Ahead of its scheduled opening towards the end of the year, the Victorian Pride Centre on Thursday announced that jurist and gay icon Justice Michael Kirby will be the organisation’s patron. Singer Courtney Act, Olympic gold medalist Danni Roche, filmmaker Tony Ayres, Wiradjuri/Celtic contemporary artist Brook Andrew, writer Benjamin Law and others will also come on board as ambassadors.

“I am excited to be involved with the Victorian Pride Centre as a patron. I congratulate the Pride Centre on creating a hub and a focus for LGBTQI people in Melbourne, Victoria and Australia. Its potential to give leadership to the community in Victoria and to create links throughout Australia, is enormous.” said Kirby, former judge of the High Court of Australia.

Kirby was one of the first out judges in Australia and across the world. Kirby had given a dissenting judgement in the landmark gay panic defence case relating to the death of Donald Gillies in NSW.

“I am proud to assume this responsibility, because the Centre is already in a position to achieve much, to reach out to the LGBTQI population, and all of the rainbow minorities not just in Melbourne, not just in Victoria, but throughout Australia, and indeed beyond.”

 Kirby expressed hope that the Pride Centre – Australia’s first and world’s second multi-purpose LGBTQI centre – will emerge as a beacon of equality for other countries.

“I hope the Pride Center will reach beyond Australia, because not far from our borders there are countries where things were just as bad as they were when I was growing up.

“I also hope that the centre will continue the work to create archives and to become the nucleus of a museum in Australia, which will record the journey, the struggles, the efforts, the pushback and the ultimate triumph –  equality for all on the grounds of sexuality, no exceptions,  equality for all.”

A sentiment echoed by Pride Centre Chair, Jude Munro, “We are grateful for the support of so many leading members of the Australian LGBTQI community. We are proud of them and their many achievements and we, like them, are aiming high in our ambition for the Pride Centre.”

 The Pride Centre announced  an illustrious list of LGBTQI artists, writers, activists and sports persons who will join as ambassadors. The ambassadors include, Benjamin Law, writer and broadcaster, Brook Andrew, Wiradjuri/Celtic contemporary artist and artistic director, Courtney Act, singer and drag artist, Danni Roche, Olympic Gold Medallist Hockeyroos, Jason Ball, LGBTQI and mental health advocate, Julie McCrossin, journalist, Nevo Zisin, Jewish, queer, non-binary writer, Tony Ayres, award-winning Australian show runner, writer and director, Tony Briffa, LGBTQI human rights advocate and educator, Robyn Archer singer, writer, Rhonda Galbally, disability advocate and former CEO and Zoe Coombs Marr, performer, writer, artist and comedian.

“I’m delighted to be an Ambassador for the Victorian Pride Centre. A centre that is already emerging as a cornerstone and beating heart of our fabulous community,” said Courtney Act.

“For so long, our community – especially our elders and leaders – have been fighting for a safe, equal and inclusive Australia, and the opening Victorian Pride Centre is going to be a landmark milestone in that story and fight,” said Benjamin Law.

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