HUMAN rights lawyer and LGBTI advocate Anna Brown has taken the top honour at the inaugural GLOBE Community Awards, celebrating excellence in Victoria’s LGBTI community.

As co-convenor of the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby and a director at the Human Rights Law Centre, Brown was recognised with the Victorian GLBTI Person of the Year award for her tireless work driving legal and political change for the LGBTI community in the state, as well as nationally and internationally.

LGBTI networking and business organisation GLOBE, hosts of the event, noted in particular Brown’s work on sex and gender diverse issues in the High Court, and the Victoria Police apology for the 1994 Tasty Nightclub raid.

Brown was overseas and unable to attend, so her identical twin sister Robyn accepted the award on her behalf, reading a speech on Brown’s behalf.

“Every day I feel privileged to be able to do what I do,” she said.

Brown also drew attention to the struggles of LGBTI people internationally, and the importance of showing global solidarity.

The night was a black tie affair, with Melbourne’s LGBTI community turning out by the hundreds to celebrate the achievements of the winners and nominees over dinner in the Myer Mural Room in Melbourne’s CBD. Comedian Denise Scott hosted the event, announcing each winner.

Artist of the Year went to cabaret performer and comedian Dolly Diamond (pictured above), who received a standing ovation when her name was announced.

“I love working for the community — I’d like to work for the community more, but with money,” she said, joking she would melt her award statue down.

The Excellence in Business award went to long-running queer bookshop Hares and Hyenas, run by Crusader Hillis and Rowland Thomson, with Thomson thanking “the academy of homosexual businesses” upon accepting the award.

The Protecting Our Communities award went to the Victorian AIDS Council and Living Positive Victoria for their work towards ensuring a commitment from the state’s major political parties to repeal Section 19A of the Crimes Act, which stigmatises people living with HIV.

Living Positive Victoria president Ian Muchamore attributed their success to the partnership between the two organisations.

“The reason this has happened is that we worked in partnership, and that’s a really strong message for the GLBTI community,” he said.

The full list of winners are as follows:

  • A Healthy Community — The Young and Gay Group, Victorian AIDS Council
  • Networking the GLBTI Community — GLBTIQ Sports Club Engagement Initiative, Team Melbourne
  • Excellence in Business — Hares and Hyenas
  • Protecting our Community — Repeal of section 19A of the Crimes Act 1958 (VIC) — HIV transmission, Victorian AIDS Council in partnership with Living Positive Victoria
  • Media Excellence — Dean Beck
  • Artist of the Year — Dolly Diamond
  • Volunteer of the Year — Clayton Wimshurst, Victorian AIDS Council
  • Sports Person of the Year — John Marriott, Glamourhead Sharks Aquatics
  • Straight Ally of the Year — Jill Stark, The Sunday Age
  • Victorian GLBTI Person of the Year — Anna Brown, Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby / Human Rights Law Centre

The awards were given based on community nominations, judged by Melbourne’s Lady Mayoress Emma Page Campbell, and Farrah Tomazin from The Sunday Age. Former High Court Justice Michael Kirby acted as a review judge.

(Photo credit: Dean Arcuri)

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