Rikki Beadle-Blair MBE is the recipient of the Derek Jarman Gay Times Honour: Contribution to the Arts.

Actor, director, screenwriter, playwright, singer, designer, choreographer, dancer and songwriter, Rikki Beadle-Blair has produced a prodigious body of work that spans four decades. His fearlessness in tackling issues relevant to the LGBTQ community earned him an MBE in 2016.

Derek Jarman was a queer filmmaker, artist and author who, in his final years, remained a vociferous campaigner for gay rights.

Rikki was honoured at the National Portrait Gallery during the inaugural event on 18 November, introduced to the stage by Darren Kennedy.

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

“I never wanted to hide. I don’t think the world benefits from me hiding – they benefit from me being myself in the fullness of myself,” said Rikki.

“To be known as a black queer film-maker, as a black gay film-maker is just, to me, something I can be really proud of. It’s not something I want to run away from. It’s not something that diminishes me.

“You can add any of those things before film-maker or writer or whatever, and I grow from that.”

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