Since 2000 Anthony Venn-Brown has worked in the often volatile space of faith and sexuality and helped thousands of people resolve faith/sexuality conflict.
In a former life, Anthony was a leader in the Assemblies of God and high profile preacher in Australia’s mega-churches. He was a church planter, founder of Youth Alive NSW and established a successful national evangelistic ministry.
Anthony became aware of his same-sex-orientation as a teenager when people were imprisoned for homosexuality and mental health professionals attempted to ‘cure’ gay people through aversion therapy. Understandably, it was a frightening revelation. He turned to God for help and became a Christian, believing Jesus would provide the answer.
For the next twenty two years he tried desperately to change his homosexuality through psychiatric treatment, exorcisms, and ‘ex-gay’ programs. Although a husband and father for 16 years, eventually he had to face the reality that nothing had changed. He resigned from the ministry and walked away from everything believing his orientation and faith were incompatible.
Anthony’s autobiography, ‘A Life of Unlearning – a preacher’s struggle with his homosexuality, church and faith’ became a best seller in Australia and the latest edition became No.1 on Amazon both for LGBT and religious biographies. He has appeared on national television shows such as ‘60 Minutes’, ‘Channel 7’s Sunrise’, ‘The Morning Show’, ‘Mornings with Kerri Anne’, the ABC’s ‘Hungry Beast’, documentaries and is called upon regularly by the media for comment.
He is the co-founder of Freedom2b and the founder and CEO of Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International (ABBI).
In recognition of his work, Anthony was twice voted one of The 25 Most Influential Gay and Lesbian Australians (2007 & 2009) and was one of four finalists for the 2011 ACON Community Hero Award. In 2012, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Business Association awarded Anthony Life Membership for Outstanding Service to the LGBTI Community. In 2015 he was the winner of ACON’s Health and Wellbeing Award for over 20 years of providing leadership and support for LGBTI people of faith and working to bring ex-gay/reparative/conversion therapy practices and organisations to an end in Australia.
Anthony’s journey from high profile, ‘straight’ Christian preacher, resolving the perceived conflict between his faith and sexuality and now an ambassador for the LGBT community has given him unique insights.
As an ambassador for his community, Anthony speaks to a wider audience about gay and lesbian community issues by providing a comfortable space where people can ask the often-unasked questions. Anthony’s presentations are informative, entertaining and inspiring. Audiences quickly realise he is well informed and speaks from profound personal experience.
In June 2020 Anthony was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for service to the LGBTIQ community.