Equality champions and rights defenders honoured at annual LGBTIQ Community Awards

ACON 2019 Honour AwardsUnsung heroes, community champions, organisations and long-standing allies of sexuality and gender diverse people dedicated to fighting for LGBTIQ rights and equality, were among a diverse mix of people and groups recognised this week at the Honour Awards in Sydney.

Over 350 people came together at the Ivy Ballroom on Wednesday evening (2 October) to celebrate LGBTIQ community members whose work have made a difference to the lives of sexuality and gender diverse people in NSW. Winners were selected from a diverse field of 32 finalists, drawn from over 200 nominations.

Now in its 13th year, the Honour Awards is an annual celebration of outstanding service and achievements in the LGBTIQ community in NSW, and a gala fundraising event for ACON.

ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill congratulated the winners and all the finalists on their achievements and community service. “Last night’s awards were a truly inspirational and thoroughly entertaining evening, serving as an amazing celebration of the vibrant, strength and resiliency of our communities,” said  Mr Parkhill.

“I’d like to thank all the people who submitted nominations, our independent judging panel, as well as all our guests for coming along and supporting ACON.”

For more information about the Honour Awards, visit: www.honourawards.com.au for details.

Image: Recipients of the 2019 Honour Awards – courtesy of ACON


Holly Conroy: For her tireless efforts to provide visibility of the trans experience, foster greater inclusion and facilitate a space where LGBTIQ community members can be celebrated in regional NSW. Holly was a driving force behind the first Wagga Wagga Mardi Gras Festival in 2019, which became one of the biggest LGBTIQ celebrations ever held in the Riverina. A dedicated volunteer and community advocate, Holly also gives her time to support many of Wagga Wagga’s local LGBTIQ community groups.

Julie McCrossin AM and Robert French: For their outstanding and decades-long dedication to fighting and advocating for LGBTIQ equality. McCrossin, who is a broadcaster, journalist and comedian, along with community historian Robert French – both who are 78ers – played instrumental roles in raising the visibility of LGBTIQ people in NSW, advocating for their rights, and supporting the health and wellbeing of the community.

PFLAG: For decades of providing support, care and information to families and friends of LGBTIQ people. Over the years, PFLAG has become a beacon of strength and hope for many LGBTIQ people and their families.

YOUNG ACHIEVER AWARD: (Presented by people2people)
Liam Davies: For his work in advocating and supporting rural and regional LGBTIQ communities in NSW, particularly in improving the mental health and wellbeing of young community members. Liam was a founding member and organiser of the Rainbow on the Plains Festival in Hay, the vice chair of Hay Mardi Gras, as well as a runner-up for Mr Gay Pride Australia 2019.

MEDIA AWARD: (Presented by Dowson Turco Lawyers)
Peter FitzSimons: For his courage, tenacity and leadership as a journalist, columnist and presenter, speaking out on key sporting issues affecting LGBTIQ people. Peter uses his substantial platform to advocate for greater inclusion and diversity within Australian sport and society, and continues to support projects and initiatives that stamp out homophobia and prejudice in sport.

Elizabeth Griggs: For almost three decades of providing care and support for people living with HIV as a nurse, originally starting at the Albion Centre in Surry Hills. Since then, Elizabeth has worked in numerous community-based HIV services, including the Kirketon Road Centre and the Medically Supervised Injecting Centre, and currently works as a clinical nurse consultant at RPA Sexual Health Centre.

HEALTH & WELLBEING: (Presented by GLYDE Health)
Cristyn Davies: For internationally renowned work in gender and sexuality diverse child and adolescent health research in the Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney, and The Children’s Hospital Westmead, and her passion for addressing health inequities in young LGBTIQ people on a global scale.

Samuel Leighton-Dore: A multidisciplinary artist and writer based on the Gold Coast, Samuel has a keen interest in mental health and masculinity, which is reflected in his work spanning ceramics, LED neon, illustration, animation, writing and painting.

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT AWARD: (Presented by Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras)
Queerstories: For bringing together people from all sections of the LGBTIQ community through storytelling and spoken word events, and providing an important platform for performance and self-expression, both in regional and metropolitan centres.

BUSINESS AWARD: (Presented by Sydney Gay and Lesbian Business Association)
Belloccio Restaurant: For creating a popular gay-owned and operated diner on Oxford Street. Since its establishment in 2013, Belloccio Restaurant has supported a broad range of LGBTIQ charities, and it has also showcased many local performers, providing a platform for established artists and nurturing emerging talent.