Community champions

Community champions

Lauren Jackson – Captain, Australian Opals Basketball Team; Flag bearer, Australian Olympic Team

“Everyone deserves the right to live as equals. Life is what we make it, we MUST make it PERFECTLY equal.”

Jason Ball – Yarra Valley Football Club player and anti-homophobia campaigner

“While I was able to tell my family and school friends that I was gay, the football club felt like the one place that I would never be able to come out. Homophobic slurs were a regular part of training and the game, and those words were a constant reminder to me that I would not be accepted for who I was. But it doesn’t have to be like that. With the right awareness, education and good role models, sport too can become a safe and welcoming place for the GLBTI community.”

Gus Johnston – Creative director, filmmaker, hockey player and anti-homophobia campaigner

“Homophobia is easy to ignore. That’s why so many of us stand to one side, on sporting fields, in offices and out at pubs, seemingly complacent to its effect. We ignore throwaway comments and think that no one really notices, that no one really cares. And over time, this kind of homophobic behaviour builds, for many Gay and Lesbian people, an insurmountable wall. But as easy as homophobia is to ignore, it can also be destroyed. Help break down that wall which holds back so many extraordinary people. Say no to homophobia.”

Todd Sampson – CEO, Leo Burnett; TV presenter

“It’s curious that homosexuality exists in over 460 species but homophobia only exists in one. Ironically, it’s our powerful brain that makes us unique, but it can also make us blindingly stupid. Maybe the commercial world’s increasing need for the highly valuable pink dollar will help save us from ourselves.”

Chrissie Swan – TV and radio presenter

“Australia has always been the country of the ‘fair go’ – where every one of us can flourish according to our talents and aspirations. Homophobia cuts people down and often leads to depression and other serious health problems. We’ve seen campaigns to stamp out racism and sexism and now it’s time for a major campaign like this to stamp out homophobia. There’s no place for it in our community.”

Natalie Bassingthwaighte – Actor, singer/songwriter and TV presenter

“It’s about time we stand together to wipe out homophobia. I will not tolerate people being discriminated against and neither should you.”

Daniel Kowalski – Australian Olympic Swimmer, gold medalist and world champion

Tom Ballard – Comedian and radio presenter

“Homophobia sucks. It’s pointless, just like golf. There’s absolutely no reason for it to be a reality in 2012 and every single one of us has an obligation to wipe it out wherever and whenever we see it in action. I’m proud to say no to homophobia.”

Tony Briffa – Former Mayor, Hobson’s Bay City Council—Australia’s first intersex mayor—President of the Genetic Support Network of Victoria, Vice President of Intersex International Australia and Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome Support Group Australia

“I urge everyone to support the campaign to stop inappropriate, discriminatory and harassing behaviour against people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex. Discrimination and harassment are unlawful and this campaign will help raise awareness while promoting acceptance.”

Benjamin Law – Writer

“All around the country right now, people are being verbally abused and physically assaulted because they’re queer. People hide their identities – at school, in their workplaces, from their families, from their friends –because of homophobia. This has to stop. If you’re a teacher or parent, remind young people there’s nothing wrong with being gay, and there is something wrong with being bigoted. If you’re a member of a religious group, remind your leaders and members of your community that yours is a religion of love. And if you’re someone who’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer or questioning, remember you’re not alone, reach out for support and remember it gets better. Say no to homophobia.”

Jordie Lane – Singer/Songwriter

“A person’s sexual preference has never had any bearing on how I’ve viewed them. Unfortunately, many people do attach a negative stigma to homosexuality and that is why this campaign is very important. We all have a role to play in putting a stop to abuse, harassment and discrimination and that is why I am proud to support this campaign.”

Matt Day – Actor

“If Australia really is the land of the fair-go, then there is nothing more un-Australian than hatred and bigotry. It’s time for all of us to take a stand. Say no to homophobia.”

Emma Ayres – Musician and radio presenter

“Imagine being spat at, shouted at, abused, simply for being who you are. Imagine being told that the way you feel is evil. That is how huge numbers of gay people are made to feel every day; for some it becomes too much and they decide to end their lives. As a lesbian I have had to endure many different types of abuse, some of which has made me afraid to simply be myself. You can help change this for thousands, even millions of people around Australia, by stopping using the word ‘gay’ in a derogatory way and stopping judging homosexual people by their sexuality. After all, we don’t judge you by yours.”

Catherine Deveny – Comedian and writer

“Being gay is not a lifestyle choice. Being a homophobe is.”

Paige Phoenix – Musician, X-Factor contestant and trans-activist

“Coming out as a transman on national television was terrifying for me. I had no idea how the public would respond. We seem to fear what we don’t know, but my willingness to be myself and be honest about my story gave me and the folks watching a chance to learn something and break down the fear of the unknown. If you encounter discrimination or violence that relates to being different, it’s absolutely essential that you use the networks and supports available to you to ensure that people are held accountable so that it doesn’t happen to someone else.”

Daniel Witthaus – Author, Beyond ‘That’s So Gay’; Founder, National Institute of Challenging Homophobia Education (NICHE)

“There has never been a better time to be L, G, B, T or I in Australia. After driving to every nook and cranny of this country and having 100s and 100s of cuppas with everyday Australians, it’s clear that you can thrive anywhere. However unless you are known, liked and it’s convenient, then your experience is likely to be the same as what it was 10-15 years ago. If that’s progress, we can do better.”