Steve Ostrow OAM, a pillar of the LGBTQIA+ community in Sydney, passed away yesterday aged 91.
Ostrow founded the Mature Aged Gays project in 1991 as a safe place where older gay men could meet and socialise, and served as its president until 2013.
He was also a volunteer for ACON over many years and in 2021 was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his work advancing LGBTQIA+ rights.
“We have lost a true pioneer in our communities,” ACON said in sharing the news online.
“For many years, Steve was a longstanding, much-loved member of the team at ACON, volunteering on support helplines and working on safer sex campaigns during the most harrowing times of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
“Before moving to Sydney in 1987, Steve owned New York’s renowned Continental gay bathhouse – the venue that famously gave stars Bette Midler and Barry Manilow an early boost to their careers.
“Previously Steve had been a singer for the New York City Opera. He was also instrumental in USA and New York state law reform during the ‘70s and ‘80s.
“Steve will be remembered as a one-of-a-kind: a gentleman, charismatic, determined, kind, fascinating and giving. He loved people, our communities, music, his family and so much more.
“Many of us at ACON feel lucky to have met and worked with Steve, and incredibly grateful for the work that he did for our communities, which continues to resonate and make an impact today.
“We would also like to pay tribute to, and thank, the ACON staff members who supported Steve in the later part of his life.”
ACON will share details of a memorial service for Steve Ostrow as soon as they come to hand.
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