Lifetime Achievement Award for community stalwart Bill Rutkin

mental health lifetime achievement hureed

The Queensland Mental Health Commission last week presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to LGBTIQA+ community stalwart Bill Rutkin OAM. The award recognises his ‘distinguished service, significant contribution, and leadership in the alcohol and other drugs sector’.

The Mental Health Commission cited Bill as proof that ‘progressive social reform is driven by the grassroots and members of society driven by principles of social justice’.

Bill Rutkin was a founding member, inaugural treasurer, and later President of the Queensland AIDS Council (QC). As a longtime member of the Queensland Intravenous AIDS Association (QuIVVA), he was instrumental in establishing the Queensland Injectors Health Network (QuIHN). He continues to serve on the boards of both organisations.

In 2021, Bill Rutkin also joined the board of Just.Equal, Australia’s national LGBTIQA+ advocacy group.

Awarded an OAM for services to community health in 1994, he also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Brisbane Pride at Brisbane’s annual Queens Ball.


In 1987, Bill Rutkin began supporting HIV programs and gay law reform advocates in Africa. During the early AIDS crisis, he recognised something later made much of during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Until we are all safe, none of us are safe.

Bill told QNews he is particularly proud of his work with HUREED, the Ugandan human rights and community health organisation.

“HUREED supports our Ugandan brothers and sisters. But beyond that, it tackles violence and stigma by advocating for equitable access to health, legal justice, and social inclusion.

“The organisation fights against seemingly insurmountable odds, but just keeps going, and step by step, achieves wins for the community.

“Sadly, LGBTIQA+ people in countries with anti-LGBTIQA+ regimes continue to suffer harm not only because of their own governments but because of prejudice and discrimination in other countries.

“Backward steps like the holding of the World Cup in Qatar, serve to reinforce stereotypes of LGBTIQA+ people as lesser humans.

“The hideous contagion of antiqueer prejudice, homophobia, and transphobia directly impacts our community members in places like Uganda. It leads to increased violence, up to and including murder and extrajudicial killings.

“Until we are all safe, none of us are safe. I strongly urge anyone who wants to make a real impact in this world for a very small expense, to support the work of HUREED. Even AU$20 can help save a life.”

If you would like to support HUREED, no matter how small a donation, get in touch HERE.

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Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at

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1 Comment

  1. Geoff
    29 November 2022

    Congratulations Bill on a well-deserved award.

    I agree that it is incumbent upon LGBT+ people who live in a relatively affluent and protective country (such as ours) to do our best to help our queer brothers and sisters who cannot speak for themselves. We are family.

    It is the decent human thing to do. Our gay liberation pioneers, and our AIDS activist heroes, would demand no less.

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