Bindi Irwin has taken out an ally award at this year’s Australian LGBTI Awards, which recognise individuals and businesses who have made substantial contributions to the LGBTI community.

The awards were announced on Friday night in Sydney.

Actor and marriage equality champion Magda Szubanski won the LGBTI celebrity award, and comedian Joel Creasey took out the presenter award, appropriate before both hosted the Mardi Gras parade on Saturday night.

Veteran activist Peter de Waal was honoured with the lifetime achievement award.

SBS won the brand award, Airbnb took out the marketing campaign award, and the film, TV and web series award went to Orange is the New Black.

The honour that left some people scratching their heads was the ally award, which went to Irwin.

She beat nine other shortlisted nominees to win the award, including prominent LGBTI activists.

Among the other nominees were Australian Marriage Equality ambassador David Campbell, who raised over $20,000 to help persecuted LGBTI people in Chechnya; Laurelle Mellet, who is a vocal supporter of Safe Schools and lobbied to have the ‘gay panic’ defence abolished; and singer Christine Anu, who has advocated for LGBTI rights for over 25 years.

Fans have congratulated Bindi—whose name was listed first alphabetically among the nominees—on receiving the ally award.

Others have questioned what the environmental activist has done for the LGBTI community.

Irwin was nominated for supporting marriage equality on social media, though she shared only three tweets on the subject, and her Facebook account was set up after the end of the campaign.

“I find it strange Bindi Irwin was awarded best LGBTI ally when I have no memory of her doing anything,” tweeted one person.

Drag personality Pauline Pantsdown responded to the announcement of Irwin’s win by tweeting at the LGBTI Awards, “Can we… ask what for?”

“Absolutely Pauline, we can explain. The process is entirely public and the public voted for Bindi. We do not have an influence in the publicly voted categories,” replied the organisers, who repeated similar answers to others who questioned the win.

Irwin told Star Observer she was “tremendously grateful to be honoured with the LGBTI Ally Award”.

“We should all have the freedom to love, as every love is beautiful and equal,” she said.

“I am so proud of Australia for stepping up, this is an inspiring chapter in our nation’s history.”

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