Tumut-raised marriage equality campaigner Ivan Hinton-Teoh has been nominated in the ‘Hero’ category for this year’s LGBTI awards, and he has a sneaking suspicion it was someone from these parts who put his name up.
“I’ve become aware that nominations came from quite a few sources, and I believe at least one of the nominations may have come from Tumut,” he said.
“It came as a surprise! The majority of my advocacy isn’t necessarily visible to the public so, in a sense, it was a surprise that folk had noticed.”
Ivan is the co-founder of advocacy group just.equal. Prior to starting his own organisation he was the Deputy National Director of Marriage Equality Australia, and more broadly, has dedicated his life to championing the cause of equality for LGBTI Australians.
As you can imagine, the last week has been a busy time for him. Ivan is part of the effort by marriage equality advocates to have the marriage equality postal vote struck down by the High Court.
“We’re currently supporting a High Court case with independent MP Andrew Wilkie, Shelley Argent from PFLAG Australia and Felicity Marlowe, a lesbian mother of three, to clarify whether the government has the legal authority to run this dodgy postal vote,” he explained.
“Opponents of reform have really pushed the government to the edge of its legal authority, perhaps past it, by attempting to circumvent parliamentary processes. We believe there’s a strong chance the High Court will compel the government to return to Parliament on this issue.
“We’ll have a result by September 6 or 7.
“If the High Court case isn’t successful ballots will be mailed out from September 12 (my birthday, unfortunately). From that point, we’ll be asking supporters of marriage equality to return their ballots. Many Australians are pretty relaxed about the issue, so it’s going to be our focus to get those relaxed folk activated too.”
This isn’t the first time Ivan’s been in the news.
He told his story of being bullied during his childhood in Tumut in the SBS program ‘Growing Up Gay in the Bush,’ which has been re-aired in the context of the marriage equality postal vote.
However, he said the main thing he gets out of being nominated is to be a part of an awards night that serves an important purpose for an, at times, vulnerable community.
“In my mind, the most significant purpose of awards like these is to show the broader community what work is being done, the diverse projects that are being worked on and the wonderful people that are contributing to them,” he said.
“I hope it informs, engages and inspires more people to activate, participate and achieve even more great things.”