In June 2021, the Queer Screen Board announced a new volunteer award, to honour the memory of a much-loved member of the Queer Screen family, Yunus Zeed.
Yunus was a passionate Queer Screen volunteer who dedicated his life to volunteering, and participated in a phenomenal number of volunteer events and causes across Sydney for almost two decades.
Yunus came to Sydney in the early 2000s, and started volunteering almost immediately. Although he was always a Melbourne boy at heart, we were proud to claim him as our own.
Yunus cared deeply about his volunteer family, and his unique sense of style and fun was much loved – he always had bundles of cheeky humour and smiles to share.
He became a permeant fixture at Queer Screen festivals over many years, never failing to bring the rainbow glamour and glitz: sparkly bracers, light-up bow ties, a pink tutu, and an array of stylish hats were among his many memorable looks – and in COVID times, sparkly face masks and a hot pink cane.
It would be impossible to list every cause Yunus volunteered for across Sydney, but here are a few highlights of his immense volunteer career:
- He started volunteering with Mardi Gras in the early 2000s, and particularly loved Fair Day and the Parade. In 2014-2015 he commenced the role of Event Manager of Fair Day’s Doggywood, a role which he was very proud of.
- He volunteered Sydney Royal Easter Show Service, where he received an Appreciation Certificate for five years’ dedicated service
- He raised money for ACON’s Red Ribbon Appeal and sold ribbons on World AIDS Day
- Sydney Festival
- Jeans For Jeans Day
- The MS Walk and Roll
- The Newtown Festival and Surry Hills Festival
- The Tennis open
- The Sydney Olympics Games and Paralympics games
And there are many, many more…
In 2017, Yunus developed low vison, but he never let that stop him. He kept volunteering at many events, including Sydney Film Festival, Antenna International Documentary Film Festival and Queer Screen Film Fest and Queer Screen Mardi Gras Film Festival, just to name just a few.
When he was unable to attend a film festival one year due to ill health, he received a special commendation at the 2018 Queer Screen Frank Wells Volunteer Awards for being the ‘Volunteer most Missed at Mardi Gras Film Festival’.
Yunus sadly passed away in May 2021 after battling ongoing health issues, and his presence is greatly missed by all of us at Queer Screen.
In honour of Yunus’ commitment and dedication, Queer Screen is pleased to announce the ‘Yunus Zeed Returning Volunteer Award’, which will be given out alongside the ‘Frank Wells New Volunteer Award’, at the annual Queer Screen Volunteer Awards.
The Queer Screen Volunteer Awards, held annually during National Volunteer Week, recognise the outstanding contributions of volunteers who have made a particularly significant contribution to Queer Screen.