IN a move designed to propel forward equality for LGBT Australians, we are set to get our very own glamorous awards night.
Based on the British LGBT Awards, the new Australian LGBT Awards will highlight the achievements made in the past year by community members from across the country in categories such as; celebrity, organisation or brand, diversity champion, hero, community initiative, sports personality, inspirational role model, lifetime achievement award, CEO, journalist, student rising star and politician of the year.
The awards are the brainchild of Linda Riley of the Global Diversity Company, creator of the European Diversity Awards, the Global Diversity List, the Pride Power list (published by the Guardian newspaper), the Out at Work Top 50 (published by the Telegraph newspaper), co-founder of the British LGBT Awards and Board member of GLAAD, and Silke Bader, the creator of LOTL, publisher of Curve and owner of L Media and Avalon Media.
“We’ve got so many people in the community out there doing great things and we want to try and incorporate the awards into the mainstream media,” Eliot Hastie, one of the spokespeople for the awards said.
“We’re trying to get public involved in voting in all of the categories.”
Members of the public can vote in all categories with some completely decided by their vote. The more corporate categories will firstly be voted on by the public, the top names will be shortlisted and presented to a panel of judges – including the Honourable Michael Kirby, Dr Kerryn Phelps, Benajmin Law and former David Jones managing director Paul Zahra – will decide the final winner.
Hastie said nominations were starting to trickle in through the website and it was interesting to see which categories were getting more attention than others. So far, the sports personality has not attracted a lot of votes, but Hastie expects that to change after the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio.
“The ones getting the most nominations are the student rising star category, we’ve got someone from nearly every state included,” he said.
“We’ve had lots of votes in hero of the year, in which Courtney Act is a nominee.
“Politician of the year is a harder one, it’s a small list and shows where LGBTI people are looking to their leaders. We’ve had people like Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, Penny (Wong) and Richard (Simms) nominated.
“It’s interesting which ones don’t have as many votes.”
Public voting closes in September with a lavish ceremony planned during the 2017 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in March.
Hastie is clear the organisers do not want this to be a Sydney-centric awards night.
“We want everyone in every state and territory to be represented from top of Cairns down to Tasmania,” he said.
To vote in the Australian LGBT Awards visit the website here.