Rodney Croome will be known to many LGBT Australians as a spokesperson for the Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group. In that capacity he fronted the long, bitter and ultimately successful campaign to decriminalise homosexuality in Tasmania. That campaign saw Tasmanian activists take their case for equality not only to the parliament and people of Tasmania, but to the United Nations, the Federal Government and the High Court. Thanks to the work of Rodney and many other Tasmanians, the island state has been transformed from having Australia's worst laws and attitudes on homosexuality to having the best.
Less well known is Rodney's other LGBT community work. He has been the project officer of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission's rural LGBT youth network, Outlink, and Co-convenor of the Australia Council for Lesbian and Gay Rights. In this latter capacity in 1993 Rodney became the first gay advocate to speak at a United Nations forum. Currently Rodney is a member of Tasmania's five LGBT community / government liaison committees, a Board Member of the International Lesbian and Gay Law Association, the Equal Rights Network, Rights Australia and the Tasmanian LGBT support organisation, Working It Out. In this latter position Rodney has taken a leading role in establishing a standard challenging-homophobia curriculum in Tasmanian state schools.
In recognition of his work Rodney was:
- the inaugural recipient of the Tasmanian Humanitarian of the Year Award in 1991;
- the inaugural recipient of the national Chris Carter Memorial Award for contributions to the gay and lesbian community in 1991;
- a joint recipient of the 1994 Melbourne Rainbow Award for contributions to the gay and lesbian community;
- short listed, along with 11 other Australians, for Australian of the Year in 1994;
- the inaugural recipient of the Tasmania Day Community Service Award 2000;
- awarded a Centenary of Federation Medal in 2003; and
- made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2003
Rodney grew up on a dairy farm in Tasmania's North West and studied European History at the University of Tasmania. He has been the editor of the Tasmanian literary journal, Island, and a research consultant for the Port Arthur Management Authority and the Australian National University-based Freilich Foundation. Rodney recently received a grant from the Australia Council to write a book on his experiences.
Rodney Croome is co-author of Why vs Why: Gay Marriage.
Author's website: Rodney Croome - gay advocate