Long-time activist and Member of the Order of Australia Rodney Croome takes a cheeky turn in the Mardi Gras issue of Blue magazine.

Better known for his political activism than his external obliques, Rodney Croome switches to nude rock-carrying for an eight-page photo essay shot by Bondi Classic lensman Paul Freeman.

Croome, who rose to prominence during the successful campaign to overturn Tasmania’s anti-sodomy laws in the 1990s, said he was flattered to be offered a nude shoot.

But what most thrilled me was that I had the chance to show that neither gay activists nor Tasmanians are as stodgy and boring as we’re made out to be.

To get the right images, Croome said he spent 15 hours carrying rocks, climbing walls and dodging ants.

Now 40 years old, the incredibly fit Croome told Blue he enjoys the discipline and challenge of gym training, which he undertakes five to six days a week. He doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, doesn’t do drugs and is strictly low-carb after 6pm.

I didn’t want to seem weak. I wanted to feel as if I had some physical strength, to exist well in a hostile world, he said.

I’m not talking about fighting off bashers or whatever, because I couldn’t do that even if I wanted to, but the activist work that I have chosen to do takes a lot out of me. If I want to do it well, I have to be physically as well as mentally fit.

In the Blue story, Justice Michael Kirby, Senator Brian Greig and activist Somali Cerise depict Croome as a man who won’t take no for an answer.

Unlike many other gay and lesbian activists, Rodney understands that there are no excuses whatsoever to justify discrimination or to justify stalling on reform, Greig said.

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