Longtime rural queer youth worker Sue Hackney has announced she will step down from her role after nearly 10 years as the driving force behind the WayOut Project.

Hackney said it was with “some sadness” she was stepping down for health reasons and to continue with further studies and travel.

“Its been a hell of a ride — always interesting, often challenging and mostly lots of fun,” she said.

WayOut youth council member Kat Ettwell will step into Hackney’s role in the interim. Hackney pursued a discrimination complaint against a Christian Brethren-run campsite for refusing WayOut use of its facility in 2007.

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal found Christian Youth Camps (CYC) had refused the young people accommodation based on an objection to their homosexuality and CYC was forced to pay $5000 compensation.

The decision was hailed as potentially having national importance in setting a precedent against religious organisations claiming religious exemptions on discrimination where they are engaged in secular business activities.

During Hackney’s time, the WayOut Project received an honourable mention in Suicide Prevention Australia’s LIFE Awards and Hackney won a Health Hero award at the 2010 ALSO Awards.

Hackney was also a columnist for the Star Observer.

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