Community organisations and activists dedicated to fighting for LGBTI rights and equality were among a diverse mix of people and groups recognised at the Honour Awards, held last night in Sydney. Over 300 people came together at the Ivy Ballroom to celebrate equality advocates and unsung heroes, whose work have made a difference to the lives of LGBTI people in NSW. Winners were selected from a diverse field of 32 finalists, drawn from 140 nominations.
In recognition of her enduring activism for LGBTI rights and equality, Robyn Kennedy was named this year’s Community Hero. Ms Kennedy has been advocating for the LGBTI community for over 40 years through involvement with organisations such as CAMP Inc, Gay Solidarity, Gay Task Force, First Mardi Gras Inc and Sydney Mardi Gras.
CAMP Inc, otherwise known as the Campaign Against Moral Persecution, was honoured with the prestigious ACON President’s Award, an accolade that recognises outstanding community service. One of Australia’s first gay and lesbian political organisations, CAMP Inc played a pivotal role in raising the visibility of the LGBTI community in NSW and advocating for their rights and supporting mental health of LGBTI people.
The Human Rights Law Centre and The Equality Campaign were joint recipients of the Community Organisation Award, in recognition of their collective efforts in the campaign for marriage equality. The Equality Campaign – a joint initiative of Australian Marriage Equality and Australian for Equality – and the Human Rights Law Centre were instrumental leading the national charge for a ‘yes’ vote during last year’s postal survey on same-sex marriage, as well as ensuring the subsequent legislation afforded true and equal access to marriage for Australians in same-sex relationships.
Author and historian Dr Shirleene Robinson – also a long-time marriage equality activist – was honoured with the Media Award. Through her extensive body of research, academic literature and work in the media, Ms Robinson has drawn mainstream attention to many LGBTI issues.
Recipient of the inaugural HIV Hero award, acknowledging the achievements of those working in HIV prevention, advocacy, research, treatment and care, was David Crawford. For three decades Mr Crawford has been caring, supporting and advocating for the rights of people living with HIV.
Other award winners included local GP Dr Allison Bielawski, who received the Health & Wellbeing Award for over 20 years of providing healthcare to the LGBTI community. Darlinghurst store Sax Fetish took out the Business Award for its steadfast support for a range of LGBTI causes and organisations. Performer Mark Trevorrow was awarded the Arts and Entertainment Award for his achievements with his comedy character Bob Downe. Fashion designer Bayvick Lawrance was the recipient of the Young Achiever Award, in recognition of his work supporting, and being a voice for, young LGBTI Pacific Islanders through his highly acclaimed fashion line. And US-born, Sydney-based artist KimLeutwyler received the Cayte Latta Memorial Award for Visual Arts for various works in a range of mediums exploring LGBTI culture and content including gender, sexuality and identity.
Now in its 12th year, the Honour Awards is an annual celebration of outstanding service and achievements in the LGBTI community in NSW, and a gala fundraising event for ACON.
ACON President Dr Justin Koonin congratulated the winners and all the finalists on their achievements and community service. “Last night’s event was a truly inspirational and thoroughly entertaining evening, serving as a great celebration of the vibrant and resilient spirit of our community. I’d like to thank all the people who submitted nominations, our independent judging panel, as well as all our guests for coming along and supporting ACON,” Koonin said.
“We thank our presenting partners – Dowson Turco Lawyers, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Business Association, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, SBS, people2people, GLYDE Health and Friends of Cayte – as well as our event partners – Merivale, Gayle Beverages, Black Velvet Sydney, Stonewall Hotel, CrowdComms, Affinity Diamonds, TropOut, New Caledonia Tourism, Chateau Royale, and all the people, businesses and organisations that donated items to the silent auction.”
“We’re very grateful for all their support in helping us celebrate our communities, and raise funds for ACON HIV and LGBTI health programs and services that improve the health and wellbeing of LGBTI people.”
2018 HONOUR AWARDS – RECIPIENTS
COMMUNITY HERO (Presented by ACON)
Robyn Kennedy: For her unwavering commitment to the LGBTI community spanning over four decades. Over the years, Robyn has advocated for LGBTI rights through various roles with groups such as CAMP Inc, Gay Solidarity, Gay Task Force, First Mardi Gras Inc, and Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.
CAMP Inc: For the ground-breaking work of one of Australia’s first political organisations for lesbian and gay people. Founded in 1970 with the aim of educating the general Australian public about homosexuality and alleviating the isolation and poor mental health experienced by many lesbian and gay people at the time, CAMP Inc played an instrumental role in raising the visibility of lesbian and gay people in NSW, advocating for their rights, and supporting the mental health of the community.
COMMUNITY ORGANISATION (Presented by SBS)
The Equality Campaign: Recognising the joint effort of Australian Marriage Equality and Australians for Equality in leading the national push that led to marriage equality in Australia.
Human Rights Law Centre: For delivering positive legal change for Australia’s LGBTI communities in various areas such as equal marriage rights, the expungement of historical homosexual convictions and LGBTI parenting reforms.
YOUNG ACHIEVER AWARD (Presented by people2people)
Bayvick Lawrence: For being an inspirational role model and spokesperson for LGBTIQ Pacific Islander youth through his work in fashion design in Fiji and Australia.
MEDIA AWARD (Presented by Dowson Turco Lawyers)
Dr Shirleene Robinson: For her extensive body of work in the media that has drawn attention to LGBTIQ issues. One of Australia’s leading LGBTIQ historians, Shirleene has written a wide range of piece exploring topics such as the gay panic defence, marriage equality, the HIV/AIDS epidemic and LGBTI personnel in the military. Shirleene has also published a range of books, having co-authored several titles that explores LGBTI history.
David Crawford: For three decades of providing service and care to people living with HIV, including a long-running role as a registered nurse at Ward 17 South at St Vincent’s Hospital. Now at Positive Life NSW, David continues to work tirelessly to improve the health and wellbeing of people living with HIV.
HEALTH & WELLBEING (Presented by GLYDE Health)
Dr Allison Bielawski: For over 20 years of providing healthcare to the LGBTI community in her role as a local GP, and for her strong advocacy for LGBTI health through her involvement with various health advisory boards and committees.
CAYTE LATTA MEMORIAL AWARD FOR VISUAL ARTS (Presented by Friends of Cayte) Kim Leutwyler: Born in America, Sydney-based Kim Leutwyler works in a variety of media including painting, installation, ceramics, print and drawing. Her current work takes its forms in paintings dealing with images of beauty, gender and queer-identity, and her art has been exhibited in multiple galleries and museums throughout Australia and the United States.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT AWARD (Presented by Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras): Mark Trevorrow: For delivering over 30 years of entertainment as ‘Bob Downe’ – one of Australia’s most iconic showbiz characters. Throughout this time, Mark/Bob has lent his name to various causes, giving generously to countless charities and organisations.
BUSINESS AWARD (Presented by Sydney Gay and Lesbian Business Association)
Sax Fetish: For its long-running retailing business catering to Sydney’s leather and fetish community, which has been operating for nearly two decades. Over the years, the Oxford Street store has supported a broad range of LGBTI causes and organisations through sponsorships and direct donations.
HONOUR AWARDS 2018 PRESENTING PARTNERS & COMMUNITY PARTNERS
Dowson Turco Lawyers | SBS | people2people | GLYDE Health | Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras | Sydney Gay and Lesbian Business Association | Friends of Cayte