One of Australia’s earliest gay rights campaigners, Brian Day, has been honoured with an Order of Australia Medal (OAM).
The Queenslander received the award on the Queen’s Birthday last week “for service to the community through social welfare advocacy roles” that include being a founding member of the Brisbane branch of CAMP (Campaign Against Moral Persecution) in 1971 and co-founding the Camp Club, Brisbane’s first gay bar, in the 1970s.
“I hope it is inspirational for young gays and lesbians,” Brian told the Sunshine Coast Daily about the accolade.
“I hope that if they see that a gay or lesbian can achieve such an honour on their own terms, that it can be an inspiration for some of them.”
Brian was also at the forefront of the AIDS campaign in the 1980s, as the vice-president and spokesman for the Queensland AIDS Committee when it was formed in 1984 and coordinating the first AIDS workshops when the crisis first struck the community.
He co-founded the Gay and Lesbian Welfare Association (GLWA, now called Diverse Voices) in 1984. He’s worked tirelessly with people living with HIV/AIDs for more than two decades.
Brian has lived in Maleny since 1988 with his life partner of 34 years, Ian. The couple entered into a civil partnership in 2011.
In 2012, Brian founded Maleny’s International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia commemorations.
Speaking to The Courier-Mail last year, when he was honoured as a “local hero” at the Sunshine Coast Pride Festival, Brian stayed humble about his incredible achievements for the local gay community.
“I wouldn’t use the word fight… I’m inclined to think that I tried to create the sort of life that I wanted. It wasn’t what I expected my life to be,” he said.
“It’s really exciting for me that a lot of young queer people are going to be able to make a place for themselves in the world without having to hide that they’re gay. I think communities are lucky if they’ve got a gay or lesbian person in their crowd.
“We are proud of who we are. There’s nothing to be ashamed of any more. Watch out world, here we are.”
Read more about Brian Day here