Honours for LGBTI people and allies
A handful of LGBTI activists and allies received awards in this year’s Australia Day Honours List, most notably long-time AFAO member and supporter Don Baxter, and legal history-maker Edward Young.
The Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations describes Baxter as “the leading pioneer of Australia's HIV/AIDS response”.
"Australia's initial response to the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1980s is rightly acknowledged today as a global benchmark - and Don was a key driver of that," AFAO Executive Director Rob Lake said.
"Don is a true legend of Australia's HIV/AIDS response and I congratulate him warmly on his much-deserved honour today."
Baxter received a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).
Edward Young made history when in 1999 he took a complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission challenging the government’s refusal to grant him a veteran’s spouse pension following the death of his same sex partner, ex-serviceman Larry Cains.
The Commission found in Young’s favour and since then same-sex partners have been entitled to the same benefits opposite sex partners have under veteran’s entitlements law and other forms of discrimination in the Defence Force have also been amended.
Young was honoured with a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).
Above: Edward Young. Top image: Don Baxter
Also honoured with an OAM was the Reverend Father Peter Maher “for service to religion, and to the community through a range of programs promoting acceptance and diversity.” As parish priest of St Joseph's Catholic Church Newtown, since 1997 Maher has provided weekly Friday night mass for LGBT Catholics.
Also on the list is Professor Rob Moodie who was honoured with an AM for his research work into HIV/AIDS and for his leadership in disease prevention programs.
And on a lighter note, among the entertainers honoured this year are gay favourites Jackie Weaver, Nancye Hayes and Rhonda Burchmore, among others.