Community heroes who fought for decades to expose hate crimes against the LGBTIQA community in NSW will be the 2023 group recipient of the ACON President’s Award at this year’s Honour Awards in Sydney’s Ivy Ballroom.
The news comes as NSW awaits the findings of the Special Commission of Inquiry into LGBTIQ Hate Crimes which must deliver its final report to the Governor of NSW by 30 August.
The ACON President’s Award is bestowed annually to those whose community service have made a significant impact to the lives of people in LGBTIQA communities in NSW.
Singled out for their work in fighting for justice for hate crimes victims are:
-Former detectives Steve Page and Duncan McNab
-Former NSW Police Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officer and advocate Sue Thompson
-Investigative journalists Rick Feneley and Greg Callaghan
-Historian Garry Wotherspoon
-Sydney lawyer Nicholas Stewart
-Criminologist and academic Stephen Tomsen
-Former Deputy Coroner, Magistrate Jacqueline Milledge
-Victims advocate Peter Rolfe
-US entrepreneur and justice advocate Steve Johnson and US journalist Daniel Glick
ACON President Dr Justin Koonin said that while the award was being bestowed on this group of individuals, ACON acknowledged everyone who had played a part in this struggle and the award was also meant to honour all the victims and their families and loved ones.
“For years, sexuality and gender diverse people in NSW were subjected to horrific hate crimes,” Koonin said earlier today.
“Many were exposed to further pain and trauma due to the slow and inadequate responses to these heinous acts. As hate and violence gripped Sydney and NSW, our communities suffered, with little support or forthcoming action.
Community had to fight for justice
Koonin said it had often been left to advocates and allies to draw attention to these atrocities due to failures in investigating them, and that they had shined a light on this dark time of NSW’s history.
“It is only through their relentless pursuit for the truth that we are now on the long road towards justice and healing – a journey made possible by the brave and persistent actions of these defenders,” Koonin said.
“Of course, there have been many others on this journey so we also pay tribute to all who have contributed to efforts to support victims of gay and transgender hate crimes, and all who continue to persevere in their pursuit for truth and justice, including the many parliamentarians, journalists, academics, activists, legal professionals, community advocates, LGBTQ community members, groups and allies.
“And in honouring this important work, we also remember the victims of LGBTQ hate crimes in NSW and pay tribute to the courage, strength and resilience of survivors and loved ones.”
The ACON President’s Award is among 10 awards to be presented at Honour 2023.
Past recipients of the ACON President’s Award include one of Australia’s first gay political organisations, CAMP INC; HIV pioneers Professor David Cooper AC and The Kirby Institute; the NSW Parliamentary LGBTI Cross Party Working Group; the staff and patients of St Vincent’s Hospital’s Ward 17 South; and NSW Chief Medical Officer Dr Kerry Chant & NSW Health.
Thirty-six finalists across nine categories covering the media, arts, HIV, health, youth, business and community sectors will be recognised at this year’s event and will be joined by over 300 guests including a range of media, arts, entertainment and community figures.
First held in 2007, Honour is also a gala fundraiser for ACON and all funds raised at the Honour Awards go back into assisting the community through ACON’s health programs and services.
Honour Awards 2023 is on Wednesday 23 August at the Ivy Ballroom Sydney.
For more information go to www.honourawards.com.au
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