The 2020 Honours List announced tonight sees Carlotta awarded a Member of the Order of Australia. Carlotta received her award for services to the entertainment business and the LGBTIQ community.
QNews spoke with Carlotta last week.
The legendary showgirl began her career as an original cast member of the famous Kings Cross Les Girls in the early 1960s. She quickly rose to become the compere and the show’s biggest star. In 1973, she became the first trans actress to play a trans character on TV anywhere in the world.
It’s difficult to explain to younger generations of the LGBTIQ communities the importance of Les Girls in the 1960s and 70s. That show provided virtually the only positive visible presence of LGBTIQ people in Australia. Carlotta and Les Girls showed us light at the end of the tunnel — the possibility of acceptance.
Carlotta went on to a 54-year career in cabaret and television. She told us she will never retire.
“I’m 76 now, but I have no intention of sitting on my bum. There’s too much I still want to do.”
Carlotta said her heart was with the firies as she accepts her award.
“I really think all the awards this year should have gone to the brave people fighting the fires.
“I’m happy to receive the award for my 54 years in entertainment. However, regarding services to the LGBTIQ community, I dedicate that to all my friends who’ve worked quietly in the background with little acknowledgment.”
She described her friend of many decades, Toye de Wilde, as a ‘living treasure’. But she also appreciates the younger performers.
“My late friend Simone Troye and I recognised Courtney Act’s talent from the beginning. We knew she would become a star. She is so talented and such a lovely person.
“Our youth are our future. They may struggle to understand us oldies at times, and we may struggle to understand them, but really, we’re all fighting the same fight.
“I am especially concerned about youth suicide in our community though. Because so many of us are so open now, it’s easy to lose sight of all the poor kids unable to come out of the closet and in danger of self-harm. We must do everything we can to support them.”
Thank you Carlotta for your many contributions to our communities over the years and we look forward to many more. Carlotta, Queen of the Cross AM.
Other Australians recognised for their service to the LGBTIQ communities included Georgie Stone and her mother Rebekah Robertson, Janine Middleton, and Sarah Midgley.
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