Gay Men Fighting Aids (GMFA) is the recipient of the London Lighthouse Gay Times Honour: The Fight Against HIV/Aids.

GMFA (The Gay Men’s Health Charity) played, and continues to play, a vital role in the education and support of gay and bi men taking control of their sexual health while promoting the fullest expression of their sexuality.

London Lighthouse was an independent Aids hospice at the epicentre of the epidemic and was most notably supported and visited by Princess Diana.

GMFA was honoured at the National Portrait Gallery during the inaugural event on 18 November, introduced to the stage by Max Emerson.

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

“Like lots of gay men, I’ve gone through my own battles in my teenage years – nearly lost my life. I wanted to do something where I could make a difference,” said Ian Howley from GMFA.

“GMFA is a small charity but we punch hard and we do a lot of work for such a small team.”

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