Gay rights advocate Shelley Argent was tonight named Queensland Senior Australian of the Year for 2011 in recognition of her work towards making Australia a place where GLBT people have the same rights and respect as everyone else.

Argent’s involvement in fighting for equal rights for the GLBT community began twelve years ago when her son James came out.

Since then she has devoted herself to encouraging understanding and acceptance of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

The 60 year old from Brisbane’s The Gap started as an education volunteer with the QLD AIDS Council before becoming involved in Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), rising to become President of PFLAG and is still the organisation’s spokesperson.

Argent is currently heavily involved in the campaign for marriage equality in Australia and she is the author of a series of educational booklets aimed at families of GLBT people.

In 2006 Argent was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for service to the community through raising awareness of issues of acceptance, tolerance and equality for people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender, and to support for their families.

Queensland Australian of the Year award winners join winners from other States and Territories as finalists for the national Australian of the Year awards to be announced on 25 January 2011.

For more information on the Australian of the Year Awards visit www.australianoftheyear.org.au

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