Women dominate Honour Awards 2015

Women dominate Honour Awards 2015
Image: The winners of the ACON Honour Awards 2015 (PHOTO: Ann-Marie Calilhanna; Star Observer)

WOMEN from various walks of NSW’s LGBTI community stole the show at last night’s Honour Awards event, taking the award in six of the 10 categories.

Now in its ninth year, the annual Honour Awards are held to recognise the outstanding achievements or contributions of individuals and groups in the state’s LGBTI community.

[showads ad=MREC]The winners were announced at a gala ceremony attended by over 350 people at the Ivy Ballroom in Sydney last night. Winners were selected from a field of 250 nominations and 30 finalists, and over $50,000 was raised for LGBTI community and health initiatives for the Aurora charity and for ACON, NSW’s leading HIV and LGBTI health organisation.

Of the 10 awards, four went to individual women, while another two went to organisations run by women.

Steph Sands received the Community Hero Award for over 15 years of developing, guiding and supporting a range of LGBTI community organisations and events such as co-chair of Mardi Gras and founder of Women Say Something.

Levinia Crooks, one of Australia’s leading HIV advocates, received the ACON President’s Award in recognition of a lifetime dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of people affected by HIV and AIDS.

Meanwhile, country music star Beccy Cole shared the Arts and Entertainment Award with the cast and crew of the Holding The Man film for their artistic success and for championing acceptance and inclusion of LGBTI people, and Sydney artist Deborah Kelly received the Cayte Latta Memorial Award for Visual Arts for various works exploring LGBTI families, social inclusion and LGBTI cultural history.

In terms of organisations, Dykes On Bikes was recognised in the Community Organisation category for 25 years of cultural and community contributions, while Dowson Turco Lawyers — a Sydney law firm run by Stacey Dowson, Mary Turco and Nicholas Stewart — won the Business Award for being one of NSW’s most LGBTI-engaged law practices through pro bono work, community partnerships and donations to key community organisations.

Sydney Morning Herald journalist and editor Rick Feneley won the Media Award for his work investigating Sydney’s historical gay hate homicides, while Anthony Venn Brown picked up the Health and Wellbeing Award for over 20 years of providing leadership and support for LGBTI people of faith and for working to bring ex-gay/conversion therapy practices to an end in Australia.

Finally, Richard Ezomoh was honoured with the Young Achiever Award for his HIV prevention and support work with gay and homosexually active men in Nigeria and among Australia’s Nigerian refugee population.

ACON president Mark Orr congratulated the winners and all the finalists on their achievements and community service.

“Last night’s event was a truly inspirational and thoroughly entertaining evening and a great celebration of the dynamic spirit of our community, especially the contributions that women are making,” he said.

For full details on each of the winners, visit ACON’s website

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