IAHA Member Dameyon Bonson wins Dr. Yunupingu Human Rights Award


A big congratulations to IAHA member Dameyon Bonson, an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander gay male based in the Kimberly, who was awarded the Dr. Yunupingu Award for Human Rights at the National Indigenous Human Rights Awards on 9 June 2016.  The Dr Yunupingu Award for Human Rights is awarded to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Peoples who have made a significant contribution towards the advancement of human rights for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.

Dameyon Bonson, 2016 Dr. Yunupingu Award for Human Rights recipient with husband Darren Grassick. Credit: Indigenist

Dameyon Bonson, 2016 Dr. Yunupingu Award for Human Rights recipient with husband Darren Grassick. Credit: Indigenist

The National Indigenous Human Rights Awards, which is in its third year, recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons who have made significant contribution to the advancement of human rights and social justice for their people. The awards have three categories:

  • The Dr Yunupingu Award for Human Rights
  • The Eddie Mabo Award for Achievements In Social Justice
  • The Anthony Mundine Award for Courage

Dameyon is the founder of Black Rainbow, a national platform focused on Indigenous LGBTI Suicide prevention and soon to be a national peak body, plus YFRONTS™ a peer-to-peer community mobilisation and stigma reduction strategy for men working as FIFO/DIDOS or in similar situations.

On receiving the award, Dameyon says that for him “it truly means that we are more than just a seat at the table. [That] we have a meaningful contribution to make that can no longer be ignored; which I think has happened in the past. We can’t change that but we, as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, can ensure that future processes are more inclusive in all future aspects of our health and there needs to be recognition of the many more outstanding LGBQTI mob who have gone unrecognised for the deadly work they have done way before I came along”.

In his acceptance speech on the night, Dameyon focused on the compounding impacts racism and homophobia has on the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBQTI Peoples.

“When I hear about the suicides and I see the devastation that it leads behind, somewhere in that person’s history is an act of racism. Whether it’s because they don’t have appropriate housing, or access to healthcare. We’re not talking about racism because someone won’t sit next to you on a bus. We’re talking about entrenched, systemic racism that is keeping our mob sick, and it’s killing them. As a gay Aboriginal man, homophobia does that to our mob as well…The barramundi changes gender – that’s a totem for some of our mob. The black swans, the males, they co-parent…As Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, we are so in-tune with the country, and its animals and plants. Being gay, being transgender, it’s natural. What’s not natural is the homophobia that exists, and the transphobia that exists. Those two things, compounded by racism…makes our lives even that more like hell.”

IAHA would like to congratulate Dameyon on this great achievement, and wish him all the best with his future work.


June 30, 2016

Categories:

Posted by: Admin