Out for Australia highlight role models within LGBTIQ communities

Out for Australia have announced the winners of their 2018 LGBTIQ Role Models Awards. The awards aim to share the inspiring stories of LGBTIQ students and professionals who have made an impact in their communities but are too often overlooked.

The third annual awards ceremony featured keynote speaker Mr Michael Ebeid AM, CEO and Managing Director of SBS, who said the winners for the awards made a significant contribution to their communities.

“The winners of this year’s Out for Australia Role Model Awards have each made a significant contribution to both their organisations and the LGBTIQ community as a whole. The ceremony was a great opportunity to share my experience of the importance of visible role models and at the same time recognise and celebrate these inspirational individuals.” Ebeid said.

The awards consisted of three main categories: students; young professionals; and established professionals, and celebrates unsung LGBTIQ role models throughout Australia.

Isaac Roberts was named Student Role Model of the year. Roberts served as the President of the Indigenous Students Association (ISA) at Macquarie University in 2017. In this role, Isaac worked tirelessly building bridges between his two communities, ensuring that LGBTQ+ Spaces on campus actively included Indigenous students, and vice versa.

Roberts has also become an unofficial point of contact for transmen on campus, especially those looking to commence their transition at university.

Nicholas Steepe won the award for Young Professional of the year. Steepe is the Project Manager, Equity & Diversity for Charles Sturt University.

Steepe is one of the key individuals responsible for the Central West Pride March, and is heavily involved in the Central West Rainbow Alliance, promoting inclusion and support for regional LGBTIQA+ individuals. He also sits on The Pinnacle Foundation Management Committee as the Scholar Advocate, an organisation that provides scholarships and mentorships to disadvantaged and/or marginalised LGBTIQA+ people.

The final award, for Established Professional of the Year was given to Rebecca Johnson.

Johnson is the co-founder of the IndigiLez Women’s Leadership & Support Group, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Lesbian, Same Attracted and Bisexual women. Rebecca is also is a member of Tekwabi Gizz (translation- All of us connected), a national collaboration of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Australian South Sea Islander people and organisations working with LGBTIQ, Sister girl and Brother boy peoples throughout Australia.

Rebecca’s many achievements include creating inclusive services training for LGBTIQ service providers in Queensland, leading consultation for the LGBTI National Ageing and Aged Care, and the Queensland Police Service Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officer Program.

This year, finalist hailed from all corners of the country. OUTinPerth editor Leigh Andrew Hill was among the nominees and travelled from Perth for the ceremony, other nominees came from across Australia including Adelaide to regional NSW.

Luke Furness, the CEO of Out for Australia said it was important to acknowledge the work of role models as they empowered those around them.

“Role models are integral to the empowerment of young LGBTIQ people to be their authentic selves. Out for Australia is grateful to have the opportunity to celebrate these unsung heroes of the LGBTIQ community.” Furness said.

The nominees were selected from suggestions out forward by the public and the final decision was open to a public vote. This year over 1000 votes were cast in the decision making process.

OIP Staff

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