Bindi Irwin named ‘Ally of the Year’ at Australian LGBTI Awards

Bindi Irwin has been named LGBTI Ally of the Year for her work supporting marriage equality.

The announcement was made at the second annual Australian LGBTI Awards which were held at a black tie event in Sydney on Friday night.

Irwin was recognised for her strong support of marriage equality on social media and her work encouraging Australians to vote YES during the marriage postal survey last year.

Irwin beat a strong field of contenders for the award, the other nominees included singer Christine Anu, television personality David Campbell, marriage equality campaigner Frances Abbott, actor Hugo Weaving, radio personality Kyle Sandilands, Laurelle Mellet – the mother of singer Troy Sivan, singer Ricki Lee Coulter, actor Samuel Johnson and the Mayor of Hobart Sue Hickey.

The awards attracted over 11,000 nominations and over 20,000 votes were cast across a range of categories.

Respected LGBTI rights activist Peter De Waal was given the Lifetime Achievement Award.

De Waal appeared in the media last year pleading with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to bring in marriage equality before Peter Bonsall-Boone, his partner of five decades passed away. Sadly Bonsall-Boone lost his battle with cancer in May 2017.

De Waal was a founding member of C.A.M.P, the Campaign Against Moral Persecution, which fought for gay rights in the 1970’s. The couple made history when they appeared on the ABC program Chequerboard in 1972. It was the first time a same gender kiss was aired on Australian TV, and Australians were shown that gay couples lives are not remarkable.

They founded the Phone-A-Friend helpline which continues today as the Gay and Lesbian Counselling Service, and were marchers in the very Mardi Gras in 1978.

“The very first parade in 1978 in Oxford Street there was no community welcoming us, there was no community cheering us on. There was hostility in general.” De Waal reflected.

The LGBTI rights campaigner said now when he marches with the 78ers in the parade he was overwhelmed by the community support shown.

De Waal said while the LGBTI community was celebrating a great victory with marriage equality being passed in 2017, he held concerns for the current government review into religious freedoms in Australia.

“We, as a community, need to mobilise to fight these proposed regressive measures.” De Waal said.

De Waal also encouraged younger LGBTI rights activists to support those living in Sydney’s western suburbs where the marriage postal survey revealed there was still a high level of opposition to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Alex Greenwich, who was co-chair of Australian Marriage Equality was named Politician of the Year. Sports Personality of the Year went to tennis champion Casey Dellacqua.

Comedian Joel Creasey was named Presenter of the Year, the new category replaces the former Journalist of the Year category which the awards decided to discontinue after there was mixed feedback from news reporters.

Magda Szubanski was named Celebrity of the Year, while country music singer Beccy Cole was awarded the Musician of the Year trophy.

Airbnb picked up the Best Marketing gong for their ‘Until We all Belong’ campaign for marriage equality. Alcohol supplier Brown-Forman were named Organisation of the Year. While Australian Post was acknowledged for their LGBTI network.

Community Initiative of the Year was won by AFL team the Sydney Swans for their Pride match, while Eurovision star Conchita Wurst was named International Icon of 2018. Wurst’s home city of Vienna was named International Destination of 2018.

SBS won the Best Brand award, and QANTAS chief Alan Joyce was given the International Role Model award. Orange is the New Black was named best TV series and Dr Kerryn Phelps was honoured as 2018 Hero of the Year.

OIP Staff

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