A TIRELESS LGBTI advocate has been recognised for their hard work at the Australian Human Rights Commission’s annual Human Rights Awards ceremony.
Yen Eriksen, 23, won the the Young People’s Human Rights Medal at today’s event in Sydney.
[showads ad=MREC] Committed to understanding and sharing different experiences of people’s oppression and marginalisation, Eriksen has been working at the grassroots level as a community radio host and documentary maker.
Eriksen, who identifies as gender diverse, also formed the ACT Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTIQ) Ministerial Advisory Council.
“When you get to help somebody else tell their story, they feel empowered and engaged,” they told the Star Observer.
Getting into community work and activism was inevitable for Eriksen, who grew up with “a range of identities that face opposition and marginalisation”.
“When I walk around people can see it on my face, they can see I’m queer… feminism is tattooed on my body,” they said.
“When you wear and live your politics it becomes a part of who you are.”
Eriksen is passionate about “acknowledging the intersectionality of identity” and understanding people’s different experiences of marginalisation.
Eriksen was also surprised to win the award.
“I didn’t expect to win in that great bunch of people,” they said.
“I kept thinking of that episode of Friends when Joey was convinced he was going to get an award and stood up even when his name wasn’t called, I thought I was going to do that.
“But it was the reverse of that, I wasn’t sure if they’d said my name and just sat there.
“I turned to my partner and swore and she told me to get up there.”
Making the trip from Canberra for the award ceremony, Eriksen will celebrate their win with a weekend in Sydney with their girlfriend “eating lots of good vegan food and shopping”.[showads ad=FOOT]