Goodbye to ‘quiet trailblazer’
Tributes have started flowing for Tasmanian transgender activist Roz Houston, who passed away in Burnie on Monday after a long illness.
Houston — a passionate human rights campaigner — was said to be one of the first transgender Tasmanians to openly speak out against transphobia and discrimination in the southern state.
Tasmanian transgender spokeswoman Martine Delaney hailed Houston as a “trailblazer.”
“For many transgender Tasmanians, including myself, Roz was our first connection to someone who understood, who let you know you weren’t alone and who felt pride in her difference and identity.
“Roz was a trailblazer, quietly changing attitudes and increasing acceptance of transgender Australians.”
Houston advocated increased awareness of transgender issues with police, teachers and the wider community.
In 2003 Houston lodged a case with the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commissioner claiming harassment by her neighbour constituted “discrimination in accommodation.”
She won the case and set an important precedent for discrimination covered by the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Act.
Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesman Rodney Croome paid tribute to Houston.
“Roz’s tenacity against immense odds and her quiet dignity in challenging prejudice was an inspiration to all supporters of human rights,” he said.
“Roz had a love of justice and a love of her island home that together mark her as a truly great Tasmanian.”
Houston’s funeral will be held in Burnie on Friday.