The 32 finalists have been selected from over 140 nominations received across nine categories.
Samuel Leighton-Dore

28 Aug 2018 - 12:00 PM  UPDATED 28 Aug 2018 - 12:00 PM

The strength and resilience of Australia's LGBTIQ+ communities has been put on full display, with community advocates, long-standing supporters and unsung heroes set to be honoured at the 2018 Honour Awards.

A diverse and inspiring mix of over 30 people and organisations will be share the spotlight at ACON's annual event, which celebrates the outstanding service to, and achievements within, the LGBTIQ+ community in NSW and Australia.

Now in its 12th year, the not-for-profit awards is also a gala fundraising event for LGBTIQ+ community initiatives delivered by ACON, NSW’s leading HIV prevention, HIV support and LGBTI health organisation. All funds raised on the night will go back into assisting the community through ACON’s health programs and services.

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A judging panel of community peers has selected 32 finalists from over 140 nominations received across nine categories covering the business, health, religious, community, legal, political, media and cultural sectors.


Sue Thompson: For over 30 years of advocating for the safety of the LGBTIQ+ community in NSW. Sue was instrumental in building bridges between NSW Police and LGBTIQ+ community by pioneering the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officer (GLLO) program in the 1990s. In the years since, Sue has continued to advocate for victims and survivors of LGBTIQ+ hate crimes.

Peta Friend: For being a strong advocate for the visibility, rights and welfare of transgender people. Peta is the co-founder of Trans Sydney Pride, which provides support for transgender people and raises awareness of issues affecting the transgender community through events and online activities

Robyn Kennedy: For her unwavering commitment to the LGBTIQ+community spanning over four decades. Over the years, Robyn has advocated for LGBTIQ+ rights through various roles including the CAMP, Gay Solidarity and Gay Task Force. As a 78er, Robyn has been a vital force in the development of First Mardi Gras Inc, a community not-for-profit association established to support the 78ers.

Shane Brown: For his passionate advocacy for LGBTIQ+ issues over many years. Shane recently stepped down from his role as CEO of Weave, where he instigated a range of several projects addressing issues such as Indigenous support, bullying, youth disengagement, support for alcohol and other drug use and LGBTIQ+ inclusion in his local community of Redfern.

YOUNG ACHIEVER AWARD (Presented by people2people)

Kamalika Dasgupta: For important advocacy for LGBTIQ+women from cultural and linguistically diverse backgrounds through her non-profit organisation SheQu.

Matt Yeldham: For his leadership and contributions in helping establish Out for Australia as a leading national mentoring organisation for young LGBTIQ+ people.

Joshua Goyne: For his success in the World Gay Rodeo Finals – becoming the youngest person to ever qualify – and his passionate advocacy for LGBTIQ+ people in rural and regional communities.

Bayvick Lawrence: For being an inspirational role model and spokesperson for LGBTIQ+ Pacific Islander youth through his work in fashion design in Fiji and Australia.

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Alison Kincaid: For 40 years of passionate advocacy and healthcare in support of people living with HIV. Alison has provided strong leadership in HIV and sexual health within the public health sector over the years, and is currently the clinical manager for many junior and senior nurses in regional areas across NSW.

AIDS Dementia and HIV Psychiatry Service (ADAHPS): For providing vital care, compassion and support over many years for people living with HIV experiencing cognitive impairment and dementia, and for assisting all people living with HIV they are working with through the National Disability Insurance Scheme process.

David Crawford: For three decades of providing service and care to people living with HIV, including a long-running role as a registered nurse at Ward 17 South at St Vincent’s Hospital. Now at Positive Life NSW, David works tirelessly to improve the health and wellbeing of people living with HIV in NSW.

Elizabeth Griggs: For decades of service and support in the HIV sector as a nurse, clinician, surveillance officer and public health administrator. A registered nurse since 1981, Elizabeth has worked in a variety of roles in support of people living with HIV including at Albion Street Centre, NSW Health and RPA Sexual Health.


Hay Mardi Gras: For delivering the inaugural Rainbow on the Plains festival, bringing together LGBTIQ+ communities and their allies in the western Riverina region of south western NSW, and showcasing LGBTIQ+ pride and diversity in regional NSW.

The Equality Campaign: Recognising the joint effort of Australian Marriage Equality and Australians for Equality in leading the national push – The Equality Campaign – that led to marriage equality in Australia.

Trans Sydney Pride: For providing support, advocacy and visibility for transgender and non-binary people, and for raising awareness and engagement on key issues through online activities and community events.

Human Rights Law Centre: For delivering positive legal change for Australia’s LGBTIQ+ communities in various areas such as equal marriage rights, the expungement of historical homosexual convictions and LGBTIQ+ parenting reforms.

HEALTH & WELLBEING (Presented by GLYDE Health)

HIV/AIDS Legal Centre: For providing legal aid and support to the LGBTIQ+ community over HIV-related matters, and tackling HIV stigma and discrimination by providing specialist legal services to vulnerable people living with HIV and those most at risk.

Penny Gulliver: For decades of tireless advocacy for the health and safety of LGBTIQ+ people. For over three decades, Penny has been empowering LGBTIQ+ people through her self-defence workshops, and promotes LGBTIQ+ health and wellbeing through various community organisations and initiatives.

Dr Allison Bielawski: For over 20 years of providing healthcare to the LGBTIQ+ community in her role as a local GP. Allison is also being recognised for her strong advocacy for LGBTIQ+ health through her involvement with various health advisory boards and committees.

Nurul Tajularus: For her passionate work in helping establish and develop Sydney Queer Muslims, which assists LGBTIQ+ Muslims with a variety of support services, social groups, counselling, workshops and referral pathways.

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT AWARD (Presented by Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras)

Adrian Wills: For his extensive body of work in filmmaking across various genres spanning short films, TV series and feature documentaries, which includes the award-winning feature documentary Black Divaz.

Maeve Marsden: For establishing the successful storytelling/spoken word event series, Queerstories, which brings together people from all sections of the LGBTIQA community, and provides an important platform for performance and self-expression, both in regional and metropolitan centres.

Riot: For a captivating TV movie on the ABC, which explored the origins of the first Mardi Gras march, highlighting the legacy of the 78ers, and bringing to mainstream Australia the significance of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade.

Mark Trevorrow: For delivering over 30 years of entertainment as ‘Bob Downe’ – one of Australia’s most iconic showbiz characters. Throughout this time, Mark/Bob has lent his name to various causes, giving generously to countless charities and organisations.

MEDIA AWARD (Presented by Dowson Turco Lawyers)

Benedict Brook: For his riveting story on a trio of drag queens who came to the aid of a gay man being assaulted in inner Sydney. The article, published in, helped raise the issue of anti-LGBTIQ+ violence and gained international attention. It is just one of Benedict’s many reports that put LGBTIQ+ issues front and centre on the popular online news outlet.

Dr Shirleene Robinson: For her extensive body of work in the media that has drawn attention to LGBTIQ+ issues. One of Australia’s leading LGBTIQ+ historians, Shirleene has written a wide range of piece exploring topics such as the gay panic defence, marriage equality, the HIV/AIDS epidemic and LGBTIQ+ personnel in the military. Shirleene has also published a range of books, having co-authored several titles that explores LGBTIQ+ history.

Simon Hunt: For his prolific and tenacious advocacy on social media for the LGBTIQ+ community, either through his personal capacity or as his alter-ego, ‘Pauline Pantsdown’. Simon’s online activism, especially during the same-sex marriage postal survey, was a source of humour, comfort and inspiration for many in the community, even as he stared down prejudice and bigotry.

Jason Om: For his powerful two-part story on his conservative Cambodian father changing his mind on same-sex marriage. The widely-shared reports – published on ABC Online and broadcasted on 730 – underscored the intergenerational and cultural challenges many culturally and linguistically diverse families faced in the marriage equality debate.

BUSINESS AWARD (Presented by Sydney Gay and Lesbian Business Association)

Belloccio Restaurant: For creating a popular gay-owned and operated diner on Oxford Street. Since its establishment in 2013, Belloccio Restaurant has supported a broad range of LGBTIQ+ charities, and it has also showcased many local performers, providing a platform for established artists and nurturing emerging talent.

Sax Leather: For its long-running retailing business catering to Sydney’s leather and fetish community, which has been operating for nearly two decades. Over the years, the Oxford Street store has supported has broad range of LGBTIQ+ causes and organisations through sponsorships and direct donations.

Jonny Bastin: For establishing the successful Bear Bar, a space that welcomes all members of the community. Starting out as a ‘pop-up’ initiative four years ago to now a permanent fixture on Oxford Street, Bear Bar has become a popular social destination. Through its various events, Bear Bar has raised funds for local charities and community organisations.

357 Sydney City Steam: For operating a welcoming and safe space for over 15 years for gay men to meet and socialise. In that time, 357 Sydney City Steam has provided vital support to a range of HIV prevention and community health initiatives and delivered assistance to various charities.

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The winners will be presented with a range of gifts and prizes at a gala ceremony and cocktail party at the Ivy Ballroom in Sydney on Wednesday 3 October.

ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said the judging process was "extremely difficult" for the panel, as "all the nominees had been noteworthy in their own way."

He continued: "However, the judges agreed that the finalists they selected exhibited a remarkable commitment to supporting the LGBTIQ+ community, often without fanfare, and truly deserve to be recognised for their efforts. The calibre of nominees for Community Hero and Community Organisation were particularly outstanding, as is often the case, with judges spending a great deal of time in deliberation.

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“Because of experiences or fear of discrimination, exclusion and prejudice, many LGBTI people do not access necessary health or wellbeing services, further contributing to negative outcomes,” says Matt Janssen, Associate Director of Pride in Health + Wellbeing.

“I’d like to thank all the judges who were extremely diligent when selecting these finalists; it was certainly no easy task," Parkhill added.

"I congratulate all the finalists and look forward to them and other members of our community coming together to celebrate their achievements at the Honour Awards ceremony and cocktail party at the Ivy in September.”

This year’s awards will be presented at a gala ceremony and cocktail party at The Ivy in Sydney on Wednesday 3 October.

Four finalists from each category will join a host of government, media, entertainment and community personalities for a fabulous night of fun and festivity.

The Honour Awards 2018 Ceremony and Cocktail Party will be held on Wednesday 3 October, 6pm - 11pm at the Ivy Ballroom. For more information click here.