Pioneering Australian LGBTI activists Peter de Waal and his late partner Peter Bonsall-Boone have been announced as the recipients of the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award at the Australian LGBTI Awards next year.
The inaugural LGBTI Awards were held during this year’s Mardi Gras and saw community leaders, celebrities and organisations celebrating the LGBTI community.
The couple will be honoured at the Awards’ 2018 gala dinner in March next year, as the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras celebrates its historic 40th birthday.
Known to friends as Peter and Bon, the couple met each other in 1966 and in 1972 they were interviewed by the ABC and shared a brief kiss, a controversial first for Australian television.
They were founding members of Australia’s first LGBTI rights group Campaign Against Moral Persecution (CAMP) and established Phone-A-Friend – now the NSW Gay and Lesbian Counselling Service – from their home.
The couple were also 78ers – two of the protesters who clashed with police at the first Sydney Mardi Gras march in June 1978.
“Peter de Waal and his partner have been an integral and inspirational part in making this community in Australia what it is today,” the Awards’ director Silke Bader said.
“We want to celebrate and commend them for their efforts and the sacrifices made throughout the years.”
In June, Bon sadly passed away at age 78 following a battle with cancer. De Waal remembered his partner as “courageous, humble, forgiving, modest and generous” who dedicated himself to helping others at a memorial service in June.
The theme of next year’s Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras will be “40 Years of Evolution” and to mark the milestone, this year’s program contains a number of retrospective events exploring the last four decades of the LGBTI community.