One of the most prominent transgender Australians has been named as Queensland’s Australian of the Year and as a result is eligible to go on to be named Australian of the Year for 2016.
Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Group Captain Catherine McGregor is being honored for her work as a diversity champion three years after she transitioned to being a woman and went public as the highest ranking military officer in the world who is transgender.
Before joining the RAAF McGregor rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Australian Army and was deployed to East Timor three times.
Since coming out as a transgender woman McGregor has used her public profile to educate Australians about transgender issues, speaking at forums including the National Press Club and writers festivals and featuring on ABC TV’s Australian Story documentary series.
‘With large stocks of courage, eloquence and confronting candor, Catherine has become a leading figure in the transgender community and as a result Australians have gained a greater understanding and acceptance of the transgender community,’ Queensland’s state selection panel said of McGregor in announcing her candidacy.
‘Thanks for the enormous honor of representing my home State of Queensland as Australian of the year nominee. Words fail me,’ McGregor tweeted following her win.
The Australian of the Year, Senior Australian of the Year, Young Australian of the Year and Australia’s Local Hero will be announced at a public event in Canberra on 25 January – the eve of Australia Day.