Former British PM Tony Blair named "gay icon" for promoting gay rights

LONDON - Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was named one of the top "gay icons" of the last thirty years on Friday in recognition of his work for gay rights.

Gay Times magazine awarded the politician the accolade in an edition marking the newspaper's 30th anniversary.

Blair, 61, won a landslide victory in a 1997 general election, and was the head of a left-leaning Labour Party government for the next decade.

His time in office saw the introduction of civil partnerships, the lowering of the homosexual age of consent to match that of straight couples, and the abolition of the "Section 28" law that banned authorities from "promoting homosexuality".

"His status as an ambassador of gay rights is undeniable," said Gay Times.

"Legal recognition for trans people, civil partnerships, banning employers from sacking you because of who you love and making homophobia a hate crime - they were all on Blair's watch."

Blair welcomed the "gay icon" title, saying he was proud of his work on gay rights, which he considers a part of his legacy.

"As I was growing up in politics, I disliked the hypocrisy where people had to conceal their own identity. And I saw the pain that they had in their own lives, because they couldn't be who they were," Blair said.