Brisbane’s local LGBTI heroes and community favourites have been honoured at the 57th annual Queen’s Ball Awards on Saturday night, with a special First Nations award being given for the first time.
The longest-running LGBTI event in the world, this year’s celebration of community achievements saw City Hall taken over by hundreds of LGBTI people and allies dressed up in black tie or in the evening’s theme of futuristic fashion.
The awards, decided by popular vote, recognised outstanding contributions to the LGBTI community.
Lawyer Matilda Alexander of the LGBTI Legal Service received two honours, taking out both Activist of the Year and Volunteer of the Year.
Activist Peter Black, who is part of the LGBTI Legal Service’s management committee, received one of two Proud Awards for outstanding service to the community, with the second Proud Award going to Shaz Gerchow.
Alex David won Intersex Activist of the Year for their work with Intersex Human Rights Australia and media appearances promoting awareness of intersex issues.
“I was quite amazed and surprised to receive an award for intersex advocacy, but very happy to see intersex advocacy finally being recognised,” David told Star Observer.
“There’s still plenty of work to be done for intersex rights and awareness, which I will continue working on.”
Host Paige Wilcox won Trans Activist of the Year for her tireless work fighting for the trans community, including as the Queensland director of LGBTI mentoring organisation Out for Australia.
Aboriginal elder Aunty Dawn Daylight was honoured with both a Lifetime Achievement Award and the new First Nations Leadership and Engagement Award.
Introducing the award, Wilcox said it was “about time” to recognise the contributions of First Nations LGBTI and sistergirl and brotherboy communities.
“I’ve never received anything like this before in my life,” said Aunty Dawn as she accepted the award.
“Pretty deadly I reckon—deadly mob we are.”
A second Lifetime Achievement Award went to John Hannay.
Shelley Argent, the national PFLAG spokesperson who was a strong advocate for LGBTI people during the marriage equality debate, was honoured with the Ally of the Year award.
The Young Achievement Award went to Josh Goyne, and Michael James won Media Personality of the Year.
Photographer Joel Devereux received the Artist of the Year Award, with DJ Merlin taking out DJ of the Year.
Performer of the Year went to Kryptonite, and local favourite queen Candy Surprise won Drag Performer of the Year.
Community Social Group of the Year went to Brisbears, and the LGBTI Legal Service won Community Support Group of the Year.
Queensland AIDS Council fundraiser Balls Out Bingo once again took out Regular Event of the Year, with Annual Event of the Year going to Fortitude Valley street party Big Gay Day.
Licensed Venue of the Year went to the Sportsman Hotel, and Number 29 won Adult Venue of the Year.
Queen’s Ball attendees were treated to a sparkling futuristic evening of drag, music and dance performances.
Proceeds from the ball go to Brisbane Pride and the Kai Collins Memorial Fund, which supports LGBTI mental health promotion and suicide prevention.