Gay had not originally been nominated for the Golden Gloria, commemorating the most blatant instance of homophobia from a public figure in the last year, for his insistence on tearing up the rainbow pride pedestrian crossing at Taylor Square in April, but host David Marr insisted on his inclusion by appealing to the audience on the night.
When Gay won the award via the GLORIA’s patented ‘boo-off,’ rumours flew through the room that Gay was somewhere in the building. Shortly afterwards, Gay arrived in the room to accept the award in person.
Gay accepted the award from drag queen Joyce Maynge in good humour, receiving a cheer from the audience and sporting a rainbow tie as he accepted the colourful trophy.
Labor Upper House MP and GLORIAs founder Penny Sharpe said Gay’s appearance came as “a complete surprise”.
“I’d actually rang his office earlier that day and told them he was off the hook. It was one of the few times I can think of where a minister has upstaged a drag queen,” Sharpe said.
Gay beat out Katter’s Australian Party candidate Tess Corbett, who was nominated for comparing gay marriage to legalising child sexual abuse; UK Independence Party councillor candidate John Sullivan for comparing gay activists to termites; and conservative social commentator Andrew Bolt, who wrote that “a gay man is as free as a straight man to marry a woman”.
The event raised $1000 for gender support service The Gender Centre and had more than 800 guests, marking the largest GLORIAs ceremony since the awards began in 2010.