MEDIA RELEASE | 8th June 2020
The founder of ABBI receives OAM for service to the LGBTIQ community
Today (MON 8 JUN 2020), Anthony Venn-Brown, Founder and CEO of Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International (ABBI), has been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Mr Venn-Brown received the Medal or the Order of Australia (OAM) for his service to Australia’s LGBTIQ community. Part of that has included work he has done within Christian churches and Pentecostal communities for the LGBTIQ community, and his advocacy for their right to be accepted and respected. He has also devoted over 20 years of his life to ending what has become known as conversion “therapy” in Australia.
In 1991, after coming out as a gay man, Mr Venn-Brown resigned as a minister, after decades pioneering churches, itinerant evangelism and founding the youth ministry, Youth Alive NSW.
In 2013 he founded Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International (ABBI). ABBI seeks to create a better world for LGBTIQ people, serving individuals, churches, denominations, leaders and religious organisations in a respectful and non-confrontational way along their journey to understand and respect each other.
Mr Venn-Brown said that he was deeply humbled and honoured to receive the Order of Australia Medal.
“So many in my LGBTIQ tribe work tirelessly to create equality by overcoming ignorance and misinformation,” he said.
“We do it, not for recognition, but because the work is important and often lifesaving. This acknowledgment today is way beyond my expectations.”
The Order of Australia is the pre-eminent means by which Australia recognises the outstanding and meritorious service of its citizens.
In 2012, Mr Venn-Brown was awarded a lifetime membership of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Business Association and featured with other Freedom2b members in the only Australian documentary on conversion “therapy” titled “The Cure.”
Since 2004, Mr Venn-Brown’s memoir, A Life of Unlearning, has been transforming the lives of thousands of individuals in Australia and around the world. He continues to present lectures, write and advocates for the acceptance of the Australian LGBTIQ community by the nation’s churches and various denominations.
“I will continue to work towards the day when LGBTIQ people are no longer rejected or tolerated within faiths, but their contributions accepted, affirmed and celebrated.”
Because of the current pandemic, Mr Venn-Brown will be presented with the insignia at a ceremony to be held at Government House, Sydney later in the year.
Anthony Venn-Brown (OAM)
Founder and CEO Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International www.abbi.org.au
Author of the bestseller “A Life of Unlearning – a preacher’s struggle with his homosexuality, church and faith” www.ALifeOfUnlearning.com
Mobile: +61 (0) 416 015 231
Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International’s mission is to create understanding and acceptance for LGBTI people, empower community members and build bridges with religious organisations and leaders.