Biography: Rodney Croome

Rodney Croome will be known to many LGBT Australians as a spokesperson for the Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group. In that capacity he fronted the long, bitter and ultimately successful campaign to decriminalise homosexuality in Tasmania. That campaign saw Tasmanian activists take their case for equality not only to the parliament and people of Tasmania, but to the United Nations, the Federal Government and the High Court. Thanks to the work of Rodney and many other Tasmanians, the island state has been transformed from having Australia's worst laws, policies and attitudes on homosexuality to having some of the best.

Less well known is Rodney's other LGBT community and human rights work. He was the founding president and long-term board member of the Tasmanian LGBT support organisation, Working It Out, project officer of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission's rural LGBT youth network, Outlink, and Co-convenor of the Australia Council for Lesbian and Gay Rights. In this latter capacity in 1993 Rodney became the first gay advocate to speak at a United Nations forum. Currently, Rodney is a board member of the International Lesbian and Gay Law Association, the Australian Coalition for Equality, and the Australian Human Rights Group. As a member of Tasmania's four LGBT community / government liaison committees, Rodney has played a leading role in establishing challenging-homophobia education in Tasmanian state schools and in the Tasmania Police Service. As a researcher and legal advisor, Rodney has played a pivotal role in several ground-breaking Tasmanian anti-discrimination cases on issues such as transgender vilification and gay blood donation.

Rodney is also the Campaign Co-ordinator of Australian Marriage Equality. His advocacy for marriage equality includes being the co-author of the first book on the issue published in Australia.

Rodney has advocated and written on a large range of LGBT and other issues. His comments on LGBT issues are frequently sought by the media. His columns appear regularly in the LGBT and mainstream publications, as do his essays on cultural and historical themes. His weblog is also widely read.

In recognition of his work Rodney was:

  • the inaugural recipient of the Tasmanian Humanitarian of the Year Award in 1991;

  • the inaugural recipient of the national Chris Carter Memorial Award for contributions to the gay and lesbian community in 1991;

  • a joint recipient of the 1994 Melbourne Rainbow Award for contributions to the gay and lesbian community;

  • short listed, along with 11 other Australians, for Australian of the Year in 1994;

  • the inaugural recipient of the Tasmania Day Community Service Award 2000;

  • awarded a Centenary of Federation Medal in 2003; and

  • made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2003

[ updated June 2010. Contact me for further information ]

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