Anthony Venn-Brown is Australia’s pre-eminent spokesperson calling for the unity between the gay community and religion. It’s a hot-button issue that is only going to increase with time, but Venn-Brown’s measured, calm way of proceeding is inspiring to many people in Australia and overseas.
Venn-Brown first appeared on the Same Same 25 list in its inaugural year, and has been working tirelessly every since. “The first time was a real honour, and so it is this time, and it’s a real validation of the work I’m doing with GLBT people of faith and religion. The first time I was on the list I was very conscious of it, I thought ‘I’m one of the 25 most influential gays and lesbians in Australia, I’d better do something!’ so it was a real driving force as well.”
Venn-Brown started up support group Freedom 2 b[e] that recently celebrated its fourth birthday and continues to influence people of all ages. Its main focus is the wellbeing of gay men and women from Pentecostal and Charismatic churches, helping them to discover that they are not alone, so they can begin the journey of repair that allows them to live authentically and continue, if they choose, to have faith.
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.