Josh Goyne, self-titled ‘gay cowboy’ and the face of Stroke Support and Awareness Australia (SSAA), is again soliciting for public donations. QNews previously reported on SSAA’s apparent failure to properly account for charitable donations. We have now updated this article with a look back to the events that allegedly inspired a 2017 viral news story about Goyne. At that time, the ‘gay cowboy’ became a public figure following claims he made about death threats on the competitive bull riding circuit.
Updates at bottom of the article include the truth about the false allegation that a rodeo contractor snapped Goyne’s ankles in 2016 and intended to kill him.
Join the conversation with a comment below the article.
Joshua Goyne, the founder and former Vice-President of SSAA, recently solicited donations for a new cause — a gay rights ‘billaboard’ [sic] on the Hume Highway.
Goyne’s fundraising history
Despite relinquishing SSAA’s registration with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) in November 2020, Goyne continues to promote SSAA as one of Australia’s leading stroke charities.
“We deliver stroke services across Australia, campaign for better stroke care, invest in research and fundraise to expand our reach to as many stroke survivors as possible.”
The only one of those claims that a 2020 QNews investigation could substantiate was that the charity fund-raised.
QNews forwarded the results of our investigation to the ACNC. The commission then requested SSAA answer a number of questions.
SSAA relinquishes registration
On 5 November 2020, SSAA voluntarily relinquished its registration with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC).
But on that same morning, Joshua Goyne posted an appeal for donations on one of his Facebook pages.
Goyne has Facebook pages under various names including one Josh Goyne, a second Josh Goyne, plus Josh Fearnley and Jo’shua Scott, in addition to the Gay Cowboy, Down Under’Wear International, Buckin’ Mad Western Wear, Gay Rodeo Australia, SSAA and who knows how many others. He also utilises TikTok and Instagram pages. Goyne appears to curate the content of individual pages to appeal to different audiences.
Following the publication of a QNews article on the relinquishment, Goyne claimed in a video that the ACNC recommended a particular course of action.
“We worked with the ACNC on this, and they said to deregister and re-register with our new board which is what we are doing.”
He said similar in a Facebook post.
QNews contacted the ACNC regarding Goyne’s claims.
A spokesperson for the ACNC replied on 16 November 2020.
QNews: 1/ [Is] phoenixing permissible – voluntarily revoking the registration of a charity in order to immediately re-register with a new board – and with the previous financial history of the charity thereby erased?
ACNC: A charity that had its registration revoked voluntarily can apply for registration again. If, as the same entity with the same ABN, it meets the eligibility requirements and is registered again, its full financial information should be available again on the Charity Register.
There is no requirement that a charity be registered with the ACNC. However, a charity must be registered to be eligible for Commonwealth tax concessions.
The Charity Register shows the voluntary revocation of Strokes Support and Awareness Australia Incorporated took effect on 5 November 2020.
QNews: 2/ [Is] the ACNC working with the former Vice President of Stroke Support and Awareness Australia to resurrect the same entity with a new board.
ACNC: Due to secrecy provisions in the legislation that established the ACNC, we are prevented from commenting on the circumstances of individual charities.
However, the ACNC does not work with anyone to establish an entity. Once we receive an application, we may clarify aspects of it that are unclear or incomplete by communicating with the applicant about the details, but we do not work with anyone to set up an entity. All charity applications must meet the legal requirements to become registered as a charity.
On the morning of 18 February 2021, Facebook banned Australian news services from its platform.
That evening, Josh Goyne posted to his Gay Cowboy Facebook page celebrating the deletion of ‘defamatory articles’. (He since deleted that post.)
However, the articles he referenced remained, and remain, accessible on the QNews website.
Within half an hour, Goyne renewed his fund-raising efforts.
He posted an appeal for donations to raise funds for a ‘gay rights billaboard’ [sic] on the Hume Highway.
The billboard Goyne claims he is renting is beside the Money Money Parking Bay on the Hume Highway north-east of Coolac, NSW.
Josh Goyne has insisted in posts and videos that he got a deal on the billboard because he owns the land it is located on.
He does not and never did own the farm.
Goyne’s former partner bought the farm at 7448 Hume Highway on 1 December 2020 with settlement on 11 December 2020. Goyne alleged repeatedly for months before that date and since that he left that partner because of domestic violence and other abuse. On 25 February 2021, Goyne described the man as his ‘violent ex’ in a TikTok video.
As of 17 April, no evidence has emerged to indicate any progress on the ‘gay rights’ billboard. However, Goyne mounted another fundraiser following an alleged ‘homophobic attack’ on his vehicles.
He then ran yet another claiming, again, he ‘lost everything’ following a robbery at ‘his’ farm. As Goyne attended court within days of the ‘robbery’ in an attempt to reclaim his possessions, it appears he was in fact evicted from his former partner’s property north of Coolac NSW.
(Among Goyne’s alleged stolen possessions — his grandfather’s ashes. Goyne previously claimed in one video that those ashes were scattered on Elephant Rock off Currumbin, and in another video that they were washed away in a February 2020 flood, when he again lost all his possessions, as opposed to the time his warehouse was robbed, or the time his car was firebombed — that’s the Sydney arson attack — not the Tamworth one — and different to the recent tyre-slashing — and not one of his various stolen vehicles — a different vehicle.)
24 page PDF – Goyne’s fundraising 2017-early 2020
Please find following a downloadable PDF of our research material regarding Goyne’s fundraising activities in the years 2017 – early 2020.
We will at some stage add a PDF compiled from our later research into his fundraising activity prior to those years.
The Gay Cowboy from Go to Woe
Marginalised communities love to see a member triumph over adversity. Such people become community heroes by overcoming prejudice and discrimination to achieve in their chosen field. Joshua Goyne provided the LGBTIQ+ communities with exactly such a story. He went on to raise substantial sums of money on the back of his heroic narrative, presenting himself as the “Gay Rights Cowboy, fighting for country lgbti rights, respect and values!” He even won a 2017 Brisbane Pride award for his supposed good deeds.
However, it now seems the real story involved little bull-riding but an awful lot of bullshit.
In 2017, the ‘gay cowboy’ received worldwide media coverage (including in this publication) after claiming he received death threats on the Australian rodeo circuit. He also alleged he suffered a severe injury after a rodeo contractor rigged his rope. Goyne now says that the contractor, in fact, intended to kill him. QNews spoke to the contractor at the centre of the claims.
Goyne claimed that the death threats resulted from homophobia on the rodeo circuit.
In an article at news.com.au, the ‘teenage farmer’ and ‘competitive bull rider’ said the homophobia, on at least one occasion, extended beyond threats to physical harm.
“Mr Goyne said he had been the victim of a number of homophobic incidents, including at a rodeo where he claimed a contractor rigged his riding ropes causing him to snap his ankles.”
Numerous media outlets took Goyne at his word and published his allegations without any attempt at verification.
On Saturday, 6 March 2021, Goyne expanded on those claims in a video posted to TikTok.
“Could have killed me… and that was his intent.”
Goyne recorded the video as he prepared to attend the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade.
“Five years ago today, I was riding bulls at the Stanthorpe Rodeo when a homophobic contractor could have killed me… and that was his intent.
“He rigged my bull, he rigged my ropes, and he threw the chute when the bull went down after I was told to get off the bull and get a re-ride.
“After this, he told me he didn’t want a fag winning the rodeo and making everyone look bad.”
In comments posted alongside the video, Goyne named Queensland company Hall Rodeo.
The following day, he posted another video. It displayed text over footage of Goyne in the stands at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade.
“The homophobe that broke my ankle just asked me to call him.
“So I posted his number all over Grindr, escort ads and every spam service possible.”
QNews notes it is a crime in Australia to employ a phone or the internet in a menacing, harassing or offensive way.
QNews contacted Jason Hall of Hall Rodeo, the company Goyne named. Jason Hall is also Chairman of the National Rodeo Association (NRA).
“I remember meeting Josh Goyne at the 2016 Pittsworth Show Rodeo, the night before the Stanthorpe Rodeo. As I normally do at Stanthorpe, I worked as the rodeo announcer and stood near the gates where the bulls are released to call the action. I did not work as a chute boss at that rodeo so therefore was not responsible for either mounting riders or opening gates.
“I remember seeing Josh Goyne mount the bull. It then sat down and Josh hit his lower leg against the chute. Josh dismounted, and the chute boss told him he’d line up another bull. However, Josh went out the back and never returned for his re-ride.”
‘Rigging’ the bull and ropes.
“Neither I nor the chute boss could ‘rig’ the bull. Contractors have no control over the selection of bulls for the riders. Rodeo officials conduct the draws before the event. Chute bosses then instruct riders as to which bull they get on.
“Nor could I or the chute boss ‘rig’ a bull rider’s rope. Riders provide their own rope and place it on the bull. The ropes used in bull riding are loose and designed to drop away from the animal when the rider lets go. My father founded Hall Rodeo in the 1960s, and I have been involved in bull-riding since childhood. I do not recall a single instance of a rope injuring a rider’s ankle.”
(QNews checked the NRA Rulebook, which states, “All stock to be drawn prior to the commencement of the contest.”
We also independently verified with other rodeo associations that it is standard practice for riders to provide their own rope and position it on the bull.)
“I met Josh when a local introduced him as a lad from out of town who wanted to compete in the Junior Bull Ride. I made no comments about his sexuality. No one mentioned he was gay and I had never heard of ‘The Gay Cowboy’. Not that it mattered. There are gay riders on the rodeo circuit. That has never been an issue. I am not homophobic, and would never use homophobic or other slurs against a bull rider or anyone else. I believe in diversity and inclusion. In my day job, I proudly participate in programs and events designed to make our workplace one where everyone belongs.”
(A gay man who travels the Australian rodeo circuit with his male partner told QNews in 2020 that their sexuality was not an issue. He said he never heard of Josh Goyne before the 2017 news articles. No one he knew on the circuit could remember ever meeting Goyne.)
Josh Goyne claimed in a comment posted to TikTok to possess video and eyewitness accounts of the Stanthorpe incident. He did not provide evidence.
However, QNews found a first-hand account posted the day following the incident by a participant.
That version of events matches what Jason Hall previously told us.
An eyewitness account
The person who posted about the incident on 6 March 2016 was, in fact, ‘gay cowboy’ Josh Goyne. On that date, he described the events of the day in a post on his Gay Cowboy Facebook page.
“Last night didn’t go exactly as planned. Whoops.
“Chute didn’t open right away, and the bull sat down then spun my ankle into the hinge when it opened up — lucky I didn’t break my leg.”
No mention of homophobia, rigged bull draws, rigged ropes, malpractice or attempted murder.
No mention of a broken ankle — in fact, Goyne explicitly states that he didn’t break his leg.
The NRA provided QNews with a copy of the Injury Report for the 2016 Stanthorpe Rodeo. It lists Goyne as suffering “injured tendon ankle.”
Josh Goyne, Competitive Bull Rider
Josh Goyne entered a Junior Bull Riding event at Pittsworth on 4 March 2016 and the same at Stanthorpe the following day. Video of the Pittsworth competition shows his first ride lasted about three seconds. At Stanthorpe, he never left the chute.
QNews could find no evidence of Goyne participating as a contestant in any other rodeos before his 2017 allegations.
It appears that in 2017, the Gay Cowboy described himself as a competitive bull rider based on just three thrilling — but ultimately disappointing — seconds.
We always keep the receipts
QNews exists to celebrate our communities and hold their enemies to account.
It is sad to report on the enemy within.
QNews does not make spurious allegations, nor does it suppose anything. We do not hazard guesses or put two and two together.
We only report facts we possess documentary evidence of.
And we always keep the receipts. We save everything.
This writer gave up offering Joshua Goyne the right of reply after he responded to early inquiries by calling me a ‘dumb as dogshit tr*nny c*nt’.
My publisher was the recipient of equally vile slurs, much of it published on social media.
Goyne and his enablers attempted to bully QNews and when that failed, attacked our advertisers.
Our communities need heroes, but real heroes, not bullies or relentlessly self-promoting liars who invent death threats and defame innocent people as attempted murderers while living off the proceeds of never-ending ‘fundraising’.
For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.