Voltaire Human Rights Award 2022 awarded to Brenda Appleton

Liberty Victoria is pleased to announce that the 2022 Voltaire Human Rights Award winner is Brenda Appleton OAM.

The Voltaire Human Rights Award honours a person or group of people who have made an outstanding contribution to free speech, human rights and/or civil liberties, with particular emphasis on progressing freedom, respect, equality, dignity and action.

Brenda Appleton has been a fearless advocate for trans and gender-diverse people in Victoria and more broadly in Australia. Her life story has been one of incredible resilience and personal empowerment. She has been an outstanding visible role model for the community.

Brenda has been the driving force behind equal opportunities for trans and gender-diverse communities and has played a vital role in establishing peer-based mental health support for individuals. Brenda was heavily involved in working with the Victorian Government, Opposition and cross benches for the successful introduction of birth certificate legislation which enabled Victorian trans and gender diverse people to access birth certificates which reflected their identity.

As a spokesperson for Transgender Victoria, Brenda has conducted leadership, advocacy and training in trans and gender-diverse and LGBTIQ+ issues. Her effective leadership within the community was recognised when she was appointed Co-Chair of the whole-of-Victorian Government LGBTI Taskforce, making her the first trans person in Australia to be named chair of a ministerial advisory committee.

Brenda has also chaired the trans and gender-diverse subcommittee of the former government’s Health and Wellbeing Ministerial Advisory Committee. With this role she formulated the health and wellbeing background paper that was instrumental to the development of the health policy for trans and gender diverse Victorians.  Brenda has also served on the Victorian Mental Health Taskforce and is currently a member of the Senior Victorians Advisory Group.  She was chair or co-chair of Transgender Victoria for 17 years.

Brenda was also instrumental in Corrections Victoria adopting a new Commissioner's Requirement for the treatment of TGD people.

Brenda is also an ambassador for the Pinnacle Foundation and BreastScreen Victoria Recently, she co-authored a journal article based on original field research on prejudices faced by trans and gender-diverse people in the criminal justice system.

In a political arena where we have seen LGBTIQ+ people become political footballs, and in particular over recent times young and vulnerable transgender people, we are proud to award the Voltaire Human Rights Award to Brenda.

The Liberty Victoria Voltaire Human Rights Award will be presented at an awards dinner at the Sofitel Hotel in Melbourne on Friday 18 November 2022 at 7.00 pm. 

Tickets are available for purchase here:  https://www.trybooking.com/BZQXK

We sincerely hope you can join us on 18 November 2022 and hear from Brenda and the other Voltaire Human Rights Awards recipients about how we can protect and promote civil liberties and human rights.

Michael Stanton

President, Liberty Victoria

Quotes attributable to Brenda Appleton OAM

I am delighted and honoured to receive the 2022 Voltaire Human Rights Award.

I have always thought of trans and gender diverse rights as human rights, and this award takes that recognition to another level.

I have enjoyed the work I have done, and my advocacy has been driven by a want to make the path easier for the trans and gender diverse people who come after me.

Despite the changes our community has fought for and achieved over the years, it is still very difficult for trans and gender diverse people today. We face challenges and often discrimination in schools, workplaces, sport, housing, access to health care and especially mental health care, in the media -- in fact, in most parts of society.

I believe that all of us should be able to feel comfortable, safe and celebrated being our authentic selves without being challenged, excluded or denied that gender diversity is real. Governments must act to ensure all trans and gender diverse people have access to appropriate health care and support services to help make this a reality."



Please contact the Liberty Victoria office on info@libertyvictoria.org.au or phone 03 9670 6422.