a pioneer of the queer movement that helped see the removal of criminal laws and discriminatory societal attitudes.

A prominent actor, public figure and continuing activist, he was knighted in the 1991 New Year Honours for services to the performing arts.

Awarded the Freedom of the City of London in October 2014, the soon-to-be 80 year old has helped shape the lives of millions of queer people today.

“When I finally made it out of my half-open closet 30 years ago, Gay Times generously put me on its front cover,” Sir Ian said of his win.

“That’s when it really hit me that I’d joined the human race, confident at last to be myself, whatever anyone else thought of me and my kind. I’m very happy to get this honour.”

Ed Firth / Gay Times

The Gay Times Honours recognise those who have had a tremendous impact on what it means for us to live openly and freely as LGBTQ people in modern Britain.

The 13 Honourees will each receive a specially commissioned piece of artwork created by Ed Firth, which will form a 14-day exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery.

Gay Times Honours 2018 was hosted by Mary Mac to an invited LGBTQ audience.

Arup – the engineering and design company – is one of our major sponsors, reaffirming their commitment to the LGBTQ community.

They are joined by banking and asset management group Investec, apprenticeship and pre-employment course providers Training Strategies, and furniture and home decoration company dwell as key supporters of Gay Times Honours 2018.

Virgin Trains is our official travel partner, who rolled out the red carpet at London Euston for a very special Gay Times Honours Express service to Liverpool.

Barclays are our banking partner, following their support for Liverpool Pride earlier this year.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson backed the Gay Times Honours, reaffirming their city’s support for the LGBTQ community. What’s more, the event has also been supported by Knowsley Council.

Leading hotelier Signature Living Group is our hospitality partner and hosted the official Gay Times Honours afterparty at a Grade II listed building located at the Pier Head at world-famous Albert Dock UNESCO World Heritage site.