LGBT Advocate Steve Spencer Named Ambassador For LGBT Museum Qtopia Sydney
Sydney-based LGBTQI advocate Steve Spencer has been named an Ambassador for the LGBTQI museum, Qtopia Sydney.
Spencer, a bisexual man living with HIV, is the co-founder of the not-for-profit organisation PrEPaccessNOW, which spearheaded the rollout of PrEP in Australia. Spencer is also the Lead Investigator on the BiSHH Study, Australia’s first sexual health and HIV study of bi+ people.
A ‘Place For Us To Tell Our History And Build Our Future’
“I am so proud to be an ambassador for Qtopia Sydney – what will become one of our great LGBTIQ+ institutions. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our community to build an inclusive and welcoming place for us to tell our history and build our future,” Spencer said.
“Qtopia Sydney will provide the opportunity for new generations of young LGBTQIA+ folk and the broader community to learn about who we are. I am hopeful that we will inspire them to continue our powerful legacy and our messages of love, inclusion, and action. I look forward to working with the community, the organisation, and all stakeholders to achieve this bold endeavour.”
Spencer concluded, “Bi+ people make up 60% of the LGBTQIA+ community and this rate is only going to rise. As we see our community evolve, we must evolve with it. I know what it’s like to feel a bit different, to feel out of place and Qtopia Sydney will provide a haven for us all.”
‘Fearless Advocacy And Commitment’
Discussing the reason for Spencer’s appointment, Qtopia Sydney CEO Greg Fisher said in a statement, “One of Mr Spencer’s greatest passions is addressing the health and social inequities faced by bi+ people. He co-founded and now serves as a Lead Investigator on Australia’s first ever sexual health and HIV study of bi+ people – the BiSHH Study – at the Kirby Institute UNSW, where he draws on his experience in academia and community partnerships.
“Steve’s fearless advocacy and commitment to equity and inclusion within the LGBTIQ+ community, the bi+ community, and HIV sector have led efforts to combat biphobia, bi-erasure, HIV stigma and LGBTIQ+ discrimination and has been recognised with a number of awards including an ACON Honour Award for his leadership in the bi+ community and work combatting HIV stigma, and the inaugural BGF Simon Dunn HIV Champion Award.”
Spencer joins Qtopia Sydney’s inaugural Ambassador, Trans advocate, writer, and presenter Katherine Wolfgramme.
Darlinghurst Police Station Handed Over In September
In September, the old Darlinghurst Police Station was officially handed over to LGBTQI museum Qtopia Sydney.
Qtopia Sydney is set to move into its permanent location at the Darlinghurst Police Station in February 2024.
Qtopia Sydney CEO Greg Fisher said, “In opening our doors, we will present an inaugural world-class exhibition of which the Queer community, our allies and indeed all Australians, can enjoy, learn from and embrace.”
The site of the old Darlinghurst Police Station on Forbes and Bourke Streets has an important place in the city’s queer history. The police station was once associated with the harassment and persecution of Sydney’s LGBTQI community, including 78ers.
‘A New Future Of Tolerance’
Fisher continued, “The Queer community will take confidence that the hard-fought wins from illegality to legality, from inequality to equality, from humiliation to respect, have been heard by political leaders across the spectrum. Our stories will soon be invested in this property – told and re-told – to ensure that education and awareness are the foundation of a new future of tolerance, acceptance, respect and love.”
On April 19, NSW’s new Labor government announced the former Darlinghurst police station as the permanent home for Qtopia Sydney.
Commemorating the event, Qtopia Sydney said, “In handing over stewardship of the building, the site is officially taking on its new name for the future – Qtopia Sydney.”
Before the handover, the NSW Government was using the old Darlinghurst police station as offices for NSW Health.