As Australia pauses to honour all of the brave men and women who have served our nation during the ANZAC day centenary, QNews would like to take this opportunity pay our respects. We would also like to acknowledge the many LGBT Australians who have served our country as members of our defence forces. One such person is Trevor Robinson OAM, who as Rod Gardiner reports, has spent a lifetime dedicated to serving his country and the Queensland LGBT community.
He freely admits that mowing grass is not his thing but Trevor Robinson certainly never lets the grass grow under his feet.
The 81-year-old army veteran has dedicated many years of his life as an advocate for human rights, particularly in regards to the LGBT community.
Trevor is a former long-serving president of the Gay & Lesbian Immigration Task Force (GLITF) Queensland branch which he co-founded in 1995.
He has also spent many years volunteering at the Refugee & Immigration Legal Service as well as serving on the Queensland Executive Committee of the Migration Institute of Australia.
The GLITF’s charter is to help gay and lesbian Australians bring their partners to Australia with Permanent Residency Status and Trevor has helped hundreds of same-sex couples achieve that goal.
In his submission to the Senate Legal and Constitution Commission inquiry into administration and operation of the Migration Act 1958, he said: “Relationships have no limits. We spend our whole lives as living proof of this in a heterosexual world! Not only is love not limited by gender, love is not limited by culture or international borders.”
Trevor has spent countless hours over the years trying to cut through the bureaucratic red tape which has assisted hundreds of gay and lesbian immigrants to settle in Australia with their same-sex partners and gained legal protection for those facing real danger, abuse and discrimination.
But then, Trevor never was one to shy away from a battle. After all, he was a Warrant Officer in the Australian Army and is one of the few remaining survivors of the British atomic bomb tests at Maralinga (South Australia) in 1956.
While history records too little of that catastrophic experiment, it left an indelible mark on the 15,000 servicemen who were exposed to it.
From a personal viewpoint, Trevor has suffered the consequences of the deadly cocktail that was the nuclear blasts.
After being used as a “human guinea pig”, he has undergone three hip replacements and been unable to lie in bed other than on his back for more than 50 years. He has lived on Celebrex tablets for decades, takes iron tablets daily and also has regular Neo-B12 injections simply to survive.
Veteran journalist Frank Walker concurs. In his book, Maralinga: The Great Betrayal, he claims Menzies was indeed the chief villain.
“Australians were there simply to provide the labour, the bodies needed to get the tests done, the land to explode the bombs on, and, as it was later revealed, to function as lab rats for the British scientists.
For Walker, it is inexcusable that successive Australian and British governments have largely preferred to minimise or avoid taking responsibility for the toxic legacy of the atomic tests left in the landscape itself as well as in the illnesses and damaged genes of the servicemen purposefully exposed to high doses of radiation.
In 2001, Dr Sue Rabbit Roff, a researcher from the University of Dundee, uncovered documentary evidence that troops had been ordered to run, walk and crawl across areas contaminated by the tests in the days immediately following the detonations.
Dr Roff stated that “it puts the lie to the British government’s claim that they never used humans for guinea pig-type experiments in nuclear weapons trials in Australia.”
Trevor is also a British Commonwealth Occupation Force member having served in Japan for almost two years, including three months at Kure, near Hiroshima, where the infamous “Little Boy” atomic bomb destroyed the city on August 6, 1945, leaving 92,000 (and arguably many tens of thousands more) people dead or missing.
That bomb and another day later at Nagasaki changed the course of history with Japan surrendering to the Allies and effectively bringing an end to World War II.
These days, Trevor proudly leads the Nuclear Veterans March on Anzac Day each year.
When Trevor received his Order of Australia (OAM) medal in 2013, Q News publisher said it all: “This award has been given to one of the nicest, most hard-working, generous and humble gay men in Queensland.
“I am sure the community and the many people Trevor has helped would be extremely proud of him and he truly deserves the recognition.”
Trevor, you’re a hero to the LGBT community and we salute you!