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Chairman of Lifesavers with Pride and North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club member, Gary Driscoll, recently won the Out Role Model of the Year Award at the 2020 Australian Pride in Sport Awards for his role in promoting Surf Life Saving as a safe, inclusive and welcoming movement.

First held in 2018, the Australian Pride in Sport Awards is the only celebration dedicated solely to recognising exceptional efforts in making sport more inclusive of LGBTIQ people. It is run by Pride in Sport, the national not-for-profit sporting inclusion program spearheaded by Australia’s largest LGBTIQ health organisation, ACON.

The Out Role Model of the Year Award, which Gary Driscoll won, recognises a participant of a sport from the LGBTIQ community who leads by example to demonstrate that sport is a place where people can feel welcome, included and safe – and be proud to be part of it. Previous award nominees include tennis player Casey Dellacqua.

“This year Lifesavers with Pride was nominated for two awards, the Out Role Model of the Year Award and the Inclusive Initiative Award for our ‘Proud Beaches’ campaign. Both nominations are really recognition for the work our organisation is doing as a whole – not just the work I do,” Gary Driscoll said.

“Being nominated for both awards is terrific recognition for what we’re doing. It gives more gravity and profile for our activities,” he said.

After completing his Bronze Medallion at North Bondi SLSC in 2007, Gary Driscoll joined Lifesavers with Pride and has been a champion of change in the Surf Life Saving movement.

This year, Lifesavers with Pride was invited to be the ‘Principal Float’ in the Sydney Mardi Gras which reflects the organisation’s increasing profile and prominence in the community and their success in driving change and raising awareness of the importance of inclusivity.

“I don’t want anyone who is LGBTIQ to look at Surf Life Saving and think that the movement isn’t safe and inclusive,” Gary said.

“Surf Life Saving will only be truly diverse and inclusive when its members accurately reflect the diversity of people that are coming to the beach,” Gary said.

Lifesavers with Pride was established to promote lifesaving among the LGBTIQ community. Since its inception, Lifesavers with Pride has risen from 70 members to over 1,300 members across Australia.

Gary Driscoll says that Lifesavers with Pride helps to ensure Surf Life Saving continues to be an organisation that is inclusive and progressive for LGBTIQ members and a place where new LGBTIQ members can be themselves and feel welcome.

“We want everyone to be a part of surf lifesaving. Everyone is welcome to be themselves. We’re proud, safe and inclusive,” Gary said.

Lifesavers with Pride runs the Proud Beaches Scholarships program which helps LGBTIQ people around Australia overcome the financial cost involved in completing Bronze Medallion training to become a lifesaver. They also run the Proud Beaches campaign which makes promotional resources, such as posters, available to Surf Life Saving clubs nationally.

Surf Life Saving NSW congratulates Gary Driscoll for winning the Out Role Model of the Year Award at the Australian Pride in Sport Awards 2020.

Gary Driscoll at the 2020 Australian Pride in Sport Awards

Tuesday 27 October 2020