Melbourne has Australia’s first openly intersex Mayor following the election of long time queer community supporter and advocate Councillor Tony Briffa to the top position at the City of Hobsons Bay at the end of November.
Not being associated with any particular political party, Tony Briffa is an independent councillor whose focus has remained on representing his community (where he has lived all his life), community diversity and environmental issues.
Speaking enthusiastically at the launch of the Midsumma 2012 program on the weekend before the Hobson’s Bay election, Briffa who was a councilor at the time, said he was proud to be a member of the queer community and excited about the involvement of the city he represented in the full cultural life of Melbourne.
Above: Tony Briffa addresses the crowd at the Midsumma 2012 program launch
At the launch, he announced his intention to run for mayor, promising that should he get the top mayor position that he would be attending Victoria’s Pride March in February 2012 in full mayoral robes. Since officially becoming Mayor of the city of Hobsons Bay, Briffa has re-confirmed his intention to march at Pride March in the official robes.
The City of Hobsons Bay, which includes the suburbs of Altona, Brooklyn, Laverton, Newport, Seabrook, Spotswood and Williamstown, has played an increasingly significant role in Melbourne’s queer cultural celebration the Midsumma Festival over the past few years, becoming a major hub of the 2012 program.
“I am excited about the future of our community and look forward to serving the city with enthusiasm and pride,” Briffa said following his election.
National LGBTI Health Alliance Board Member Gina Wilson says Briffa is inspiring.
“Tony is an inspiration and a role model for a whole generation of intersex people, both those who have suffered early interventions and those who have come to their differences later in life,” Wilson said.
“We share Tony’s hope that his election will break down taboos associated with intersex differences. Tony is a wonderful example of how intersex people can overcome the devastating and unnecessary medical treatment meted out to so many intersex children, and go on to become champions of human rights and cultural diversity for everyone.”