Daniel Kowalski

Daniel Steven Kowalski is an Australian former middle and long-distance swimmer specialising in freestyle events. He competed in the Olympic Games in 200-, 400- and 1,500-metre individual freestyle events and in the 4×200-metre freestyle relay. At the 1996 Summer Olympics, he was the first man in 92 years to earn medals in all of the 200-, 400- and 1500-metre freestyle events. He was an Australian Institute of Sport scholarship holder.

Kowalski announced his retirement from competitive swimming on 8 May 2002. He studied sports marketing at Bond University, graduating in 2003. He was named as an assistant swimming coach at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2007, and also won the 2007 Pier to Pub 1.2 km open water swim held annually in Lorne, Australia.

In February 2004, he was the host of an overnight program on SEN 1116 with former South East Melbourne Magic basketballer Andrew Parkinson. In May 2007 Kowalski appeared as one of the celebrity performers on the celebrity reality singing competition It Takes Two.

In April 2010 Kowalski announced that he is gay. Kowalski says he was inspired to come out by Welsh rugby player Gareth Thomas, who announced the previous December that he was gay. He said “I felt really compelled to do it because it’s very tough to live a closeted existence”.

Alex Blackwell

Alex is a professional cricketer who is currently Vice Captain of the Australian Cricket Team, and has represented the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars since 2003. She is a specialist right handed batter and a demonstrably successful leader.

Alex has played more matches for Australia than any other female cricketer, currently with 196 caps to her name across all formats. Standout moments in her career to date include captaining the Southern Stars to World Twenty20 glory in 2010 and reclaiming the Ashes against England in 2011 while at the helm. She is the captain of the Lend Lease NSW Breakers, a team that in January 2015 won its 10th consecutive Women’s National Cricket League title. Alex is one of only two players involved in all 10 and she has been captain of the team for the last 5 wins.

Throughout her extensive cricket career Alex has also been a medical student, anatomy lecturer and genetic counsellor. In her 13th season as an international cricketer, Alex has now transitioned into life as a full time professional athlete. This not only demonstrates the exciting developments in her sport, but also reflects the high esteem in which Alex is held.

In 2012 Alex decided to be more public about being a gay athlete in an effort to help eradicate homophobia within sport and to encourage all LGBT+ athletes to aim high and be proud about who they are.

Alex married her partner, English cricketer Lynsey Askew in 2015.

Bob Brown and Paul Thomas

Robert James “Bob” Brown is an Australian former politician, medical doctor, and environmentalist who is a former Senator, and former Parliamentary Leader of the Australian Greens. Brown was elected to the Australian Senate on the Tasmanian Greens ticket, joining with sitting Greens Western Australia senator Dee Margetts to form the first group of Australian Greens senators following the 1996 federal election. He was re-elected in 2001 and in 2007. He was the first openly gay member of the Parliament of Australia, and the first openly gay leader of an Australian political party.

While serving in the Tasmanian parliament, Brown successfully campaigned for a large increase in the protected wilderness areas. Brown led the Australian Greens from the party’s foundation in 1992 until April 2012, a period in which polls grew to around 10% at state and federal levels (13.9% of the primary vote in 2010). From 2002 to 2004, when minor parties held the balance of power in the Senate, Brown became a well-recognised politician. In October 2003 Brown was the subject of international media interest when he was suspended from the parliament for interjecting during an address by United States president George W. Bush.

On 13 April 2012, Brown resigned as leader of the Greens and indicated his intention to resign from the Senate in June.

In a newspaper interview in 1976, Brown announced that he had a gay partner to highlight discrimination and encourage law reform as homosexual activity was a crime in Tasmania at the time.

Brown currently lives in Cygnet, Tasmania with his long-time partner, Paul Thomas, a farmer and activist whom he met in 1996.

Brown and Thomas set up the Bob Brown Foundation to promote environmental awareness.

Ro Allen

Ro is Victoria’s first Gender and Sexuality Commissioner. Ro has over 20 years’ experience in community services, governance, social justice and LGBTI advocacy. Ro was the former Chair of the Victorian Adult, Community and Further Education Board and a commissioner on the Victorian Skills Commission.

As founding CEO of UnitingCare Cutting Edge, Ro established Victoria’s first rural support group for LGBTI young people and a state wide network facilitated through the Youth Affairs Council of Victoria for training and workers support.

Ro is the former Deputy Chair of the Hume Regional Development Australia Committee and former Chair of Communities for Children in Shepparton. Ro was appointed to the first Victorian LGBTI Ministerial Advisory Committee in 2001, chaired the second and served on the third Committee concluding in 2014. Ro was a member and later co-chaired the National Working Party for GLBTI Social Reform established from 2011 to 2013.

Ro is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and was recognised for community service in receiving a Centenary Medal in 2003. In 2009, Ro was inducted into the Victorian Government Honour Role for Women.