Euan Sutherland is the recipient of the Anthony Grey Gay Times Honour: Government and Policy.

At just 17, Euan Sutherland took the UK government to the European Court of Human Rights to challenge the age of consent laws and won.

Back in 1994, the age of consent for homosexual men was 21, compared to that of 16 for heterosexual couples.

After a lengthy legal battle, Euan was part of team who successfully had the age of consent for gay and bisexual men lowered to 16 in 2001.

Related: Recognise and reward: Introducing the Gay Times Honours 2017

“Being a queer person, growing up in the nineties in Britain, has shaped who I am, what I am and where I’m going,” said Euan.

“I would not be the same person as I am without having that queer identity.”

He added: “I didn’t predict how far this would go and how long it would take. I responded to a survey in Gay Times back in the early nineties and it lead to a number of wonderful things which lead to the equalising of the age of consent.”

Euan was honoured at the National Portrait Gallery during the inaugural Gay Times Honours ceremony on 18 November, introduced to the stage by Kaleidoscope Trust’s Simon Milson.

The Anthony Grey Gay Times Honour: Government and Policy is named after the gay rights activist whose influence, tenacity and energy had a direct impact on the everyday lives of homosexual men in England and Wales.

Grey was credited by Lord Arran, Conservative Whip, to have “done more than any single man to bring this social problem to the notice of the public”.

His enduring influence can be seen and felt in a great many milestones, including the repeal of Section 28 and equalising the age of consent.

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.

There’s much to be said about the enduring contributions of the individuals and organisations amplified by their inclusion in the Gay Times Honours, but celebrated queer writer and author Armistead Maupin perhaps sums it up best: ”The world changes in direct proportion to the number of people willing to be honest about their lives.

In a bid to highlight those who’ve paved the way for justice, visibility and equality, the nine Honours are named posthumously after LGBTQ trailblazers.

Created in close collaboration with Gay Times Curator, Gemma Rolls-Bentley, and the nine Honourees themselves, specially commissioned artworks were created to recognise and reflect on the contributions of the individuals, organisations and institutions being honoured.

We’d like to extend a special thank you to Gemma for the passion and enthusiasm she has brought to the Gay Times Honours.

The recipients of the Gay Times Honours 2017 were decided by an esteemed panel of educators, activists and creators who volunteered their time and who worked hard to ensure comprehensive representation of the LGBTQ experience across the shortlists and Honourees.

They included Simon Millson, Topher Campbell, Polly Shute, Dr. Seb Buckle, Jacqui Gavin, Jon Huggett, Simon Black, Philippa Drew CB, Ryan Butcher and James Frost.

The Gay Times Honours 2017 was hosted by Jinkx Monsoon an Freida Slaves to an invited LGBT+ audience.

More information on the Gay Times Honours can be found here