ACON (AIDS Council Of NSW) held its annual Honour Awards on 3 October to recognise the unsung heroes, community champions, organisations and long-standing allies of the LGBTIQ community who are fighting for rights and equality.
Among them was writer and artist, Samuel Leighton-Dore who received the Best Australian Visual Artist for his work exploring masculinity.
“To have people respond positively to my work is incredibly affirming,” he said.
“Australia’s queer community has given me such a profound sense of belonging and purpose since I came out in high school. It really empowered me when I was unsure of my place in the world,” Leighton-Dore said in an interview with SBS Voices.
Leighton-Dore was one of 200 nominees for awards across nine categories including business, community, entertainment, health, HIV, media and culture, visual arts and youth.
Other award winners were Community Hero Holly Conroy for her documentary Untold Australia: Country Town Pride and for being a driving force behind Wagga Wagga’s first ever Pride parade last year.
The Sydney chapter of PFLAG received the Community Organisation award for its work in supporting friends and family of LGBTIQ people. Other award winners were broadcaster, journalist and comedian Julie McCrossin and community historian Robert French, who both received the President’s Award, journalist Peter FitzSimons received the Media Award, and Liam Davies received the Young Achiever Award for his work advocating and supporting rural and regional LGBTIQ communities.