Unsung heroes, community champions, vital community organisations and long-standing allies of sexually and gender diverse people dedicated to fighting for LGBTQI rights and equality, were among a diverse mix of people and groups recognised last night at the Honour Awards in Sydney at a gala event on George Street.
Over 350 people came together at the Ivy Ballroom to celebrate LGBTQI community members whose work has made a difference to the lives of sexually and gender diverse people in NSW. Winners were selected from a diverse field of 32 finalists, drawn from over 200 nominations.
Now in its 13th year, the Honour Awards is an annual celebration of outstanding service and achievements in the LGBTQI community in NSW and Australia, and a gala fundraising event for ACON.
Following the event, ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill congratulated the winners and all the finalists on their achievements and community service.
“Last night’s awards were a truly inspirational and thoroughly entertaining evening, serving as an amazing celebration of the vibrant, strength and resiliency of our communities,” Parkhill said.
“I’d like to thank all the people who submitted nominations, our independent judging panel, as well as all our guests for coming along and supporting ACON.”
“We thank all of our presenting and community partners – Dowson Turco Lawyers, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Business Association, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, Positive Life NSW, SBS, people2people, GLYDE Health and Friends of Cayte – as well as our event partners Merivale, Gayle Beverages, Black Velvet Sydney, Byron Bay Cookies and Stonewall Hotel. We also thank all the people and organisations that donated items to our silent auction.”
“We’re very grateful for all their support in helping us celebrate our communities, and raise funds for ACON’s health programs and services that improve the health and wellbeing of LGBTQ people.”
2019 HONOUR AWARDS WINNERS
COMMUNITY HERO (Presented by ACON)
Holly Conroy: For her tireless efforts to provide visibility of the trans experience, foster greater inclusion and facilitate a space where LGBTQI community members can be celebrated in regional NSW. Holly was a driving force behind the first Wagga Wagga Mardi Gras Festival in 2019, which became one of the biggest LGBTQI celebrations ever held in the Riverina. A dedicated volunteer and community advocate, Holly also gives her time to support many of Wagga Wagga’s local LGBTQI community groups.
Julie McCrossin AM and Robert French: For their outstanding and decades-long dedication to fighting and advocating for LGBTQI equality. McCrossin, who is a broadcaster, journalist and comedian, along with community historian Robert French – both who are 78ers – played instrumental roles in raising the visibility of LGBTQI people in NSW, advocating for their rights, and supporting the health and wellbeing of the community.
COMMUNITY ORGANISATION (Presented by SBS)
PFLAG: For decades of providing support, care and information to families and friends of LGBTQI people. Over the years, PFLAG has become a beacon of strength and hope for many LGBTQI people and their families.
YOUNG ACHIEVER AWARD (Presented by people2people)
Liam Davies: For his work in advocating and supporting rural and regional LGBTQI communities in NSW, particularly in improving the mental health and wellbeing of young community members. Liam was a founding member and organiser of the Rainbow on the Plains Festival in Hay, the vice chair of Hay Mardi Gras, as well as a runner-up for Mr Gay Pride Australia 2019.
MEDIA AWARD (Presented by Dowson Turco Lawyers)
Peter FitzSimons: For his courage, tenacity and leadership as a journalist, columnist and presenter, speaking out on key sporting issues affecting LGBTQI people. Peter uses his substantial platform to advocate for greater inclusion and diversity within Australian sport and society, and continues to support projects and initiatives that stamp out homophobia and prejudice in sport.
Elizabeth Griggs: For almost three decades of providing care and support for people living with HIV as a nurse, originally starting at the Albion Centre in Surry Hills. Since then, Elizabeth has worked in numerous community-based HIV services, including the Kirketon Road Centre and the Medically Supervised Injecting Centre, and currently works as a clinical nurse consultant at RPA Sexual Health Centre.
HEALTH & WELLBEING (Presented by GLYDE Health)
Cristyn Davies: For internationally renowned work in gender and sexuality diverse child and adolescent health research in the Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney, and The Children’s Hospital Westmead, and her passion for addressing health inequities in young LGBTQI people on a global scale.
CAYTE LATTA MEMORIAL AWARD FOR VISUAL ARTS (Presented by Friends of Cayte)
Samuel Leighton-Dore: A multidisciplinary artist and writer based on the Gold Coast, Samuel has a keen interest in mental health and masculinity, which is reflected in his work spanning ceramics, LED neon, illustration, animation, writing and painting.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT AWARD (Presented by Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras)
Queerstories: For bringing together people from all sections of the LGBTQI community through storytelling and spoken word events, and providing an important platform for performance and self-expression, both in regional and metropolitan centres.
BUSINESS AWARD (Presented by Sydney Gay and Lesbian Business Association)
Belloccio Restaurant: For creating a popular gay-owned and operated diner on Oxford Street. Since its establishment in 2013, Belloccio Restaurant has supported a broad range of LGBTQI charities, and it has also showcased many local performers, providing a platform for established artists and nurturing emerging talent.