OutPower

Representation is Power: Intersex elected official in Australia

Tony Briffa made history in 2008, becoming the world’s first openly intersex person elected to public office. Briffa was first elected to the Hobsons Bay City Council in 2008 in Australia. Tony was then re-elected in 2012 and 2016, and served as Mayor in 2011. Councillor Briffa is a proud advocate for disability and LGBTIQ rights in the council and for the City of Hobsons Bay.

Briffa is open about how difficult it was growing up intersex; such as dealing with doctors mistreating and abusing him, an issue that many intersex individuals still deal with today.  Despite the challenges, Councillor Briffa now fights as a public servant to bring more awareness to intersex variations as the co-executive Director of Organisation Intersex International (OII) Australia and Vice-President of the AIS Support Group Australia. Briffa is a shining example of the power of representation.  He is able to work across parties with different colleagues and constituencies on LGBTIQ issues and bring them to the national agenda.

As we speak, Australians are deciding whether same-sex marriage will finally be recognized in their country. Early results show that a majority of votes are leaning towards “yes” on the ballot decision, and we know openly LGBTIQ official like Councillor Briffa are much of the reason for the shift in attitudes. Fingers crossed as final results come in.

Elected Officials, International