The Same Same 25 is an annual celebration of the 25 Most Influential Gay and Lesbian Australians.
About The Same Same 25 The Same Same 25 is an annual celebration of the 25 Most Influential Gay and Lesbian Australians. They are publicly nominated, and chosen by a panel of community leaders. For the past two years, the announcement of the 25 Most Influential Gay and Lesbian Australians has attracted widespread national media attention and focused on the achievements and influence of a varied and inspirational group of people.
The Judges - The Same Same 25 judges are drawn from a wide cross-section of the community, representing a broad field of influence and experience in their chosen professions.  Andrew Creagh (Editor, DNA Magazine), Cec Busby (Editor, LOTL Magazine), Rachel Cook (Editor, Cherrie Magazine), Christian Taylor (Editor, SameSame.com.au), David Wilkins (ACON), Kevin Golding (Business Analyst), Peter Walton (Publisher, Evolution), Libby Clark (Co-founder, Sound Alliance), Tim Duggan (Co-founder, SameSame.com.au)
The Process - The Same Same 25 is publicly nominated, and chosen by a panel of community leaders. Anyone in Australia can nominate someone for the Same Same 25.

David Marr

Journalist and Author

David Marr is a journalist who’s never afraid of chasing the real issue or story – as long as the story isn’t him. This is Marr’s second appearance on the Same Same 25 list and he says that he’s slightly embarrassed and shy about it.

“I’m appallingly arrogant. I’m incredibly vain. I’m all those things that writers tend to be,” says Marr. But he also somewhat modestly admits that he sees himself as unworthy of the accolade. “There are so many more gay and lesbian people in Australia who do more for the gay and lesbian community than I do, who work harder at it, who have tougher lives.”

Some of us, however, would argue that tackling the Howard government over the Tampa issue, regularly voicing opposition to the church on its teachings, and most recently defending artist Bill Henson over a wave of moral panic concerning his photographic artwork, is considerably tough.

Ever the voice of reason and intellect in media storms of moral conundrums, David says his tenacity in trying “to calm people down, and to urge them not to be afraid and not give in to panic” comes from being a gay man.

“I’ve realised that a fundamental theme of my working life is just to address panic and taboo and hatred and just to say – look at it rationally, look at it sensibly, don’t be afraid…and also of course, just accept the amazing variety of human lives…and that very much comes from being a gay man, because I grew up at a time when…as a young adult poofter, it was against the law to fuck. It was still a time of brutal dislike of homosexuality in the community.”

A student of the University of Sydney’s law school in the 1960s and 70s, his teachers were “dry, tough, demanding and sceptical” and obviously it was the perfect training ground for an inquisitive mind. Although David may be reluctant to accept awards of excellence, he’s received a few.

A reporter for The Bulletin, ABC’s Four Corners and the memorable face of Media Watch, David has received a Walkley award for his work on Radio National, and The Age Book of the Year award and the New South Wales Premier's Literary Award for his biographic work, Patrick White: A Life.

Listing his own influences as past teachers and journalist friends who, whether conservative or not, have a “shared detestation for moralising bullshit” Marr says that when you’ve been in the field of journalism as long as he has, you form a close group of colleagues, straight and gay, as a sounding board before the battle.

David also admits that while he may appear calm, composed and rational when chasing “heartless panic merchants” and while he “admires people who can get fabulously angry”, he says he rarely displays it himself. “You use your anger to drive the work you do – you use anger to be careful, you use anger to drive the research, you use anger in order to bother mounting all over again a defence of sensible relaxed liberty.”

Listing Australian literary great Patrick White as a “fantastically big influence,” David says it was White who taught him about sticking to his guns and being himself, and not flinching from the battles ahead. Invoking himself as “a little white bird on the back of a bull” in relation to White, again Marr’s ‘arrogance’ is nowhere to be seen. Marr believes that unlike White, he doesn’t believe his own work will last beyond his time.

“I’m always at loggerheads with those people who paint a golden picture about what life is like for young gay and lesbians in Australian society, I mean – there are still problems and difficulties, and the churches are still out there preaching hatred, preaching contempt, preaching exclusion. And all of that is still going on,” says David.

And we’ll remember that he was the one fighting them.

By Joel Bryant